All of Us Are Skiers, Even YOU

July 12, 2013 Katie Burrell

I think there are a lot of people who are intimidated by “real skiers.” I am here to dispel that. Whether it be three times a year, every weekend, or 100 days per season, everybody that gets on the planks is a real skier. For example

Is He Real? Or A Mirage Of The Coolest Dude, Ever? Photo: Mike Watling
Is he real? Or a mirage of the coolest dude, ever? Photo: Mike Watling

The Badass Legend That Lives in a Ski Hut (literally)

He has a beard that takes a full day to melt and has better technique on skinny skis than a pro does on their pro models. He shoots wild game and cooks it over the open fire in his cabin (eats with hands, obviously). He is ageless, timeless; he bagged K2 with his eyes closed. He does everything by himself and has never felt the need for the love of a good woman (the mountains are his only passion). He is wrinkled but smooth and multilingual but silent. Only a handful of people have found the hut and met the man. Think Brad Pitt meets meets Bigfoot meets Greg Hill. Some people don’t think he’s real. He’s real.

The East Coast Racer That Moves Out West

He/she throws edges in the deep stuff and pulls muscles. They panic and think that they’re lost if they accidentally dip into the trees. They roll their pants up over their ski boots and are constantly adjusting their buckles. They are especially excited on powder days because it means that they will have the groomers to themselves. They’re the most technically sound skier on the hill, but are scared of wide open bowls and landing in powder. “Go ahead,” they say, “I’m going to go try to touch the inside of my downhill knee to that icy pitch over there.” Sometimes you punch them in the quad to see if they notice.

The Girl/Guy That Takes It Up So Someone Will Fall in Love With Them

They fail at the love part, because they can’t keep up, but they end up having a pretty good time anyways.

She's Cute, And Keeps Up (Is Faster Than You). Photo: Dave Silver
She’s cute, AND keeps up (is faster than you). Photo: Dave Silver

The Annoyingly Hardcore Girl From OHIO(???)

She’s ironically thin and nobody understands why she is as intense about skiing as she is. She really just wants to press records in a studio in Brooklyn, but has a burning desire to tick off everything on a checklist she calls “Big Dirty Lines” (you wish you’d thought of that name). She goes heli-skiing in Alaska and to warehouse parties in Chicago. She can land 9’s but doesn’t see the point of them. She makes a point of defying all normative stereotypes. She approaches the backcountry like she would an art project: calculated, from all angles, inspired. She’s a skier, she’s a model, she’s an artist, she’s “cRaZy SeXy,” she’s law-defyingly cool, I hate her.


Children are a staple of the ski world. They’re bundled, they’re snotty, they’re hungry, they’re cold, and then all of a sudden they’re ten and better than you are. Just try not to dust them ollie-ing over a merge sign before they get to that point.

The Classic Swede

Apparently, Swedish people love to make $400 an hour (minimum wage), buy the best gear on the market, and come and make us Canadians feel poorly dressed and overworked. The Classic Swede goes hard all winter and loves a good sing-along at the bar. They are typically around for one season only, so do not become too emotionally attached to them.  In Sweden, there are very legitimate outdoor education schools, where they ski tour across fields and learn to winter camp inside. Please restrain yourself from commenting when they accidentally spend a night in the backcountry.

Classic Swede. Once Did A Metal Cover Of &Quot;Your Body Is A Wonderland&Quot; By John Mayer. I'm Still Very Attached. Photo: Jared Akerstrom
Classic Swede. He once did a metal cover of “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer. I’m still very attached. Photo: Jared Akerstrom

The Guy That Dusts A Kid Ollie-ing Over A Merge Sign and Throws A Massive Fit When His Pass Gets Pulled

. . .

Don’t be that guy.

The Casual Couple

These two are on a real ski date. Not like, two hardcore people meeting up to test and one-up each other.  The Casual Couple are in borrowed gear, their goggles are so fogged that they’re (technically) legally blind, and they are having the time of their lives. (Because the goal is to create an inclusive ski environment), please don’t snicker at this back and forth:

“Babe, you could totally do that black diamond.”


“Come on, babe! We’ll do it slow.”

“ONLY if we get yummy nummy hot chocolate after?”

“For sure, babe. And hot dogs.”

“You’re a hot dog!”

(LAUGHTER, playful shoving. They bump you.)

. . .

“Excuse me, can you get a picture of us – with the panorama function?”


They are having a great time and it is not your place to a) be judgmental or b) feel devastating loneliness because you have been hot-lapping your “training zone” by yourself, pretending to be in competitions that you will never actually be in.

The Guy That Doesn’t Get It But Loves It More Than Anyone

This guy absolutely loves skiing but has no idea what’s going on. He sings his way down the Hollywood bumps and waves at people (that he doesn’t know are making fun of him). He exuberantly applies to be a volunteer patroller – and the crew gives him a shot – but is forced to cut him due to a general lack of coordination. Unfazed, he throws his backcountry gear on his back and stays in bounds for the rest of the season (thank God).  He has the best time. He high fives lifties. He dances in the parking lot. He gives the gun to everyone he makes eye contact with. He’s a complete goon, but…we gotta give it to him. He loves it.

The Lady That Hates It Beyond Words But Goes to Prove Something to Someone

It’s okay, lady. The day lodge staff need something to do. We’re impressed by a) your ability to move in that very fitted ski suit, b) that you have lipstick on and c) that your white mittens are still white.  You look great, and that run called “Sunshine Coaster,” has you written all over it. Buy a full day pass, do two laps, take “Hershey Kiss” to the lodge and call it a day. We’re proud of you.

The Hard Core Dad That Will Never Say Die

He’s the Man doing the leg swings that are packing so much force that he almost topples over. This Dad gets crazy sweaty while his kids lead him all over the mountain at a breakneck speed. Dad refuses to go at a speed in which he is in control, for reasons of pride.  Dad has “Never Grow Up” syndrome, so Dad blows his shoulder out in the park and swears at his kids’ friend who tries to help him up.  Kid drives the Suburban home, Dad drinks beers, Mom doesn’t know what she is most mad about.  Dad is back leg swinging in two weeks. Legend.

My point is: there is no template for “skier.” You love it, you get out there, you ski hard or you chill. You’re on two planks and you’re living life and that’s it.

We're All Skiers. Every Last One Of Us. Photo: Dave Silver
We’re all skiers. Every last one of us. Photo: Dave Silver

In closing, please don’t make fun of me from the chairlift. Thanks.