Ski hill people


7 Types of People You'll Meet on the Ski Lift

Published April 3rd, 2017

How awesome are snow trips? You get to hang out with your friends, conquer a mountain, carve up the snow and rehash it all over a well-earned beer at the end of the day.

The special types of humans that are attracted to the mountain ensure that people watching is a less touted but no less satisfying ski hill activity. Here’s a quick rundown on the species you might encounter on the chairlift; see if your crew can spot them all and reward yourself with shot ski if you hit bingo.


Snowboarder walks along snow
The adrenaline junkie loves getting their hike on. Photo: Emma Lee

1. The adrenaline junkie

You’ll probably only see this guy or gal first thing in the morning - they’ll be up for first chair and will spend the rest of the day hiking the peak, hiking to secret spots, hiking to a back bowl… pretty much anything involving hiking. AJ will be Gore-texed from head to foot and won’t be chatty in the AM while they’re contemplating how epic their day is going to be, but if you catch them in the arvo they’ll be frothing about their day to anyone who’ll listen.

2. The snow bunny

This phrase has many interpretations, but our version is easily identified by her perfectly fitted, fur-lined jacket, which will skim the top of her snug, well-tailored pants. Common plumage colours include yellow, white or any loud pattern that you could expect to see in an expensive bed linen store. You’ll know you’ve found a genuine specimen when you hear her talking about her lunch reservation for the fine-dining bistro at the top of the mountain.


Snowboarder on slopes
It's all fun in the sun for the snow bunny. Photo: Emma Lee

3. The old timer

This guy is older than your mum but shreds harder and longer than you and your mates. He’s probably visiting for a week with a couple of his friends, and if you can draw them into conversation they casually speak of dropping in to chutes that you didn’t even know were accessible. If they’ve got any tips on where to go then listen up; they probably have a local ski patrol buddy or got up at dawn to consult the Farmers’ Almanac.

4. The social skier

SS is having a good time skiing, but can’t wait until après time. A few runs and they are ready for their first beer, although you can identify the really dedicated Social Skier by the cheeky mickey of Fireball they bust out in the gondola.


Snowboarders pose for photo on slopes
#mylifeisbetterthanyourholiday. Photo: Emma Lee

5. The seasonal

Usually Australian (no matter what country you’re in) and probably wearing outerwear by Roxy, DC or Volcom, The Seasonal will enthusiastically tell you about how snowboarding is his or her heart’s passion and secretly be thinking “my life is better than your holiday” the whole time. These guys are a good resource for info on happy hours and cheap eats, and he or she will be stoked for the chance to show off their local knowledge.   

6. The park rat

Encountered only on the chair that services the terrain park, this species is easily identified by their oversized Nomis jackets, tight pants and total lack of helmets. If there are fresh tracks to be had The Park Rat may do a token run up top but will soon return to his or her nest on the lower slopes. Keep an ear out for the terms ‘park laps’, ‘corked’, ‘front board’ and ‘stomped it’. 


Learner skier does pizza snow plough
PIzza! Pizza! Pizza! Photo: Emma Lee

7. The beginner

First timers can be found awkwardly toting their skis like a baby or dragging a HEAD snowboard with clip-in bindings. They usually have a slightly bewildered expression and eagerly welcome any encouragement – they are only just being inducted to the joys of snow, so be kind! If you get on a chairlift with a beginner snowboarder then be ready for them to grab you when you dismount; it can actually be a great way to pick up. 

emma death valley

Emma Lee

Emma is a travel writer and blogger living in Brisbane, Australia. She followed the snow around the world for many years, and still considers Lake Louise her happy place. Emma's other passion is food; a love that has led her down many sketchy looking alleys in Asia, South America and Europe.