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Is Skiing a Subculture?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I guess this should be two questions:

- Is snowboarding a subculture?
- Is skiing a subculture?

First snowboarders. It seems, on the surface, that snowboarders have definitely developed a subculture. There is definitely an attitude, behavior, etc., that seems to be a carryover from the surfer culture, which is fascinating because most boarders have probably never met a surfer or touched a surfboard. Hmmm.

Skiers. Well, I am trying to figure out why some people ski and some don't. Certainly, it is an expensive sport. But when compared with other forms of recreation, it is not out of range for most folks.

Even folks with modest life styles, such as myself, can rent ski eqiupment at prices that compete with purchasing. I have skied on the cheap. I have now acquired three pair of skis, most of my purchases are in the summer at half price. Skiing cost less than maintaining a boat. Going to home NFL or NBA games would set you back as much.

I also hike a lot in the Pacific Northwest and have noticed that there is a certain kinds of people that I always meet on the mountain, people that seem to be a lot like me. Not everyone, but enough.

I meet extremely few black folks in the mountains and I don't see them on the ski slope and I worry about that. I guess I feel that everyone should enjoy the outdoors. Blacks have excelled in sports, so why haven't they taken to the slopes?

I am drawn to the mountains Winter or Summer. I wonder why me and not others. I find nothing more wonderful than to climb up into the wild snows of Mt. Rainier and get a sense of something truely wild. I call it the death zone because nothing lives up there, but I get a sense of my own life there. Perhaps it is just where we happen to find our bliss.
post #2 of 21
I don't think snowboarding's culture developed on its own. I think its basis developed naturally in the '70's with non-competitive skateboarding and non-competitive freestyle skiing and was marketed to snowboarders after a lot of market research.
post #3 of 21
For me the mountains are a lifestyle. I was born in them, grew up in them and still and always will live in them, ski in them, hike in them, bike in them, fish and hunt in them. Mountain culture really is what living here is all about.
....I sound like a hippy :
I guess the answer to your question is yes. Skiing is definitly the staple for me in the winter, so it would be a subculture.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferniefreeheels
For me the mountains are a lifestyle. I was born in them, grew up in them and still and always will live in them, ski in them, hike in them, bike in them, fish and hunt in them. Mountain culture really is what living here is all about.
....I sound like a hippy :
I guess the answer to your question is yes. Skiing is definitly the staple for me in the winter, so it would be a subculture.
Hippies were pretty positive people, so good for you.
post #5 of 21
I think it's a subculture. This season seems to be proving that assertion -- while everyone else walks around with smiles on their faces due to the unseasonably warm weather in New England, the skiers are, shall we say, less than giddy! On the flipside, when it's cold and snowy most of the country goes into hibernation, whereas those in our subculture practically float out the door to enjoy the winter weather.

Skiing has its own lingo, mindset, traditions, heroes and villains. How many of us can spot a skier based on subtle cues such as clothing, lower leg muscles, goggle tan, etc.? Finally, we must note the difference between a skier and someone who skis. For those of us that are skiers, it's most definitely a subculture.
post #6 of 21
life is not a beach, it's a mountain.
post #7 of 21

skiing subculture

as far as the skiers subculture I'd argue that in general the people who do ski are too diverse to be lumped together, or maybe there are two subculture, those that take ski vacations, maybe ski 1-15 days/year and those who live in/near ski towns (those who ski 50+ days/yr, have passes, etc). In our household, we make no weekend/day off plans that do not involve skiing nov-april, get all household projects out of the way before turkey day, pretty much tell people "see you in april!" I have friends who incomprehensively plan trips to the islands (during ski season!!), maybe ski a few days at a local area and plan one or two major trips.
I agree with ferniefreeheels about loving the mountains and all the activities that go with them. Used to work for the sierra club, support what are generally considered "environmental issues", but I know of many skiers (NOT friends but acquaintences!) who do not backpack, do not really participate in other mountain activities, support a lot of ski area development, (more high end condos, ritzy base areas: )
I dunno, yeah we all love being out on the snow but I'm not sure I feel in the same "tribe" as all other people clicking in on the mountain. I guess I could be persuaded but think we are a pretty diverse bunch!!
post #8 of 21
I don't think of skiing as a subculture. I certainly ski every weekend and take several ski vacations. I will probably ski around 50 days this year, even with the pathetic winter we are having. But I don't feel like I am part of any subculture or select group.

Mountain bikers are the same. Many like to think that they are part of a subculture. But that is simply human nature to establish some differences and to try to feel unique and special.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by montana mags
there are two subculture, those that take ski vacations, maybe ski 1-15 days/year and those who live in/near ski towns (those who ski 50+ days/yr, have passes, etc). In our household, we make no weekend/day off plans that do not involve skiing nov-april, get all household projects out of the way before turkey day, pretty much tell people "see you in april!" I have friends who incomprehensively plan trips to the islands (during ski season!!), maybe ski a few days at a local area and plan one or two major trips.
I agree that there is more than one tribe, maybe even several, and I totally agree with you on the above. . . people who plan winter trips to the islands (if they live near the mountains in the West, anyway) are NUTS. My husband loves the tropics, but I seem to have turned him. Last winter trip to anywhere tropical was about 6 years ago, when we were required to attend a family reunion in Hawaii.

I think I am part of the greater ski culture and part of a subculture that involves lots of hiking and snowshoeing and fly fishing as well. Just the mountain lifestyle. I identify my *tribe* as the folks who wear lots of clothes that do double-duty and would work equally well in a tent and a ski hill. Aside from ski pants (which don't always fit me so well, so I have to buy what fits), I buy layers with an eye towards all sorts of outdoor activities. . . and I have been eyeing another *subculture*. . . The Telemarkers. They're my heros. . . maybe one of these days I'll defect to their bandwagon.

Mollmeister
post #10 of 21
I think that there is a palpable subculture to any sport that 'defines' a person. You see it alot of times in outdoor sports, people who personify what that sport is, you see it when the media starts targeting marketing campaigns toward a 'type' of person, see it in the car ads that feature skiiers, climbers, surfers.

I just recently became a 'skiier' (or is that 'one who skis'...heh) but I definitely think there is a subculture there, albeit it may look different in Pennsylvania vs. Colorado. I oftentimes play a fun mental game with myself when I'm bored and am people watching. I try and figure out what type of person someone is. I honestly think I can look at some people and say "climber", "skiier", "thru-hiker" (hell, with all that facial hair, how can you NOT identify one of them?) and "snowboarder". Now, there are some times when people do not "look like a ____" and those are the coolest people. Like that nice old lady you're sitting next to on the train, who knew that she can rip on the double blacks? Or that CEO of the company that wears Gucci suits, that before he entered the corporate world he took a summer off to travel around the West and lived out of the back of his truck?
post #11 of 21

impressed

It has recently come to me how much dedication many skiers have. Living in modest means far from a ski area. Ski lovers! I have it easy. The area is close by. The kids love to ski and it's easy to get them there. There is even free public transportation. The patrol get's me up there even when I might have "other things to do". The expense goes down with the awareness of available opportunities.

Jeesh A "subculture" Perhaps even a life style.

What ever, It's good!

Now if it would just snow!

CalG
post #12 of 21
Hard to believe that a simple question on a forum can make me think so much. And the real question is...why?
I have so many interests in my life, so answering this question made me question if all of my interests(or my husband's interest for that matter).

He is into Enduro Motorcycling more than anything, snowmobiling, skiing, waterskiing.
I'm into Downhill skiing more than anything but love mountain biking, boating, volleyball.
So....as much as these interests throw us into our specific groups of friends while we participate in those activities...are we part of multiple sub cultures?

This brought one other thought to mind.....When you ski, do you do it with a friend that you do other things with or is it just your ski buddy?
My friend I ski with also mountain bikes with me while her husband and son dirt bike with my husband.

As I go over our list of interests I recognize that Snow Skiers, enduro riders, snowmobilers and mountain bikers definitely live in a world all their own. The others are just interest we enjoy.

I waaaaaay "over thought" this one and now my brain hurts!
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
I don't think of skiing as a subculture. I certainly ski every weekend and take several ski vacations. I will probably ski around 50 days this year, even with the pathetic winter we are having. But I don't feel like I am part of any subculture or select group.

Mountain bikers are the same. Many like to think that they are part of a subculture. But that is simply human nature to establish some differences and to try to feel unique and special.
well said Tom!
post #14 of 21
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm hoping the groundhog sees his shadow today. Does this make me a bad person?
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd
I guess this should be two questions:

- Is snowboarding a subculture?
- Is skiing a subculture?
Yes, skiers are a subculture. But the trouble is with the term "subculture". It's too easy -- just another label. Hell, rear-entry Salomon ski boot wearers are a subculture. So are Subaru drivers. So are 29" / singlespeed / rigid (pick any combination) mountain bike riders.

A passion for skiing and boarding cuts deeper -- much, much deeper. And it has nothing to do with what piece of equipment is strapped to one's feet, but everything to do with one's appreciation and addiction for sliding down the mountain, and how frequently their thoughts are consumed with sliding down said mountain (even when they're nowhere near snow). Work: skiing. Shower: skiing. Bed: skiing.

It is unfortunate that none of my friends are anywhere near as preoccupied with skiing as I. Some are skiers. Some are boarders. A few are quite good at it. But none are inflicted with "Skier" as a medical condition. They are nonetheless skiers and boarders, and in their own circle of friends back home are looked upon as part of that skier subculture.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merriam Webster
an ethnic, regional, economic, or social group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society
Like a lot of dictionary definitions, it works for concision at the expense of being a bit too broad.

In normal usage, I think for some group to be called a "subculture," (i) it needs to be fairly dramatically distinguished from the "embracing culture," and (ii) it can't be too small or isolated. That is: it has to be "different" enough that it's mysterious to the uninitiated, and also big enough and widespread enough to be worthy of attention by the embracing culture. Without the former, people who like to watch "ER" would be a subculture; without the latter, the kids at a particular Junior High School would be a subculture.

Skiers (and snowboarders, for that matter) generally aren't sufficiently distinct, in my mind, to be a subculture. Surfers, on the other hand, are.

Some subgroups might be a subculture (backcountry skiers, e.g.), but I think its a close call. Depending on how you describe the group, it's going to either wind up being indistinct or not that significant to the culture as a whole.
post #17 of 21
In a general sense no. The world of skiing is far too diffuse across different countries and sub pursuits of skiing. One might just consider the more long term enthusiasts that ski a lot each year. There might be the racers, the moguls skiers, the freestylers, the recreational groomer lovers, the resort working skiers, the ski town homeowners etc. Although freestylers in the USA West will share a fair amount with others say in the French Alps, there is far too much else devisely separating anything one could label "culture". Thus one might say all of us skiers share various elements of culture with others to use the term sub culture is going too far because the term necessarily means something more coherent. Now if one were instead narrowing from general skiing to say just the freestyle culture in the North American West, I'd say one is getting closer.

...David
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd

I meet extremely few black folks in the mountains and I don't see them on the ski slope and I worry about that. I guess I feel that everyone should enjoy the outdoors. Blacks have excelled in sports, so why haven't they taken to the slopes?
.
http://www.skimag.com/skimag/fall_li...327626,00.html

Here's an article on blacks & skiing.

There are a few African Americans who are stationed at Hill Air Force Base near Snowbasin, decide they like it here & stay.

When I lived in Rose Park (west of downtown SLC), my state assemblyman was African American.

Someday, one of their kids is going to make it to an Olympic/World Cup/X Games podium.

Same thing with some of the kids of my Latino neighbors in West Valley City.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSLFan
http://www.skimag.com/skimag/fall_li...327626,00.html

Here's an article on blacks & skiing.

There are a few African Americans who are stationed at Hill Air Force Base near Snowbasin, decide they like it here & stay.

When I lived in Rose Park (west of downtown SLC), my state assemblyman was African American.

Someday, one of their kids is going to make it to an Olympic/World Cup/X Games podium.

Same thing with some of the kids of my Latino neighbors in West Valley City.
Thanks for the article... it explains a lot.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruxpercnd
Thanks for the article... it explains a lot.
I almost hit a Polynesian guy yesterday at Brighton. It would have a "50/50" collision, but we both stopped before we actually made contact.

Someday, there's going to be an Olympic and/or X Games podium and between the 3 girls/guys; there's only going to be 2 consonants between them.
post #21 of 21
Skiing is most definatly a sub culture. It has it's own language. It's own fashion.

For all the elitist stigma that skiing has and it's lack of minorities, I don't see it as racist as golf or tenis. I can't explain this or back it up with any raw data but I would say that the simple fact that the mountain doesn't care that your black. There is no judge, there are no country clubs to be admitted to. If you can afford ski rental and a lift ticket you can ski. While this may be an institutionalized racism, the fact still remains that it's - or at least it seems - open for anyone with the $$$.
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