The culture of skiing and snowboarding: Sharing a passion on the Mountain

Courtesy of Bogus Basin

Boise State University’s local non-profit mountain Bogus Basin is the highlight of the spring semester for both skiers and snowboarders. Students have completely sold out the student winter season passes, and the non-profit returns 100% of the earnings back into improving the on-mountain experience. 

The culture behind both skiing and snowboarding is arguably one of the most thrilling experiences. From the cold air, the beautiful connection to nature and the exhilarating highs and speed, skiing and snowboarding is easily considered a fan favorite winter activity. 

Skiing and snowboarding have together cultivated a collective group of dedicated enthusiasts who share a passion for the mountain that holds a both spoken and unspoken friendly showdown with one another. Nonetheless, the two come together to foster a tight-knit community that values camaraderie, adventure and overall a profound connection to the slopes. 

Sawyer Newhouse, vice president of the Boise State Ski & Snowboard Club, a sophomore  studying humanities and cultural studies, gave insight on the club and his experience with the sports.

“Skiing is rooted in tradition from its origins in ski racing and downhill skiing,” Newhouse said. “Whereas snowboarding is more rooted in its park culture of doing tricks and all kinds of expression.”

Boise State’s Ski and Snowboard Club has an even split between the two sports with approximately 280 members in total. The club prioritizes connecting members to keeping Bogus’s wish of always having someone to carpool with, hosting social events and more. The club is inviting new members to reach out and join their club to grow their connection for the sport, make friends and try something new.

While up to personal preference, there is a huge debate on which of the winter sports is easier. Junior criminal justice student, Anna Lucas,  a member of the Ski & Snowboard Club chimed in with a popular opinion.

“Snowboarding is harder to learn and easier to get good at,” Lucas said. “Whereas skiing is easier to learn but harder to get good at.”

Skiers are equipped with boots, skis and poles. Ski boots are known to be uncomfortable to walk in due to their stiff build, but their equipment allows for an easy release if they end up in a predicament on the hill. 

Though it is a quick release, you run the risk of the classic “Yard Sale” yell, a joke coined for the skiers having to chase down their equipment after a wipeout from a nearby snowboarder. 

Skiing is the original snow sport and has been around for centuries with some “ski-only” resorts still existing today. Snowboarding comes from surfing, with origins of originally being known as “Snurfing”. 

Snowboarders have only boots and a snowboard. Once strapped in, there’s no leaving the board until manually releasing themselves. Despite being strapped in, snowboarders are much more injury prone when catching an edge. 

Skiers don’t have to wait to go down the mountain after they get off the lifts, whereas snowboarders must glide off the lift with their dominant foot, regular or goofy, and sit off to the side to strap in before heading down the slopes. 

Cat-tracks or flat trails on the mountain can make it or break it for a snowboarder if they do not go into them with enough speed, causing them to hop like the pixar lamp until gaining enough speed. Ski poles allow skiers to create enough momentum for whatever trails are to come their way. Bonus points for skiers that pull their snowboard friends with their poles to get them out of a cat-track.

Generally speaking, the fashion sense between the two sports, although interchangeable, usually is distinct from one another. Skiers tend to wear more slim fitting outerwear to support their more aerodynamic form, while snowboarding pants and bibs tend to be looser for bending, crouching and various leg movements.  

While up to preference, snowboarders are typically known for wearing mittens while bringing the surfer and skater look, as they are often associated with caring more about getting noticed for style points. Skiing on the other hand is focused on speed and practicality with their moves noted for grace and elegance.

“We don’t have access to exact statistics,” Jacqueline Klingler, rental associate at Boise State’s Outdoor Rental Center said. “But from working here, I’d say our rentals are 60% for ski equipment and 40% for snowboarding equipment.”

At the Boise State Outdoor Rental Center members can rent full snowboard or full ski equipment starting at $24 for 24 hours.

On the road up to Bogus Basin, skiers and snowboarders share the tale of opening and closing their car doors to let in “trolls” while going over the cattle grate at mile four. In doing so, legend has it you’re guaranteed a good day on the slopes, but don’t forget to let them out on your way back down. 

“When you’re up on the mountain, nothing else matters,” Nick Harris, ski and snowboard tuning and rental associate, from McU sports said. “It’s the perfect mix of individuality and friendship. You’re on your own forming your own connection with nature but still get to celebrate your friends when they land a sick trick.”

Regardless of amusing differences that make each sport unique on their own, skiers and snowboarders at Boise State highlighted their love and dedication for the sport from the thrill and the adrenaline rush to feeling in touch with nature — it is a great way to escape from the world to spend time with friends.

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