Dear skiers, board­ers and snow-junkies,


There’s a lot to love about belt­ing down a dou­ble-black (OK, blue) ski run atop sliv­ers of flex­ing fi­bre­glass, be­fore re­tir­ing to a warm chalet – even if the gob­let of hot wine they serve would be a hor­ren­dous prac­ti­cal joke at any other time and place. That said, let’s get a few things straight be­fore we get re­ally piste. Firstly, you don’t have to dress like a flu­oro-flecked An­dre Agassi, circa 1992. Are you work­ing main­te­nance in a mine or are you on the slopes? Please, for all con­cerned, save the hi-vis for the job site and wear some­thing that doesn’t be­long in the bot­tom of a quarry. Also, what’s with the queue jump­ing? Don’t be that ski-douche whose jour­ney to the sum­mit sur­mounts ev­ery­one else’s. Un­less you’re trans­port­ing a re­place­ment kid­ney for an emer­gency op­er­a­tion, set­tle down and wait your turn, champ. Speak­ing of lifts, that bright-eyed Cana­dian run­ning the chairs has heard ab­so­lutely ev­ery ‘clever’ re­sponse to her ques­tion, ‘are you rid­ing sin­gle?’ So don’t. Keep shuf­fling for­ward – that’s your only job. By the same to­ken, the chair­lift is not some alpine ver­sion of Tin­der, ei­ther – the ‘snow­bunny’ isn’t there just to meet some­one. And even if she was, you’re not that some­one, es­pe­cially if you use the word ‘snow­bunny’. In any case, the French ski in­struc­tor – the guy with the ac­cent – has closed that door on you. If this is a once-a-year pil­grim­age – and, be­ing an Aus­tralian skier/boarder, that’s likely the re­al­ity – un­der­stand that you’re per­haps not as good as you think you are. There’s a good rea­son that ski pro­fes­sion­als call novices ‘Whoa-fucks’ – it’s what they say, right be­fore they make shards out of their fe­mur. And the peo­ple who do have skill are pretty tired of hav­ing to drag some self-anointed mav­er­ick with a snapped limb off dou­ble-black runs. This is a gen­teel sport, not a validation of your warped ‘the rules don’t ap­ply to this rene­gade’ mas­culin­ity. By which we mean, stay out of ar­eas you’re not meant to be in or you’ll be fronting a news story that be­gins with the sen­tence, “Hopes are fad­ing for a skier tonight...” Be kind, be cour­te­ous, and be aware that you’ll crash into oth­ers, just as they will crash into you. There’ll be plod­ders with no sense of di­rec­tion, preen­ers with no sense of deco­rum, and those Milo kids with ab­so­lutely zero fear – and tal­ents that eas­ily sur­pass yours, even though they’re only six. Fi­nally, there’ll be those who stop mid-run for no ap­par­ent rea­son – that is, to take a selfie. Your job is to be a gent and deal with it. Fi­nally, for the love of those hired ski boots that cut off the blood flow to your al­ready numb ex­trem­i­ties, please, speak like an adult, not some Thc-ad­dled teen whose main am­bi­tions in life are the per­fect Gopro video and a three­some – pos­si­bly at the same time.

Happy trails,

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