Shrediquette, Part 1: Keep it tight, know your rights and responsibilities on the mountain

By Jessica Sell Chambers

As with any cultural phenomenon or popular activity, there’s an unspoken etiquette to skiing and snowboarding. Disobeying these ski rules will, at best, silently anger folks around you. At worst, it’ll put you and others in harm’s way. Especially and popular ski destinations like Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, minding your ski manners makes for a more enjoyable and safer skiing experience for everyone.

Ski etiquette extends beyond the hill, so we’ll break this down into some digestible parts. First, let’s tackle the lift line. A smooth lift line keeps things tight, keeps the line moving, and keeps grumpiness at bay.

  • If your whole party isn’t present, don’t get in the line. Advancing in a lift line while calling for your 12-year-old kid to catch up is inconsiderate. A crowded Thunder lift line isn’t going to be happy about the last person in your party bumping their way through 8 rows of people and stepping on skis and boards. Yeah, it’s egregious, but cruising into the queue without your peeps is a big no-no no matter what.
  • On that note, don’t post up directly in front of the entrance to the lift line to wait for your peeps, or for any other reason. It’s not cool when people need to keep a bit of momentum on those uphill entrances like on Sublette — not to mention it’s dangerous.
  • Alternate at merge points. There are typically two merge points in each line. Anytime you come to a merge point in the lift line, the left line advances followed by the right line. Lather, rinse, repeat. (On Teewinot, just be patient and listen to your lifty.)

  • Watch the top sheets, man. Don’t ski over another person’s skis or board. Pay attention to your surroundings, and know where you and your skis or board are at all times.
  • Pole tips down! No one wants to lose an eye, especially on a powder day. And no one wants to have a giant scratch across their $150 goggles.
  • Heads up! It’s a good idea to keep your head up in the line or on the stairs to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on around you, and so that you can smile and say hello to your neighbors.
  • If there’s a decent sized line, share the chair. It helps you meet people, share some stoke, and hey, you might learn something more about ski etiquette.
  • Keep your music to yourself. Phish might be your jam, but that doesn’t mean it’s your neighbor’s. (No offense Phishheads!) Leave the music to the lifties, they earn that.
  • Chat with the people on your chair, say hello, find out where they live, and then ask them what direction they’re heading in when they get off the lift. Coordinate your exits so you don’t end up in a pile right below the unloading doc.
  • On that note, thank your local lifty. They’re working so you can ski. Plus without the bump they give you up on some of our more rustic lifts like Thunder and Sublette, many of us would probably end up in the snow of shame, a.k.a the not so fresh pow in front of the chair. No one wants to be that person.  
  • One more thing: if the lifty offers to help you with your skis, fork ‘em over. Don’t take it personally. We all know you can put your skis in there, it’s just a friendly hand.

Finally, when in doubt, err on the side of kindness. We’re all out there to have fun.

Stay tuned for part two and three: On the slopes & Off the slopes.