In German they say “Schweine auf die Piste,” which literally means “pigs on the slopes.” In American, they’re probably just flipping the bird through puffy ski gloves. But, it’s just about universal that nobody anywhere likes people who ski like assholes (or snowboard like assholes, but I’m less of an expert on exactly how not to do that). Mostly, it just comes down to common courtesy.
Now, you might be asking yourself: What does it mean to ski like an asshole? How can I avoid being a pig on the slopes? Never fear, here you’ll find the answers to all these questions and more. After all, not only are we here to help, we’re also very self-interested: we don’t want you causing us a trip to the emergency room either.
So without further ado, here are 10 rules to follow so fellow winter sports enthusiasts won’t wish you off the mountain the fast way...
1. Do not attempt to ski/snowboard a slope that you are not confident you can do. If it’s only your third day on skis, please, PLEASE, do not attempt that double-black-diamond run with moguls a third of the way through. You’re not just risking your own life, but the lives of everyone else unfortunate enough to be on that run with you. These runs are fast, it is easy to lose control and if you don’t fall right away when that happens, you may very well clip the person near you causing a catastrophic collision. Just don’t get on the slope. Stick to the bunny hills. No one is judging you.
2. Do not stop right in the middle of a slope if you can help it - pull off to either side! A ski slope is like a highway: imagine someone stopping and turning off their engine in the middle lane, just so they can send that cool photo of the horizon to their mom. Sounds really dumb, right? The girl behind you kicking powder at 55mph thinks so too.
This picture should probably not have been taken ^
3. Same goes for when you fall: if you can, get yourself and your stuff (if you yard-saled) over to a side and get yourself composed there.
4. Pick a lane and stay in it. Especially on a wider piste, you don’t need to be zigzagging across the entire face of the mountain. So, pick a lane no more than 10 yards wide and stay in it as best you can. If there is a mogul or an ice patch you want to avoid, or your lane suddenly gets steeper than you’re comfortable with, or you need to take a break, slow down, look around (don’t forget to check behind you) and carefully enter the other lane.
^Choose a side lane if you are tired or not the most experienced. Makes it easier to pull off and take breaks.
5. Respect the bubble of personal space. It’s about 2 yards in any direction from a person’s body and skis/snowboard. Keep your distance and no one gets hurt.
6. Ski with people, not against them. This means that if you are headed down the slope at approximately the same pace as someone else in an adjacent lane, make sure your paths are basically spooning each other, and not nearly colliding at every other turn. When your neighbor skis to the left, you ski to the left. When he skis right, you ski right. Pretty simple.
^Notice the two people to the far left. They are skiing with one another.
7. Don’t spray people with snow when you pass them. It’s just rude.
8. When small children cut you off or nearly give you a heart attack, don’t yell at them. They probably don’t know any better and they literally have no fear when it comes to launching themselves down a mountain. They’re going to embarrass you with their stupidly low centers of gravity and that’s just the reality. Don’t be that guy who makes kids cry.
9. Respect the plows and service vehicles and stay out of their way. This one seems like it shouldn’t need to be said but for some unfathomable reason, we see people who don’t understand this. The snow groomer is massive, and if the guy driving it doesn’t see you then you’ll become pink piste confetti real fast. The plows/snow movers are also big, and can quickly turn you into a crushed ice burrito. If there is an emergency snowmobile racing up or down the mountain with its lights flashing, that means someone is hurt. Don’t be that girl who holds up an ambulance. Nobody likes that girl.
People queuing nicely^ ^But don't do that
10. Finally, don’t cut the line for the chair lift. Yes, Germans generally don’t know how to queue but that does not mean you should sink to that level. Wait your turn, don’t dawdle getting on the lift, and make sure your chair is balanced when you’re getting on. Nobody likes a chair that’s leaning precariously to one side; it just gives everyone the heeby-jeebies.