Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beware the Snow Snake!

How many times has this happened to you?  You're skiing along making good turns, feeling confident, and then suddenly you're on your butt, or face-planting into the snow, or sliding on your back scattering equipment down the slope.  What just happened?  You may have had an encounter with the scourge of skiers everywhere - the dreaded snow snake.

"What is a snow snake?" you ask.  The skier's dictionary defines a snow snake as a "invisible, malevolent creature whom skiers blame for causing their falls."  Anytime you have a wipeout, and the reason is not readily apparent, it may very well be due to a snow snake grabbing your skis.  

Any place there are skiers, the snow snakes lurk.  They tend to concentrate themselves on the beginner runs of most ski resorts.  Chairlift loading and unloading areas are another favorite hideout.  However, these creatures can be found anywhere on the slopes, from green, to blue, to black diamond trails.  Deep powder days or warm, sunny spring conditions tend to produce higher than average snow snake incidents.  And snow snakes especially love to hang out wherever the resort photographer is set up.

The aftermath of a snow snake encounter

I seem to have a knack for finding the snow snakes on a mountain.  I've had many a spectacular face plant or yard sale (one even drew applause from people on the lift!)  Of course these falls were not due to my skiing abilities (or lack thereof) but had to be caused by a snow snake shenanigan. 

A couple of years ago, a young man from Ireland joined our ski bus.  He was working temporarily in the US for six months, and was trying to experience all he could of our American culture.  One day, this guy was riding the lift with myself and two of my bus friends.  I was telling my friends about a big wipeout I'd had on a prior run, and blamed my biff on a snow snake.  The Irishman's eyes widened.  He began frantically scanning the ground below us.  Then in a trembling voice he cried  "There are snakes here?"  After my friends and I stopped laughing, we explained to the man the truth about snow snakes.  (Of course, it would have been more fun to keep him in the dark!)

So my friends, ski with care, and keep an eye out as you travel down the slopes.  But next time you find yourself unexpectedly face-planted in the snow, it may not be your fault.  BLAME IT ON THE SNOW SNAKE!


  1. Ha, ha! I've been nabbed by snow snakes myself. Now I have something to officially blame for my falls.

  2. Great pics Linda! Yours is one email message I never delete... at least not before viewing the pics and reading your comments. I'm not troubled by snow snakes. They don't seem to hang out on my sidewalk. I can't wear skis while shoveling snow. So, unless I learn to ski, I think I'll be OK. Don in RCSD p.s. mom & dad are doing fine. I keep an eye on them for you.

  3. Linda, I looked at your GoPro video of your run (4 min no snake) Great video. After viewing I viewed a second video from the Canon Power Shot. It did not want to go away. I hope your video is still on your blog post. Sorry, Don in RCSD

  4. Hehe I would have fallen for "snow snake" story if I hadn't read this :)


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