10 Reasons to Not Ski at Resorts

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 8, 2013      


1. Make a mistake and you’ll get sued, or feel obligated to sue someone else. See the how-to-sue your ski instructor guidebook.

2. Sitting on lift chairs is bad for your back. Ask any physical therapist, you are in the worst position imaginable.

3. You may become a criminal if you ski uphill for a workout.



4. Your carbon footprint goes big. Unless the whole resort is running on discarded vegi oil from their french fries, walk off your guilt.

5. The food is expensive and hideous, or else expensive and tasty, but still expensive. Some of the worst and best food I’ve ever had has been at ski resorts. Italy, best. Colorado dehydrated hamburgers and soggy french fries, ouch.

6. Your skimo boots skis won’t work as a carving setup. If you want to challenge yourself with resort skiing on lightweight backcountry gear, at least do it telemark style so folks on the ski lift will know you are special.

7. Moguls. Just, moguls.

8. You might see someone skiing moguls on Fritschi Diamir bindings. Chilling.

9. Near certain death if a wannabe Olympic downhiller hits you at 65 mph. Speaking of which, let’s add a corollary reason for not skiing at resorts: The fake helmet you might be wearing that will most certainly not protect you from that 65 mph lunatic headed your way.

10. Fur coats and cell phones in the gondola. Ten-plus if the conversation is with a nanny.

Bonus – 11. What are your best reasons for not skiing at resorts?


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53 Responses to “10 Reasons to Not Ski at Resorts”

  1. Poach Ninja October 8th, 2013 8:59 am

    It now costs over a hundred dollars a day to ski…

  2. XXX_er October 8th, 2013 9:18 am

    Being hit while standing in front of a fence wearing a “Whistler Mtn safety” parka, later getting hit from behind cruising on a cat track … Mega resorts like Whistler drive me crazy

    but early birdpass at the local hill, I can walk/tour up to the chair in >2hr, take a sammy & thermos of tea only costs about 10$ and … no crowds

    you still gotta buy gas to get to the trailhead

  3. Matt Poppoff October 8th, 2013 9:24 am

    11. No pow after the first 10 minutes?

  4. AndyC October 8th, 2013 9:25 am

    It’s raining.

  5. Rob S. October 8th, 2013 9:29 am

    These are all negatives about resorts- here are my positives about Backcountry- (I’m a very mellow outdoorsman, no cliffs 37deg slopes, etc)

    1. Bring the dog
    2. Freshies
    3. Solitude/quiet
    4. Nature
    5. The uphill
    6. Not starting til i damn we’ll feel like it (feel pressured to get money’s worth @ resort)
    7. Very few Bros

    I could go on and on…

  6. david downing October 8th, 2013 9:33 am

    #7 is a reason to ski at resorts! If you know how to ski them, they’re so much fun. And besides, all the best skiers are all mogul skiers 🙂

  7. Rob S October 8th, 2013 9:34 am

    Hut-to-hut, + Howard @ Ostrander Hut

  8. Aaron A October 8th, 2013 9:54 am

    Resorts are too expensive, especially when you throw family in the mix. We do a lot of snowshoing and XC skiing as a family.

    Thanks to Rob S for providing the positives for BC.

  9. Brian October 8th, 2013 10:00 am


  10. Ben W October 8th, 2013 10:00 am

    Texans (for you Colorado, New Mexico folks)

  11. Lou Dawson October 8th, 2013 10:02 am

    Yep, old Leon went negative on this one… we’ll have to compensate with something poetic and positive about backcountry skiing!

  12. Drew Tabke October 8th, 2013 10:03 am

    Reasons this article is off the mark:
    1. Its hard to get a good espresso in the backcountry, and espresso is necessary for proper ski technique.
    2. Women wearing fur talking on their cell phone are not going to take your line.
    3. Going up 3,000′ in six minutes and then heading with a few friends out an empty valley, expansive glacier, or pristine ridgeline is awesome.
    4. Ski resorts can provide an economic engine which provides income for local ski families.
    5. Cat tracks, moguls, terrain parks, kickers, groomers, crud, cornices et al are super fun.
    6. Ganjolas.
    7. Going 65mph+ kicks ass.
    8. Skiing without a backpack rules.
    9. Sharing a chair with member or two of the visiting women’s college race team.
    10. Aprés bar.

  13. Davey Cooper October 8th, 2013 10:11 am

    You are right about #9. The shift towards helmets, body armour and headphones in The Alps is terrifying, the speed that some medium ability holiday skiers move at is insane. I went resort skiing once last year and couldn’t relax at all. However, the resorts keep people out of the backcountry too.

  14. OMR October 8th, 2013 10:45 am

    Tele is dead, yet still dissing? Although I’m now fully converted to Tech (peer pressure), my best days ever were free-heal. Plus, you really need to skin groomers and then you’re too good (or not good enough) to ski bumps ? BC skiing is like religion, go all the way or just stay home.

  15. Ari October 8th, 2013 10:53 am

    Hmmm…. What about the #1 reason to ski at a resort? When AVY danger is high to Extreme and ski patrol works hard to keep the resort safe so you can rip!

  16. Rick October 8th, 2013 11:04 am

    Sure, let’s diss the resort skiing, pull everyone into the backcountry and then we can have a top 10 reasons the backcountry is so f*ckin’ regulated and crowded; and long for the “good ol’ days”!

  17. Lou Dawson October 8th, 2013 11:09 am


    On the other hand, provided we had the access (we don’t), we could take every resort skier in Colorado and spread them around in the backcountry, and you’d never notice. Double that situation for Canada and the PNW. Only problem is the limited access. When it comes to crowding, since I’m pro recreation and pro humanity, I believe the problem is _access_ not the numbers of people.


  18. Lou Dawson October 8th, 2013 11:10 am

    OMR, tele is not dead, only sleeping till the next revival. All this stuff goes in cycles. Lou

  19. XXX_er October 8th, 2013 11:20 am

    going into the BC is too much trouble & too hard … I don’t need to worry about over crowding up here

  20. Xavier October 8th, 2013 11:21 am

    Since the recent explosive growth of backcountry skiing have you noticed how many people in the BC can’t actually ski very well?
    Used to be the guys and gals in the BC knew how to ski.

    Many of the the new BC aspirants would be well served to gain some actual skiing technique at the RESORT before heading out like tail gunning, snowplowing lemmings.

  21. Lou Dawson October 8th, 2013 11:40 am

    Out fault for starting the elitism with the anti-resort post. But let’s not extend it to the actual people! Everyone is welcome in the backcountry, and ski skills always improve, resorts or not. Lou

  22. Mike Marolt October 8th, 2013 11:46 am

    Ha, man, bc snobbery at it’s best. Ya, I won’t argue skiing the backcountry and the big peaks of the world is my personal passion, but I don’t care how bad anyone makes lift skiing out to be, on full on-mountain gear, I’ll take my 80 days a year and love every turn. And best of all, at least for high altitude bc skiing, I guarantee, there is no better way to train for the power endurance needed just to “ski” up there than running a few non stops down the Ridge of Bell through the bumps and crud 4 or 5 days a week during the winter. And best of all, I can work an honest day, and do it during my lunch hour and a half. Humor about this appreciated, but I just can’t complain about on-mountain skiing even remotely…..ITS FUN. haha.

  23. Greg October 8th, 2013 11:48 am

    RE #8 – Well, Fritschi is all I had, and I’ve been trying to work on moguls. And yes, it sucks as much as implied.
    Also, for #2, that’s why I always put the bar down, because otherwise my knees start killing me.

  24. Pete October 8th, 2013 11:49 am

    Line ups for everyhing ! $$$, and pow tracked up in mins.

  25. Gentle Sasquatch October 8th, 2013 12:28 pm

    Fritschi has a game changer binding for this upcoming season (IMHO)

    and… yeah… Resort skiing sucks. 🙂

  26. Lou Dawson October 8th, 2013 12:37 pm

    It took the Swiss many years to get comfortable with copying the Austrians, but they eventually came around (grin). Lou

  27. SR October 8th, 2013 1:12 pm

    I find it much easier to regulate body temperature when I’m not riding lifts. Generally not a big issue, but then when the wind blows and the lift stops, and you realize you could have given a chair a run for its money time-wise when you finally get off…

    Also, farts in the gondola. Worse than flying.

  28. Buzz October 8th, 2013 1:49 pm

    The best reason for not skiing at resorts: “Packed Powder”

  29. Blair October 8th, 2013 2:02 pm

    As someone who started alpine touring in the seventies with old lace-ups, cable bindings with a removable touring plate, bamboo poles, clip on Vinersa skins, no lessons, and dragging avaIanche cord, I couldn’t and still can’t ski very well. That is over thirty years stomping around southwest B.C. and the Rockies. There were a lot of stem christies, snow clinging to wool, and a few skilled and elegant skiers out ski-touring, mostly European expats.

    Locally, up to the last decade or so, the wisest and most experienced mountaineers and explorers belonged to the former group, and rarely, if ever yo-yo skied.

  30. Rob October 8th, 2013 2:42 pm

    I think some of my best work is convincing my wife that we would be actually saving money if she bought a Dynafit setup as well. At $200 a day for two lift tickets it actually does start to make sense. Also good reason why backcountry is the sense of having a little adventure for the day.

  31. Woody Dixon October 8th, 2013 6:10 pm

    Ten reasons why I like resort skiing:
    1. I’m lazy and chairlifts involve little effort.
    2. Night Skiing after work.
    3. Legs get in shape and technique gets reinforced much more quickly.
    4. Packed snow is fun.
    5. Slush bumps.
    6. Mostly worry free powder
    7. Beer on tap
    8. Backcountry without skinning.
    9. Looking cool under the lift
    10. Being able to ski the same line repeatably and get every roll, compression, tree bonk and slash DIALED.

  32. Rob S. October 8th, 2013 6:28 pm

    My 10 least favorite things about Skiing (resort or backcountry)

    1. Brahs
    2. Hearing how many days you skiied last year
    3. Hearing how great conditions were yesterday
    4. Gaper-Hate/feeling like I should look cool
    5. Price (resort – duh, also – backcountry rigs are $$, avy training, etc.)
    6. New schoolers/snowboarders (ok, somewhat of a repeat of 1)
    7. Driving/traffic
    8. Being made to feel like I’m not welcome since I’m not a local
    9. Having to park far away from the lifts (funny that even though I love backcountry tours, hate walking to lifts)
    10. No dogs @ resorts

    For some reason, I’m immune to the douchebaggery that persists in the biking culture, but I have to admit that while I prefer the sport of skiing, on the whole biking is so much better for me (I live in Berkeley, CA = Vail of Road Biking)

  33. Scott Nelson October 8th, 2013 7:49 pm

    Love #6, because I used to be special….. And #9 is why we don’t or rarely ski at resorts anymore, as my wife came within inches of getting creamed by one of these wannabe racers. I feel much safer in avy zones nowadays, so I must be extra-special now…

    Plus, both of us decided that paying too much money to sit on our rear end most of the day just wasn’t that much fun anymore, but that did help push both of us into different forms of skiing that are much more aerobic, which we both love. So it all worked out for the better.

  34. Chris Cawley October 8th, 2013 8:49 pm

    11. Who needs ski technique or mountain skills to purchase dynafits?

  35. frisco October 8th, 2013 8:50 pm

    I am 48, dot work out, and weigh 200 pounds. I love the idea of the backcountry. I love the reality of a chair.

  36. Njord October 8th, 2013 10:55 pm

    Nowhere to land the helicopter…

    … and everything gets tracked out by 10:00 am!

  37. Big Red October 9th, 2013 12:21 am

    First…thanks for the forum, and the posts….it keeps the stoke alive during the dry days.
    First comment here ever,
    Best reason for me not to ski at the resort is that I have skied somewhere around 1000 days at resorts over 30 years and those days included learning to snowplow with my Dad, learning to walk in ski boots, finding out how much coastal rain I can handle, learning what wax works, and what clothing works, learning what too fast means….and the consequences…I guess it was part of an apprenticeship of sorts that has progressed.
    The best reason for me to ski at the resort….all the reasons listed above but now its actually better than the first time around because soon I can share it with my kids as they start their own journey…..the resorts rule for lots of reasons…but isolated, remote, budget minded, self propelled deep powder skiing is generally not one of them….I love all types of skiing, but some maybe a bit more than others thanks to all the experiences combined….

  38. Christian October 9th, 2013 1:21 am

    People will notice how terrible your technique has become since you started to use most of your skiing time ascending.

  39. JCoates October 9th, 2013 2:21 am

    The only reason to resort ski in Austria? Apres ski.


    Pretty much a normal night in Stanton.

  40. Jimmy October 9th, 2013 7:43 am

    Comments about fake helmets realy pisses me of. I just cant understand why you would encourage people to not wear a helmet.

  41. Lou Dawson October 9th, 2013 7:57 am

    Actually, we are encouraging the industry to make better ski helmets. We have no wish to dictate whether people wear helmets or not, our only mission is to cut through the BS surrounding helmets that do offer a small amount of protection, but in some cases could probably be replicated by wrapping your head in some cardboard and bubble wrap.


  42. Frame October 9th, 2013 7:57 am

    A helmet does 2 fifths of stuff all if you ski into a tree at speed.
    Someone closing a chairlift safety bar on the back of your helmeted head will probably lead to nothing.
    towards the safety bar end of the spectrum is an area where helmets are useful…
    That’s the argument in a nutshell as I understand it.
    Wearing a helmet is fine, but don’t expect it to make you 10 foot tall and bullet proof.

  43. Dirk October 9th, 2013 8:25 am

    Ahhh, Another “my adult playtime is better than your adult playtime!” argument. Even better that you can really just change the title to “10 reasons to not ski the backcountry” and it wouldn’t make much difference.

  44. Lou Dawson October 9th, 2013 8:27 am

    Hmmm, I see another blog post on the horizon…

  45. mark October 9th, 2013 8:31 am

    I ski at Loveland and in the BC and in between and love it all. I often ski with my kids at the area, never ski bumps, and get quite a few big powder days there as well. I also do hut trips and plenty of day tours. One of the things that has led me back to skiing and away from technical mountaineering as I have gotten older is that it is a sport that can be done at a lot of levels and still be fun and connect you with mountains. I’m happy to spend the day in a snow plow braking my four year old and buying hot chocolate. I’m happy touring to a bc hut with a bunch of buddies, even when the snow’s not great. And when it happens, I’m happy to ski dry light CO powder.

  46. Lou Dawson October 9th, 2013 8:50 am

    I really appreciate you guys supporting resort skiing. This post was meant to be an elitist joke and you keyed right in on that. For all of the above reasons, we of course are fans of resort skiing as well! Some of my best memories are of some resort days with the family, back when the kid was small. Especially the day we skied the same, and the next day he skied better than me. That memory is so precious, him slipping down through the moguls like water flowing, me hacking around on my AT gear (though luckily it wasn’t rando race skis, or I wouldn’t have lived to tell about it). Good stuff. And yes, many resorts could do way better. Mainly, in many regions they are simply too expensive which is sad because skiing is such a wonderful sport, you hate to see it made artificially elitist by high-end resorts doing way too much grooming and such, and needing to charge more money. Lou

  47. Gentle Sasquatch October 9th, 2013 9:06 am

    I don’t support resort skiing in its current form 🙂 but it’s ok because I ski maximum 3 days every season at a resort.

  48. Brian October 9th, 2013 11:38 am

    one reason why: get to sit next to fur in the sauna

  49. trollanski October 9th, 2013 11:53 am

    Yes fresh is prefered. So…reasons to ski the lift? Bang out 10 or 20 laps of FRESH, depending where your ski hill is, eat some lunch, then bang out a few BC or SC laps in the afternoon. Gotta love the low hanging fruit, the shared stoke with people getting on it OVER, and OVER, and OVER. The ability to ski controlled high hazard conditions WHILE its still storming, then after sampling so many different aspect and elevations, heading out with MORE of an idea what is going on conditions-wise. oh! and the added safety of having all those resources at hand should you suffer an injury. Just as there is no substitute for the wild experience of the BC, there is no substitute for the riding the CHAIR.

  50. Jimmy October 9th, 2013 12:46 pm

    So according to your article g’s are reduced from 696 to 333 with a helmet. And your conclusion is that cardboard and bubblewrap are just as good? Or are you saying that it doesnt matter, your dead either way?
    See I dont think writing about fake helmets will put any pressure on the industry to make better helmets, it will however validate peoples perceptions that helmets are useless. Which they are not. Do they offer good protection? No. Are they better than a beanie? Yes. Have people survived crashes thanks to a helmet that would have killed them otherwise? Yes. Do we need better helmets? YES! Do people need to slow the fck down? Yes but its fun going fast so that wont happen.

  51. Tom October 9th, 2013 10:35 pm

    Great information, thanks!

  52. DMR October 11th, 2013 1:49 am

    I enjoyed the list, and I know it’s all in good fun, but a quick comment about point number 4 regarding carbon footprint.

    The major portion of your carbon footprint when resort skiing comes from the drive (or flight) to the resort and your lodging. The lifts and restaurant services produce a very small amount of emissions relative to the rest, and many resorts (at least in the Alps) are powered by hydro electricity and their groomers run on biofuels.

    I’ll second (or third) the problem with out of control skiers going way too fast.

    But I’ll also second that the enjoyment of skiing laps at the resort on powder days.

  53. Jim Milstein October 21st, 2013 8:26 pm

    As everyone knows, the rate of exchange for one good backcountry descent is twenty-five good resort descents. Both kinds have value. Take your pick.

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