The poseur’s guide to skiing and riding

How to snow your friends on the slopes
By ASHLEY RIGAZIO  |  December 5, 2006


My life as a poseur began when I joined an after-school skiing and snowboarding club my sophomore year of high school. My school required students to participate in structured physical activities, and I had been proven useless in all types and levels of team athletics. It would not be long before my supervisors and peers began to catch on that I was similarly inept at snowboarding.

I wasn’t always that bad, yet I inevitably found myself irritable, numb, and sprawled out on my back in a patch of moguls. Three years after learning how to snowboard, I was out of control and weaving like Bode Miller after a pub crawl. Overcome with shame and still attached to my oversize snowboard, I crawled to the side of the trail to avoid the stoned hippie snowboarders and hotshot five-year-old skiers gliding by with enviable ease and impeccable form. Like basketball, karate, and rockstardom, I had to accept that snowboarding just wasn’t for me.

But I wasn’t ready to abandon the great outdoors quite yet. I still enjoyed the overall skiing and snowboarding experience; I just didn’t find the up-the-hill, down-the-hill routine as thrilling now that it left painful snow burns on my ass. I had to up my game. I had to pretend I was good. So I became a full-fledged, unapologetic poseur — the K-Fed of the slopes. And to my surprise, it worked.

Here are my fail-proof tips for looking and acting like a pro skier or snowboarder, even if you can’t make it off a lift without eating it.

Before you “hit the slopes,” you’ll need to look like a professional. Don’t show up in a suspendered snowsuit and Ugg boots. That get-up may gain points on the playground, but it won’t work with this crowd. Remember, you should aspire to look cooler than the hotshot five-year-old.

This means nearly everything you wear to the mountain should be made specifically for use while snowboarding or skiing. If the store has underwear for skiing or riding, buy it, wear it, and tell all your friends. Plaster name brands like Rossignol, Salomon, and Burton all over your person.

If you’re short on cash, rent before you get to the resort or borrow from a friend (preferably one you know well and can blackmail — they’re the best at keeping secrets). Anything you rent at the mountain’s shop will be old, beat up, and obviously an on-site rental.

You will want to convince your party that the reason you’ve been missing in action is because you’re just too awesome to be hanging out with losers on the blue squares. The cafeteria can be a delightful refuge, but too many familiar faces will send you scurrying out into the snow like a yeti. Keep time in this area to a minimum.

Hiding is a great opportunity to showcase your creativity. Squeeze behind a vending machine, build a two-story igloo, or simply hop in your car and drive away. Just make sure you come back, or you may be mistaken for an avalanche casualty or a bear-attack victim.

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