Snowboarders and skiers have been locked in a fierce rivalry for many years. In fact, when snowboarding was first allowed at ski resorts many skiers were reluctant to share the mountain with us. One of the most frequently voiced irritations was that snowboarders seemed to always be sitting in the way. But why do snowboarders sit down?
Snowboarders often sit down on the slopes to strap into their bindings. They may also sit down to get some rest without sliding away. Standing on a snowboard is physically draining, and it’s also difficult to remain in one place while upright on a board.
As so many skiers have emailed in this question, this post is for you. I’m also going to explain where to sit safely if you do find yourself in a bind on the slopes.
But first, let’s investigate why snowboarders are so compelled to sit down on the slopes…
Why Snowboarders Sit Down On The Slopes
1. It's Easier To Strap Into Your Snowboard Bindings
Ever tried to tie your shoelaces… whilst balancing on a wooden plank… on a slippery ice covered slope?
If so, then you share our pain!
Strapping into your snowboard bindings on an incline can be pretty difficult. Beginners will certainly find it much easier to do so sitting down.
I’d personally recommend that you practice strapping in on flat ground whilst standing up. Once you’ve progressed your edge hold to a certain point, you’ll then be able to adjust your bindings on a slope.
2. Standing Up On A Snowboard Is Tiring
If you have never spent an entire day snowboarding, you have no idea how physically demanding the sport can truly be.
Snowboarding is a hard exercise involving consistent use of your legs and core to hold your position. In fact, snowboarding downhill burns roughly 400 calories per hour!
To put this into context, swimming the breaststroke continuously for an hour burns about 500 calories! Considering you might snowboard for 6-hours in a day, you can do the math.
Additionally, standing still on a slope doesn’t really count as a “rest”. You’ll need to carefully hold your balance and edge hold the whole time. Those leg muscles are still engaged!
So if you’re a skier and spot a poor, exhausted snowboarder taking a little sit down… spare a thought for them.
3. Snowboarding Involves Bumps and Bruises
When newbie snowboarders are out on the slopes, it’s not uncommon to experience frequent falls. Especially in those first few days.
Actually, riders of any ability can take the odd tumble.
It’s not always easy to get straight back up.
Taking a brief moment to collect your thoughts is essential… and may occasionally require taking a seat on the slopes.
Remember, snowboarding is an extreme sport and can be dangerous.
Accidents can sometimes result in severe injuries that have long-term repercussions. A seated rider, especially around a jump or feature, may be assessing his limbs and checking for injury.
Give them some space and maybe even check in to see if they need any help.
(Of course, if riders are sitting in the landing spot of a jump, it’s always a good idea to encourage them to move into a place of safety).
4. The Rider Is Psyching Themselves Up
I’ve certainly been in that position. How ’bout you?
When preparing to try a new trick, particularly an invert or cork, I often have to win the mental battle before I can take on the physical.
This often means sitting above the jump and giving myself a stern talking to.
When it’s my turn to drop in, I can then stand up and without thinking about it any further… send it!
Is Sitting on a Ski Slope Safe?
Sitting on a ski slope is safe as long as you know where to sit.
It would help if you sat somewhere away from the run where other snowboarders and skiers can see you clearly.
Sitting in an inappropriate location is quite hazardous. The risk of collisions is high, particularly when sitting in a blind spot. This could lead to more serious injuries, such as shattered bones and concussions.
Where You Should Sit on a Slope
Position yourself in an easily visible area to the side of the slope.
Skiers and other riders shouldn’t have to change their direction to go around you. If they were going too fast… they might not change direction in time. Ouch!
Places To Avoid Sitting on a Slope
To mitigate the risk of getting plowed into at speed, avoid the danger zones!
Sitting in the wrong place on a slope can not only put yourself at risk, but you could injure someone else.
See below for some places you definitely should not have a rest.
1. Wherever You Are Not Clearly Visible
When on the mountain, it’s common to watch skiers and snowboarders hurtling down the slopes at incredible speed.
Because skiers and boarders are moving at such a high pace, they will have far less time to react to changes in their environment.
If you are sitting in an obstructed or hidden spot, then it is possible that they will not see you until it is too late.
In other words, you could get seriously hurt.
And the accident will be your fault as you were sitting in the wrong place and were not making your presence known to nearby skiers and snowboarders.
- Jump landing zones
- Sitting below a roller
- Crossroads with other runs
2. In the Middle of a Run
Sitting in the middle of a run is like sitting in the middle of a freeway. Except skiers don’t have brakes.
It is therefore just common sense to avoid sitting in the middle of a ski run!
3. Steep Runs
Whilst tempting to take a quick break on some of the super steep runs, this isn’t sensible.
Firstly, you might lose your nerve and struggle to continue down.
Secondly, if you’ve ever seen a wipeout on a steep run, the rider can keep sliding for hundreds of meters. Even being at the side of the run might not be safe.
You might also be hit with debris or a ski, watch out for yard sales!
If you’ve been thinking, “snowboarders are serious athletes (thanks very much), so why do I always see them sitting down on the slopes?”
Now you have your answer!
Hopefully you found this article useful. If so then why not stick around and browse some more snowboarding articles. A lot of love goes into making this site, return the love, take a look around!