Ten Bad Habits that Must Go for 2015

This story was first published on Andrew McLean’s blog, straightchuter.com.

1) Half Lapping

It is one thing to break trail up the side of a big, beautiful bowl and look back to see multiple groups coming up behind you. It is a totally different story, however, to see people making it halfway up the climb, ripping their skins and snagging first half-tracks. Totally lame.

Remedy: Public shaming. Bad karma. Social-media callouts. Ass camp the mofos if they take another (half)lap.

Peace, love, harmony and no half-lapping. This is how you do it. [Photo] Andrew McLean

Peace, love, harmony and no half-lapping. This is how you do it. [Photo] Andrew McLean

2) Ass Camping

Backcountry skiing is not a peloton in the Tour de France and 2mm does not count as “spacing out.” Trailbreaking is hard work, and one of the only things that makes it even harder is to have someone climbing up the back of your skis from behind, tailgating and insisting that “you are doing a great job!”

Remedy: One touch and you are out—as in out front, breaking trail. This is a very effective, almost wordless way to get people to spread out.

3) The Hidden Agenda

Words you dread to hear as you are heading out on a clear, sunny, deep, beautiful day: “I don’t care where we go, but I have to be back at the car by 1:00.” This either greatly curtails the day’s plans, adds new human factors to the tour or means the Agenda Person has to ski out on his/her own.

Remedy: Communicate before committing to the tour.

4) The Mystery Guest

A variation on the classic ski theme “Just because I slept with you, doesn’t mean I’ll ski with you.” Uninvited mystery guests of dubious abilities are the responsibility of the invitee.

Remedy: “OK. Just in case we get separated today, are you two all set?”

5) Clueless Avalanche Expert

Or, “All I Ever Needed to Know About Avalanches I Learned on Internet Forums.” Getting a Q2 ECT 8 on the MLK TG layer at 8k N/NE sounds very impressive, but really doesn’t mean shit in the grand scheme of things and is NOT a good reason to ski a slope.

Remedy: Beware of blowhards who insist a slope is safe.  Call your own shots.

6) Skintrack Bitchin’

Yeah, well…. Too steep, too flat, in the wrong place, dangerous, etc. Whaaaaaa.

Remedy: Break your own.

7) Phone Phreaks

Twitter, Strava, Instagram, Facebook, Jimmy is in Silver Fork, the LCC road is closed, the LCC road is now open, do you have reception?, check out this video, dogs eating at a table, New Hampshire is getting three inches, there’s an app for that, SELFIE!

Remedy: Being born before 1995.

8) Aborted Passers

You know the dude (and it is always a dude…). They come charging up from behind with headphones blaring and, instead of offering to help break trail, they swing wide, grunt “hey…nice day,” and then proceed to get ground to a crawl and eat shit on the trail breaking.

Remedy: Hang back 50 feet, let him flame out and then poach his line. Have a nice day!

9) Crowding at Transitions

The mountains are big places, and there is no reason to stack up on top of each other at transitions. Kindergarten kids refer to it as “being in my bubble,” and for backcountry skiing, the bubble is about a five-foot radius of skin ripping, pack opening and general maneuvering. If you get your eye taken out by a skin clip, it is really your own fault.

Remedy: The obvious—spread out.

Spread out. It's not that hard. [Photo] Andrew McLean

Spread out. It’s not that hard. [Photo] Andrew McLean

10) Postholing the Skintrack

No list would be complete without this, as booting a skintrack completely ruins it for everyone (except booters) who follows. This is actually not as common as it used to be and nowadays is mainly a frontcountry phenomenon.

Remedy: Nothing. Postholers are their own worst enemies. Pity the poor fools.

This story was first published on Andrew McLean’s blog, straightchuter.com.

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  1. Wait, you forgot . . . no, think you covered it well.

  2. Tim Ahlstrom says:

    How bout the dude with no food or water? Or beer afterward…

  3. No. 11…..person who shows up without a beacon

    • Or… the person who shows up with beacon and probe but no shovel.
      Remedy: give the other guy your shovel to carry.

  4. The #8 remedy conflicts with #1.

  5. Disagree with a majority of this post. Just one dude voicing his self-proclaimed superiority to the ‘lesser’ human.

    • Had similar feelings as Amanda. Some reasonable advice with VER bad tone to it! Too self righteous!

    • theres a difference between ‘self proclaimed superiority’ and common courtesy. if youve ever been in the backcountry youll recognize these as the latter.

  6. Not so rad dude says:

    What about #11?

    No bitching about other peoples mistakes, unless they directly or indirectly threaten your safety

  7. hahahahaha thanks for the morning laughs!! well said

  8. Harry Balse says:

    #69 Dawn patrollers. Skiing suspect slopes in the near dark while risking other lives below, ruining whole slopes, selfishly introduces an unneeded element of competition in the backcountry, just so you can get to your dentist job on time.

    So you can get up and hike at 3am. Congratulations, you are a vampire.

    The inane practice must stop.

  9. To sum up this post: “I’m king of the mountain. Play by my rules, peons.” What a pretentious ass. Everybody works hard to get up into the mountains. Everybody deserves credit, whether you are a hardcore, cocky, mountain jock; or a newbie looking to learn the ropes. The mountains are no place for elitists.

  10. I agree with Dave—I’m a busy mom of 2 with several businesses…i am often guilty of a half lap and “gotta be back by 1….” Carry oooooonnnn, Carry On, Carry On. SKI ON.

  11. #1 Thinking you always need to be skiing the steep blower backcountry pow like in the magazines. This eventually leads to death. How about we keep it realistic and acknowledge every day is not supposed to be worthy of a cover shot!!!!!

  12. Greg Gagne says:

    I also like one other I’ve heard by you – no peeing along skin track or on top. Go off to the side where no one will travel, dig a small hole with your basket, and do your thing. Otherwise like em all.

  13. #7 – so ironic. This being written by a guy who makes his living from internet sponsorship and spewing on all forms of social media – personal blog, facebook, instagram, etc. His life is lived out doing #7.

  14. Those responding “elitist” either have no sense of humor or little experience in the bc or both. Funny read that anyone who’s logged some miles can relate to.


  1. […] Ten Bad Habits that Must Go for 2015 – Backcountry skiing is not a peloton in the Tour de France and 2mm does not count as “spacing out.” Trailbreaking is hard work, and one of the only things that makes it even harder is to have someone climbing … “I don’t care where we go, but … […]

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