When is it OK to Snake?

Is it ever ok to snake? 🙂 Snaking is a term that’s used to describe the actions of someone in a snowboard park/skateboard park – when they’re pushing their way to the front of the queue

And we do get queues in our snowboard parks; sometimes they’re busy so people line up to hit the obstacles. They have to, because under normal circumstances, it’s one person at a time for a feature in the park.

Now, depending on where you live in the world, you’ve probably got a different view on queueing. Without playing on the common stereotypes, I think it’s safe to say that some individuals are more inclined to queue, while others are more laid back about it.

But, here’s the difference from a regular queueing scenario, people hesitate in the snowboard park. They’re not sure. Have you ever been in a queue in a sandwich shop where the line runs past the shelves with the food on? Sometimes there are people in front of the shelves, browsing, because they don’t know what they want yet. Are they in the queue? Or are they still deciding? If you know what you want, do you just pick it up and move infront?

It’s a similar thing in the park – and it’s magnified when it’s busy. Some people are nervous, they’re not sure if they’re ready to go, and it’s harder because of all the people around watching. Are they queueing, or are they waiting? It’s not clear cut, and what’s more, because a lot of snowboarders sit down while they’re waiting, it’s harder still to tell if someone is actually next in line.

And in these situations – the more confident riders will move through more quickly. If there’s a gap, they’re ready to go so they’ll take it. Is there anything wrong with that?

Naturally you’ll see it happening to varying degrees. I’m not saying that all confident riders are snakers, pushing their way to the front. It’s common to see a friendly nod, or someone to ask “are you going?” Courtesy. Sure, some riders will snake to the front, to the point that they’re pushing in, but can you blame them? They want to get their laps in, and they’re ready to go…

What do you think?

I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been the guy sitting down, not ready to go yet because he’s feeling a bit nervous while everyone else keeps riding around him; and the guy that’s lapping some features he’s comfortable with and wondering if he should “just go” because they don’t look like they’re ready.

Have you been in this situation, have you seen it in action? What do you think of snaking in the park? Understandable, or plain annoying?

Related posts: If the snowboard park is still new to you, stay tuned for an article covering some of the basics of park etiquette. You might also find this interesting: Don’t Be Put Off By The Crowds And Cliques At The Snowboard Park.


  • Reply February 27, 2011

    Sam MacCutchan

    My experiences are pretty much the same as yours, usually there are a bunch of people hanging around at the top of a feature waiting to go. Preference usually goes to those standing and those who yell ‘dropping’ regardless of order of arrival. Most people look around to see who might want to go next before either standing or yelling.

    However the worst cases of snaking I’ve experienced are always on the half pipe.

    Case 1: Dad with at least three kids in tow. Straight line it down the halfpipe without stopping at the top. Sometimes, maybe, Dad will stop at the top while the kids go, then ski down the deck.

    Case 2: Super awesome dude bypasses the line and stops on the deck twenty to thirty feet down. Then just as someone in the line who wants to make a full run of the half pipe starts to go super awesome dude drops in, does one hit and then exits the half pipe to the deck. Forcing the rest of us to wait just a little bit longer.

    Both cases really get my back up for some reason.

  • Reply February 27, 2011


    Hey Sam,

    yeah, I’ve seen some good snaking on the halfpipe. The fact that you can enter the pipe at different stages kinda allows for some “overtaking” 😉 I’ve also witnessed the straight line down the middle – that’s tres annoying!

    I try to use “dropping” when it’s appropriate to let other people know that I’m going… like you said it can be a handy tool to snake and notify at the same time!


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