THE RULES – The Way of the Skier

With acknowledgements to The Rules – The Way of the Cycling Disciple

You are a skier. You travel on, through, above and across the snow on skis. End of.
You may have been tempted to ride a snowboard, you may even have done so. You will instantly realise that this is the most ill-conceived means of travelling on snow that has ever existed.
Snowboarders will tell you “Yeah but dude, in powder, like, a board is, like, awesome. Like.” Pish. In powder a pair of fat planks is even more awesome, for several reasons:
Let’s imagine it’s an epic powder day and you’re in the lift queue. There’s a boarder behind you, hopping along like a strange human tripod, clattering his devil’s craft across the top of your skis. He hops aboard the chair with you; you sit comfortably whilst the boarder is twisted awkwardly across the chair to accommodate his tea tray.
You arrive at the top station and effortlessly glide off the lift, across the flats and into the powder. Sweet.
Our boarder friend, meanwhile, scuttles off the chair, then pushes himself like a badly oiled robot across the flats before sinking on to his arse to fasten his bindings. By this time you’re into your twentieth turn of the run.
This alone is good enough reason to never be tempted to snowboard, but what if you have to hike uphill from the lift to get your turns? You simply adjust your boots and bindings, attach skins and away you go. Effortlessly (almost).
Our boarder pal removes his board and lashes it to his pack then bootpacks through the thigh deep powder. If it’s especially steep or deep he may stop and remove his board to assist his progress in the form of a giant shelf providing additional support for his upper body as he flounders upwards. You’ll see him doing this as you glide back down through the pow after completing your ascent. He’ll follow about twenty minutes later.
This is why you must never ride a snowboard in powder. You must also never ski with a snowboarder in powder unless you enjoy waiting around for people all morning. And afternoon.
Should you prefer piste to powder (yes, strange to consider but some of our brethren do) skis are still the superior means of transport. Boarders generally prefer to spend their time on piste shovelling snow downhill in front of them because carving is beyond them (sometimes they do this off-piste too, scraping away a four-foot wide swathe of powder as they progress; it doesn’t matter, no-one else wants to ski it do they?).
Boarder who can carve but get it wrong go down in a clattering wipeout that is painful to behold, let alone experience.
When they come to the inevitable flat sections of the mountain they’ll once again be obliged to unclip their bindings and scrabble along primate style, like the Missing Link, until a suitable gradient on which to remove another swathe of snow from the piste is reached once again.
Unlike you, snowboarders also have a blind spot as a result of travelling sideways. This makes them dangerous. Never ski behind a boarder, they may suddenly swerve into your path totally unaware of your presence.
Skis, my friend, are the only way forward – and downhill, uphill and traversing. Because this is what skis were originally (and essentially still are) designed for – moving around the mountains.
Snowboards are designed for one thing only – to go downhill. And even then not necessarily with any style.
If you must ride a board, do so on the sea. Or tarmac.
Never on snow.


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