Snow Swank

A guide to outdoor hipsters, part two.

Another season, another hipster. In the fall, haute hunters ran wild, but this time of year we’re more likely to encounter a different Bozeman breed: the swanky skier. We’ve all had our run-ins—the earfuls on the chairlift, the fashion statements at the bar, the unpleasant experience of standing next to him at the top of the ski run. This fellow (it’s always a guy—most posers are) typically does the following: 

Sports the latest, trendiest, most expensive gear, and dons his GoPro every day.

Leaves his skis in the lift line to claim his spot, and then goes for a chai tea at the coffee bar until two minutes before first chair, at which point he swaggers back to his skis, high-fiving random people along the way.

Expertly, fluidly employs entire lexicon of hackneyed ski jargon and phrases: pow, pow-pow (they’re different), blower, stoke, sick, gnar, etc. Mike Pence couldn’t deliver this stuff any smoother.

Skis big lines. Really big, sick lines. With style. Anything under a double-black-diamond is beneath him.

Checks his reflection in other people’s goggles to make sure he looks just as sick as when he checked in the bathroom mirror this morning, then again in the window of the lodge.

Always uses the singles line. Always. As much to brag to strangers as to get to the top sooner.

Casually, and constantly, drops names of skiing personalities he knows, mostly gross exaggerations. “Hung out with Bode last night” means they were in the same bar, or the same part of town, or the same state. 

Always manages to work into conversation that he knows someone who shot a segment for TGR in the Tetons last weekend. He was invited, but he skis for himself, man, nobody else. 

Interrupts your skiing story to tell you about a day when the powder was deeper and the cliffs were bigger. 

ski bum, ski hipster, outdoor hipster

Takes group selfies on the chairlift with families from Indiana and offers to tag them on Instagram for his “super-psyched followership.” (They politely decline.) 

Unloads from the chairlift aggressively fast, runs over a small child as he skates through a maze of boot-bucklers, buckling his own boots as he is skiing ‘cause if you ain’t first, you’re last. 

Clicks poles together twice—no more, no less—before pushing off for each run. 

Takes a photo of his skis above the scariest line on the mountain and immediately posts to Instagram, then decides that the conditions aren’t right, so backs off and skis around. 

Insists that the meaning of life is found in the untracked turn of a 20-inch dump.

Mocks snowboarders, but thinks monoskiing is “total money, Bro.” 

Levels the terms “gaper” and “flatlander” at anyone who skis terrain he himself does not find interesting or challenging. 

Wears his beacon to après, no matter if he skied the backcountry or not—playing the part is as big as the experience itself.

Parks his Sprinter van in the parking lot, so he can be first in the lift line in the morning and last to leave the bar at night, alone.