Having recently taken up snowboarding, having only previously skied, I’ve noticed a number of similarities from when I started to cycle having previously only driven.
What most motorists who have never cycled don’t appreciate is the amount of space to give cyclists. The fact that they have just built up some momentum and would rather not have to hit the brakes, the fact that there may be potholes in the cycle lane (and don’t get me started on the state of cycle lanes!) so they might have to deviate out of it for a second. The fact that they dont have wing mirrors so are less aware of what is behind them.
Once you’ve cycled in a big city, you will never drive the same way. You will always be on the look out for cyclists, aware of their space and movements, and – although controversial – will understand if they run the odd red light or two.
Same goes for snowboarding and skiing.
What skiers fail to understand is that a snowboarder generally has a blindspot. They’re facing down the mountain by looking over one shoulder, so anything behind them is invisible. A skier might argue that they should turn their head and look across the slope – which is fine, but assuming you’re not an owl and can’t turn your neck 180 degrees, if you turn to look, you’ll turn your board and if someone is right behind you, you will turn into them.
Snowboarders also need to stay high on the slope and are more at the mercy of the camber than skiers.
Just like motorists have an engine to get them up a hill from a standing start, whereas cyclists need some momentum and space to weave the bike from side-to-side slightly – so skiers have poles to get them moving on the flat, whereas snowboarders need speed and space to switch from toe-to-heel edge (and if they’ve almost ground to a halt a little pull on a ski pole goes down a treat!)
So now that I have boarded, whenever I am skiing I always give snowboarders room, I never ride into their blindspot, I always give way to them on the flat, or allow them to take the higher part of the slope, and I make sure I move off down the slope a little when getting off the lift, rather than stand around in a ski-gang – which is like a brick wall to a snowboarder trying to get off a lift.
So rather than get angry at the cyclist weaving in and out of traffic or the snowboarder who maybe didn’t see you, have a little understanding for the challenges the other half face.