I’ve skied and ridden from Newfoundland to New Zealand, Vermont to Vancouver, Great Britain to British Columbia, and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.  Here are my top ten laws for skiers & riders – newbies and core, alike.

  1. Never ride a new lift during its first week of operation. Never ever ride one on its maiden voyage. (They have tendency to break down with under-dressed dignitaries aboard). There are lots of folks out there who want to be the first to try a new lift. Let them.
  2. Despite what your mother told you, don’t wear scarves when you go skiing. Scarves and equipment don’t mix because if they should mix… well, remember what happened to Isadora Duncan. Wear a facemask or neck gaitor instead.
  3. Your mother was right about hats, though. Unless it’s warm out, wear one. They not only provide insulation to the part of your body where sneaky heat thrives, they keep your head dry during snowfalls, thus preventing the big chill caused by evaporation. (And yes, helmets count as hats.)

    Laws for Skiers & Riders: St. Patrick's Day at Mt. Rose

    St. Patrick’s Day at Mt. Rose

  4. Try not to let your fast friends talk you into skiing over your head. Trust your instincts and the trail signs instead. Sheer terror is not an aid to improved skiing.
  5. Neither is excruciating pain. If something hurts — and nine times out of ten that something is your feet — get off the mountain and have your boots checked.
  6. Speaking of checked, that’s what you should have done to your bindings at the start of every season. Yes, even if you only skied three times last year. Weight changes, age changes, level of skill changes, and all these changes affect binding settings. Look upon the annual check-up as, well, an annual check-up.
  7. But don’t turn down the settings of your bindings in the fall. That used to be a good idea, but materials have improved, and it’s no longer needed or recommended.
  8. When you store your skis at season’s end, iron a big, sloppy coating of wax onto their bottoms and edges. There’s no better protection against dehydration and rust.
  9. Between lessons and instruction books, competitiveness and hardheaded determination, it is astonishingly easy to forget the reason you started skiing in the first place. The reason was to have fun. Even more astonishing, when you remember to have fun, your improvement rate skyrockets. So have fun.

    Laws for Skiers & Riders: Mammoth Chair 22

    Mammoth Chair 22

  10. Never eat anything bigger than your head.


What are your top laws for skiers and riders? Share them below in the comments!

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Sub-Categories Beginners / Guides / liftopia / Ski / Snowboard
  • #11 – If you’re nice & warm in the parking lot, you’re wearing too much.

  • Todd Weaver

    #12 don’t drink or smoke pot while on the lift or when skiing.

  • slider729

    #13 Getaway from the lift unloading area QUICKLY – if you are waiting for a group of friends dont block the whole trail entrance – move to the side and out of the way now!

  • Do not spit on people when you are riding up the chair lift!! When I was a ski instructor at Killington, people would spit on my Mini Stars (4-6yrs) all the time. DISGUSTING!!

  • TP

    #14 Do not choose to sit down in the middle of a run to take a rest, move to the sides. Especially don’t do this on the downhill side of a crest in the middle of a run.

  • Frank

    If you are out of control: Fall by yourself! Don’t ram someone else to slow you down. It doesn’t work like you think and instead of one injured now ski patrol has two to carry out.

    Also unless you are an expert (and even then with caution) take a very wide berth of kids sliding and riding. Always give them the right of way.

  • Botadog

    When In line, stay off other people’s ski, and please keep your ski poles pointed down

  • Yomama

    The downhill skier/rider always has the right of way. Always, I know you are cool and fast but ramming into people because they are in your line is so tacky. So is swearing at people to get out of your way. Amazing how many people don’t know this. AND we are all in this our rather out in this, together. Make it a great day!!

  • jules older

    These are GREAT additions to Older’s Law. I especially like “If you’re warm in the parking lot, you’re too warm” and “keep your poles pointed down.” I wrote about Snowshoe in WVA, where nobody seemed to have gotten that poles-down memo.

    What else you got?

    — jules

  • ricejabetween

    We don’t care if you’re on a ski team or club from wherever and you’re competing…etiquette, etiquette, etiquette, and respect on the mountain, in the lift lines, in the lodge, at the watering hole…it counts and will get you a long way with the locals.

  • Alta Lew D

    Don’t congregate at the entry to the maze waiting for your friends to catch up, you’re blocking the maze for everyone else!

  • Cookie

    Say “thank you”…to the lift folks, to the ticket seller, to the person holding the door open… to pretty much anyone who is kind/friendly….

  • patrick

    nice post…..
    New Zealand Skiing