Skiing for Idiots

Jake Christie
9 min readJan 17, 2020

Learn how to stop eating it like an amateur and start schussing like a star

Skiing, once seen as a sport enjoyed exclusively by the rich, has evolved into a popular pastime with a much broader fanbase, welcoming the rich, semi-rich, and kids in school programs that get them hooked with all the subtlety of an opioid ring. Perhaps you’ve been bitten by the “ski bug”* and want to get out on the trails with your local friends and/or WASPs!

*also known as alpine illness, downhill disease, mountain malady and “carver’s lament”

Stuck on where to begin? Don’t worry, moron – it’s actually surprisingly easy to get started. Let me guide you through the basics.


If you want to hit the slopes, you’re going to need skis with bindings; boots; and poles. This “holy trinity” of gear works in tandem to keep you sliding down the hill, attach your boots to your skis, provide balance and stability, and remove thousands of dollars from your wallet.


Browsing skis online or at a ski shop, you may feel overwhelmed by choices, but here’s the secret ski manufacturers don’t want to to know: all skis are exactly the same. You may think that skis come in different shapes and lengths, but this is an optical illusion. Every ski is 170 cm long, curved slightly on the sides, and deep mauve in color. Just pick a pair you can afford and you’ll be fine.


For much of the sport’s history, skiers attached their feet to skis with leather straps or cables; it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that these “cable bindings” were replaced with “safety bindings,” which eject the skier in case of a crash. Modern bindings are much safer, and require special boots that snap into place. These hard plastic ski boots, based on the designs of the Spanish Inquisition, serve the dual purpose of keeping your feet stable and slowly removing all feeling from them. Find the right fit by looking at your normal shoe size, pounding your foot repeatedly with a hammer, then picking boots that replicate that sensation.