Hate is a strong word, especially in todays age of acceptance. In days gone by skiers disliked snowboarders, this caused snowboards to dislike skiers which caused a feud between the two. As the sports have progressed together, the feud has dissolved, but is there still animosity?
Nowadays snowboarders and skiers don’t hate each other. In the past snowboarders were blamed for damaging slopes with side slipping, leading to a bitter rivalry with skiers. Stereotypes of a punk rock attitude and outdated equipment fueled animosity between the two groups.
To understand where the animosity stems from we need to delve into the early days of snowboarding. When snowboarders first took to the mountains many resorts banned them. Skiers had been using the slopes for themselves for many years before snowboarders started popping up.
The Origin of the Skier VS Snowboarder Feud
It was believed that it was the snowboards that destroyed the slopes, Side slipping all the snow down to the bottom of the mountain. Skiers argued snowboarders could not see behind them when standing side ways, making them more dangerous. And of course they had the punk rock attitude, drinking and smoking all day long. Maybe the latter is true but the former held little substance.
Here is a news report from the early days of snowboarding, showing the general opinion that the already established ski community, held towards the new sport of “skiboarding” (also see how far snowboard equipment has come since these early days).
With snowboarders getting rejected from resorts, skiers hating on them, and while using equipment the modern snowboarder wouldn’t dream to try use now. This left a little bitter taste to the snowboarders. Because of this, for many years it was skier vs snowboarder.
Snowboarding has since grown and evolved, now it is of course welcomed in every resort. Or almost every resort, there are a couple of weird backwards resorts still banning snowboarding. Not cool Alta ski resort, Deer valley and Mad River Glenn!
As the sport has evolved so have training facilities, equipment, events, sponsorship and basically everything else to do with snowboarding. In days gone by snowboarders would make half pipes and jumps by hand, spending as much time building as they were riding.
Now parks have big teams of workers and machine to help create perfect jumps and rails. As skiers and snowboarders are using these facilities together the skier versus snowboarder issue has more or less dissolved.
We may not be doing the same events and comps together, however we are spending our days on the slopes together. Taking some brewki’s in the after ski together, and generally hanging out within the mountain environment.
I have many friends that are skiers, we all have the same interest. We love sliding down the hill on some wood. We love being in the mountains floating in powder, flying through the air and cruising through tree runs. We have the same hobby, we are the same people, the only difference is what is under our feet. This is my experience as a park rider.
Living in Norway now the average freestyle skier is insane! They are regularly doing things that get you stoked on freestyle. If you see someone doing a double, whether it’s on skis or a snowboard, you are going to be in awe. Take inspiration, give them props, riding together feeding off each others energy is one of the things that makes our sport so fun.
The Real Animosity: Racer VS Freestyle
Racers however…..this is where we start to see our divide again. The battle is no longer skier versus snowboarder, it’s freestyler versus racer. Now I don’t want to stereotype anyone, but for this case, that is exactly what we will do.
Freestylers will casually make their way up the mountain late morning, possibly early afternoon. Normally this is the time the racers are coming down. They want hard, icy fast conditions, to snowboard as fast as possible. We want, nice conditions. Soft, forgiving and playful. Freestylers are chill, whereas racers are the opposite with an intense race mentality!
Everything is a Race, They Have to be First
With this mindset it means they have to get up the mountain at 6 am, then race, race, race. This seems to spread into their every way of life. They have no chill, it’s all go go go nonstop. Our worlds don’t clash so often over winter, however if you spend any time at glaciers over the summer months, this is where we are rammed together.
Everything for the racer seems to be a race, they all have to rush to the gondola. Have to push as much as possible, to get in as fast as possible. Then once in, these massive bags they have! Man these bags are the worst! It seems they have no spacial awareness of them or consideration that they stick out a mile.
Once packed into a gondola, like a tin of sardines, with no room to move, they will then turn around quickly, slapping any innocent bystander with this huge bag (which I assume is full of equipment?).
Once up the glacier this mentality seems to carry on, they all need to race to the T bar as quick as possible.
They have to be first, this need to keep pushing in the queue only seems to intensify. Now everyone is fighting and rushing for the T bar. I have spent some time on glacier parks that share a T bar with the racers, it normally is not the nicest environment.
Although, every so often I will take the lift with a racer and they are nice people, passionate about a similar sport and it’s nice to hear about it from their point of view. However in general, it’s always race race race – push push push!
I have not spent time racing on a snowboard so I can not talk directly for that demographic of snowboarder. I would however imagine a snowboard racer and a ski racer, are like snowboarder freestyler and ski freestyler.
They are doing much the same thing, in the same environment, creating memories and forming bonds of friendship. I would assume the snowboard racer and ski racer have no issues as they both have that race race race mentality.
So in this day and age I personally do not see Skier versus Snowboarder, but instead freestyler versus racer. Get stoked on the ski homie, give them props if they stomp something dope. Skiing, is obviously not quite as sick as snowboarding, but it is still very dope.
It’s a small industry, if you immerse yourself within the snowboard world you will link up with skiers from time to time, they will often do bigger and better tricks (or they do in Norway anyway) so share the stoke!
Check out one of Norway’s most talented skiers, with the most effortless style, to see why skiing is actually pretty sick these days.
At 21, I left Scotland to travel but ended up becoming a snowboard instructor instead. For 4-5 years, I worked internationally in many countries. As my passion for park riding grew, I transitioned into building snowboard parks. I’ve gained sponsors for my snowboarding, won rail jams and small competitions, and contributed to building X Games courses. I’ve also been involved in significant park events like The Stomping Grounds project.