There is a common thought that snowboarders hate skiers and vice versa. Is this real, or is it completely blown out of proportion? In this article, I will clear things up once and for all. You will learn where the rivalry has come from and if this is something skiers and snowboarders should be concerned about.
Most snowboarders don’t hate skiers, and most skiers don’t hate snowboarders. There was a rivalry that has largely dissipated over the years. The only people who dislike the other sport are small-minded individuals who need to bring their attitudes and mindsets into the 21st century.
I’ve been snowboarding for 28 years, but I was a skier before then. The reason I converted to snowboarding is that I find it more fun. But during this time, I’ve seen and experienced the differences between the two sports, the attitudes towards them, and how they have changed. So in this article, I will go through the history of the rivalry and the current state of affairs.
Snowboarding, as a sport, emerged in the 1960s and 1970s and gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.
It was seen as a rebellious and counter-cultural activity that challenged the traditional norms of skiing. In contrast, skiing has been around for much longer, dating back to the 1800s.
It has a more established and traditional reputation.
The two sports also have different cultures and styles. Snowboarding is often associated with a freestyle, “cool” vibe, with its own fashion and music scene.
It had an almost punk and skateboard-style attitude, which didn’t sit well with middle and upper-class skiers, causing friction, as this 1980s news report hilariously illustrates.
The rivalry between skiers and snowboarders can also be attributed to the practical differences between the two sports.
Skiers and snowboarders use different equipment and have different techniques, which has the potential to lead to conflicts on the slopes.
For example, snowboarders often carve wider turns and require more space on the slopes. At the same time, skiers can be more nimble and maneuverable.
With this in mind, some ski resorts had separate areas for skiers and snowboarders, while others banned snowboarders altogether.
This has largely disappeared, but the ski resorts of Alta Ski, Utah, Deer Valley, Utah, and Mad River Glen, Vermont, still don’t allow snowboarders on their slopes.
If you’re looking to snowboard in Utah, I have an article on some of the few resorts that still allow snowboarding in Utah.
Are these ski resorts missing out on valuable revenue? Probably, but that is for them to deal with; there are plenty of other places for snowboarders to have fun and feel welcome.
There are a few things that annoy skiers and snowboarders on the slopes. Here’s a short list.
1. Not Staying In Control
You will often see someone charging down the slope far too fast for their ability. This causes accidents that can be severe.
2. Passing Too Closely
When someone passes you on the slopes far too closely, there is very little margin for error. This is when people bump into each other, causing injuries.
3. Being Discourteous
Everyone is on the mountain to have a good time. There is no need to be rude or disrespectful to anyone. We’ve all paid for our lift tickets and don’t want our day ruined by antisocial behavior.
4. Not Paying Attention
Many people just concentrate on what they are doing without thinking about the consequences of their actions. You need to be aware of what is happening around you to stay safe and not annoy others.
4. Jumping Unsafely
Jumping is fun, but you need to do it responsibly and in the right place. Not paying attention to your surroundings when jumping can cause you to crash into someone.
Likewise, you should make sure you’re not standing in the landing area of a jump.
5. Not Giving The Person Downhill Right Off Way
If someone is in front of you, it’s your responsibility to give them plenty of space and pass them safely. They don’t have to get out of your way just because you’re faster.
6. Stopping In Stupid Places
Obstructing the entrance to a lift or slope will annoy everyone behind you. Also, stopping in the middle of the slope or out of view from people above you is dangerous.
It could cause serious injury to yourself and others.
7. Going Too Fast At Inappropriate Moments
Like jumping, speed is fun. However, there’s a time and a place for everything.
For example, going at full speed when everyone is trying to pick their way down a busy mountain at the end of the day is extremely dangerous.
In addition, charging into lift lines is unnecessary and highly dangerous.
If you take a look at this list again, you’ll see that you can do any of these things whether you are on skis or a snowboard. So we can be just as annoying as each other.
The best way to overcome these things is to use a little bit of common sense and get educated so we can all have lots of fun and safety together.
Some skiers and snowboarders give their sports a bad name. For example, you will see snowboarders out of control and riding too fast when the slopes are busy.
But this is the case for skiers, too; in fact, skiers can actually go much quicker than snowboarders, so the accidents can be more severe.
When I hear of an accident on the slopes caused by a snowboarder, my heart sinks a little bit. This is because these incidents give snowboarders a bad name.
For some reason, they tend to be higher profile than when a skier causes an accident.
The critical thing to remember is that it’s not a case of skiers versus snowboarders but down to individuals. I have been crashed into by skiers and snowboarders over the years.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter how many planks you have on your feet; if you are riding irresponsibly, I will still be annoyed by your behavior.
Much of the remaining negativity between the two sports primarily comes from the older generation of skiers, who saw the rise in popularity of snowboarding.
In case you want to know where snowboarding is extremely popular, I have an interesting read on the same through my article on places where snowboarding is popular.
Of course, there are also snowboarders who are just as small-minded, but could this be due to how they were treated back in the early days?
When I worked as a chalet host in Val d’Isere, France, most of our guests were older skiers. I used to listen to their conversations around the dinner table and hear them badmouth snowboarders.
The comments became more scathing, ridiculous, and ill-informed the more they drank. However, in my experience, this minority is the only group of people that are keeping the rivalry alive.
Most skiers and snowboarders I come across these days are totally accepting of each other. I regularly snowboard with skiers and snowboarders; funnily enough, we get on just fine.
In fact, I like going out with skiers because they can pull me across flat sections or lend me a pole to push myself along.
So there was a time when skiers and snowboarders didn’t get along. But these days it is not really a problem.
There are a few small-minded skiers and snowboarders that seem to be offended by each other. But they are probably not nice people anyway, so you are best to avoid them.