1 Snowboarder 5 Questions

Fernie photo credit: cb6379

photo credit: cb6379

In the interest of happiness on the hills, I wanted to get a snowboarder’s thoughts on the upcoming season and that ongoing rivalry between boarders and skiers. Years ago, JP spent a day or two on the hills as a skier then quickly made the switch to boarding.  Now he’s reflecting on deep pow and sharing the great winter wonderland with his kids.

1. What’s your essential gear?

This really depends on your budget and specific needs, likely similar to skiing.  Of course the usual rules apply: keep warm and comfortable and dress in layers – nothing worse than being stuck at the top of the lift in Mt. Tremblant for 20 minutes at -32C and not being comfy (been there, done that). As for the technical gear, I recommend a helmet. I think that this is still a debatable issue as I once read that head injuries went down but neck injuries went up (people thinking that they are indestructible and therefore put on a helmet and try a Rodeo 540*). In snowboarding when you fall, you fall fast and hard, straight back or forward as you catch an edge and wham, head meets Ontario ice. Comfy boots are key. The rest is budget and terrain. I ride hard and fast, and have done steep and deep so I opt for a stiffer board, bindings and boots – more responsiveness at high speed and in tight terrain like glades.  Boards are all relatively the same in concept. Riding park and rails all day (which at 41 I do not do) requires a different board than bombing a cruiser.

*Rodeo Flip – An inverted frontside 540 off of a straight jump. In the halfpipe, it is more like performing a 540 degree rotation which is inverted and off-axis. source: the-house.com

2. What’s your dream destination?

I love Fernie, but that’s likely because I’ve been there. My favorite is deep pow and really long runs. I’d love to go cat or heli-skiing on a glacier – we talk about it with “the boys” but it is pricey

3. Do you have any suggestions for boarders and skiers sharing a lift?

Simple – communicate. Be cognizant that the skier wants to be banging his planks against your board about as much as you want the same so talk about it and be courteous. Which way are you going off the lift, left or right?  Simple question that solves almost all lift issues.

4. What are your thoughts on separating skiers from boarders with designated runs?

Bad idea. There is no reason that the two can’t co-exist. I’m kinda bored of the stories of the “boarder that was whipping down the hill with no regard for his/her surroundings and almost took me out at the knees…”  Guess what, I’ve got the same stories about skiers and I’m willing to bet that this issue was around before us knuckle draggers were “allowed” to co-exist on the hill. Realize that we are all there for the same reason – to have fun and be outside and the rest works itself out. If you’re going to get all worked up about that boarder/skier that cut you off, well then you haven’t found your happy place yet on the hill, and I hope that one day you will.

5. Are you teaching your kids to ski or snowboard?

I defer to the experts on this one. My kids are learning how to ski first because that’s what we were told to do. I don’t really think it matters to be honest. I just want them to learn to love being out on the hill for the day, the rest will be up to them. If they choose to learn how to board later on after becoming accomplished skiers, then all the power to them – now they have two skills instead of one.

And those my friends, are some valuable lessons for enjoying the outdoors.  Any thoughts skiers or boarders? Think we can all live in harmony on the slopes? Thanks for the great insights JP!

9 thoughts on “1 Snowboarder 5 Questions

  1. point 4 BANG ON. Snowboarders, skiers co-exist on the hill. Just like in-town road traffic. No different. Do remember the person in front of you has the right of way. Great idea to find a happy place on the hill. Hope you all have a safe fun snow sporting season.

  2. I hope to get my kids on the slopes this winter for the first time and I am very apprehensive about snowboarding so we will definitely start with skiing too!

    • Great to hear you are getting the kids out! Skiing and snowboarding are wonderful ways to enjoy winter. Just put them in lessons to make sure they get the basics from the experts and have good experiences right from the start. Instructors have very good training and are certified so don’t worry, the kids will be in very good hands. Thanks for your comment!

  3. The traffic on the hills and the conflict that results between borders and skiers reminds me of our road traffic issues with trucks, cars, bikes, e-bikes, roller bladers’ and pedestrians squeezed by all using the same space and often unsuccessfully. I am not surprised how seriously injured someone can be by getting slammed by someone else flying down a hill. Do ski resorts have the Code posted in obvious places? I have never seen one…. shouldn’t that be policy? What do you think?

    • The code is usually posted, but like most signs, it’s not read or overlooked entirely. Good point about traffic of different sorts sharing the road. Maybe we can all learn from each other!

  4. Pingback: Know the Code | Sunshine and Ski Slopes

  5. I found my happy place on the hill and guess what? A snowboarder came from behind me and hit me big time. I know, it could have also been a skier. A four part fracture and a 30 degree rotation of the top of my humerus (top of arm just beneath shoulder socket) and a shoulder replacement later….. I am still on the slopes. Perhaps us adults should all take a few refresher lessons and also review the Skiers Code periodically.
    JP, glad your kids are taking lessons. One should also make sure one has liability insurance, because if there is an accident, you maybe glad you had it.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience and reminding us all of our responsibilities on the hill. I am very glad to hear you are still on the slopes after such a terrible ordeal. Excellent reminder to review the Code, which I am going to post right now.

  6. Great insights on boarders and skiiers coexisting on the hills! For the complainers get over yourselves and like JP said you need to find your hsppy place!
    To all you boarders and skiiers enjoy the cold out there on the hills I will always prefer the hot sun and the hot beach sand under my toes!

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