15 Types of Skiers You'll Meet on the Mountain

One of the great things about skiing is the many different types of people who enjoy the sport. Whether you’re chasing first tracks or closing the bar, you’ve likely stumbled into one of these skiers before. Remember: if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

Backcountry Skiing

1. Powder Hounds

Perpetually on the search for first tracks and deep snow, Powder Hounds live to spend winter in the white room—the feeling of getting totally encompassed in snow while skiing powder. Easily identifiable by their super-wide skis, action cams, and snow-encrusted smiles, you’ll often encounter Powder Hounds speaking in hushed tones about their secret stashes.

2. Park Rats 

You’re just as likely to see a Park Rat sliding on rails, boxes, or flying in the air as you are to witness them sliding on the snow. Fueled by Red Bull and Monster energy drinks, on the rare occasion when Park Rats aren’t blasting music through their headphones, they’re communicating with an ever-evolving language that only loosely resembles English.

3. Après Enthusiasts

As the name implies, the Après Enthusiast is more interested in what happens after skiing rather than during skiing, and is more likely to be seen dancing on the bar than skiing on the slopes—because of this, you’ll rarely encounter them before noon. Gear is secondary for Après Enthusiasts, with the exception of their shot ski (which was handcrafted).

4. Snow Bunnies

Snow Bunnies are more concerned with looking good than skiing well. Lift tickets are just an accessory for a Snow Bunny; Despite the triple-digit expense of a day pass, you won’t see them on the slopes—although they might ride the lift for lunch at the restaurant on the summit.

EMS-Winter-ski-Mountain-0779

5. Old Schoolers

Sporting straight skis, sunglasses, and no helmet or hat, you’ll find Old Schoolers teaching a masters class on why gear doesn’t translate to skill or enjoyment. Styling runs on skis older than you while wearing a jacket that wasn’t all that warm or waterproof when it was bought 20 years ago, much less now, old-school skiers are as stoked today as they were when they first skied that run decades earlier.

6. Wannabe Racers

Aero helmets, skin-tight suits, and race skis, oh my. You’ll encounter Wannabe Racers all over the mountain, chattering about everything from how fast they were/are in high school/college/NASTAR or the latest tune they just gave their skis. From ski tucking down cruisers to slaloming through make-believe gates, these skiers are frequently found immersed in competition against an imaginary Bode Miller, Lyndsey Vonn, Ted Ligety, or Mikaela Shiffrin. Look for them in deep discussion about camber at the mountain’s shop.

7. Gapers 

Gapers go by a host of names, such as “Jerries” or “Joeys.” An interesting species of skier, gapers are totally clueless to the rules, but are totally dialed in their own minds. Known for their  namesake gap—the space between a skier’s helmet and their goggles—Jerries are also often spotted skiing in jeans, carrying their skis strangely, and yard sailing over the mountain.

8. First Timers

Awkwardly walking across the lodge, causing pile-ups getting onto (and off of) the lift, and performing top-to-bottom snow plows are first-time skiers. Recognized by their rental equipment, First Timers are hopefully spotted hanging around the ski school or accompanied by an instructor, but have an unfortunate tendency to stray into expert terrain unsupervised.

Courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl
Courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl

9. Gear Obsessed

Sure skiing is fun, but it’s even more fun if the rocker profile of your ski is perfectly matched to conditions, your boots have been custom molded, and your layers are working in unison to keep you perfectly insulated. Gear-Obsessed skiers are interested more in ski equipment than they are the sport itself.

10. Lodge Loungers

Gunning for likes on Instagram, you’ll find Lodge Loungers at tables in the lodge, eyes glued to a screen, posting about their latest epic descent. Although they may congregate indoors with park rats, you can pick these teens out by the heaping plates of chicken fingers and fries they’re consuming in the moments they can glance away from their screen.

11. Disgruntled Dads

These Dads didn’t sign their first-timer kids up for lessons and now they are paying the price. Easily found in three places: in the rental shop struggling to get boots on their kids, on the bunny hill with a kid on the ground having a temper tantrum, and in the lodge helping “the fam” warm up with some hot chocolate. Although they may lighten up come Après Hour, do yourself a favor and give Disgruntled Dads a wide berth on the slopes.

12. The Beverage Smugglers

Undeterred by signs prohibiting “off-premises” beverages, these hardly souls recognize that “après” only means “after” in France. The best Beverage Smugglers can be found carrying Northeast classics like Tree House and Alchemist. Probably a millennial, but worth befriending—hopefully they’ll share a can (or two) with you in the lodge.

After-ski drinks in the Paul Bunyan Lounge. | Courtesy: Loon Mountain
After-ski drinks in the Paul Bunyan Lounge. | Courtesy: Loon Mountain

13. College Bros

Frequenting events like Reggae Fest, retro day, and the pond skim, College Bros appear at Northeast resorts in March during “Spring Break.” They travel in oversized packs with nicknames like “Crew 22.” They’re definitely staying at somebody’s parents’ slopeside condo and may have some aspiring Beverage Smugglers in the group.

14. Kid Crushers

These mini shredders’ parents have had them on skis and in lessons since before they could even walk—and it shows. Kid Crushers are found everywhere from the park to the race course to the trees and, despite not being tall enough to ride a roller coaster, they’ve turned the entire mountain into an amusement park. May become Wannabe Racers, or Park Rats as they get older.

16. Ski Patrollers

Also known as “Red Jackets.” Occasionally spotted skiing, but typically only to migrate between the “Patrol Shack” near the top of the mountain and the “Patrol Room” at the bottom. Prefer hard, icy terrain and rescuing First Timers. Will sometimes be observed “in discussion” with Park Rats and Wannabe Racers.

Warren Miller said, “Don’t take life too seriously, because you can’t come out of it alive.” Whether you’re a Jerry, a Powder Hound, or an Old Schooler have a great ski season.