If you ski the Northeast more than occasionally, and you’re on Facebook more than occasionally, and you love skiing more than a normal amount, then you are probably a member of the Ski the East Facebook group.
If you’re not, then you should be. Ski The East is just for us. It is, in a ski world where anyone outside of the region thinks of the Northeast as an afterthought, our safe space. You can rave about that surprise inch of fresh on your 1,000-foot local bump, post a GoPro vid of your skis scraping Catskills boilerplate after a refreeze, or detail your 12-layer kit for surviving a twenty-below January Saturday. No one is going to wonder why you bothered. We get it, we get each other, in a way someone spoiled by 500-inch seasons and mountains the size of Rhode Island just can’t.
But the Ski the East Facebook group is also a great lurking ground to familiarize yourself with a few archetypes of Northeast skier. These characters are not necessarily exclusive to the East Coast, but they each represent some dimension of the region’s collective and unique constitution, attitude, outlook and shortcomings.
Here, in no particular order, are 10 people you meet on the Ski the East Facebook group. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
1) Everybody’s-A-Jerry Guy
For the uninitiated, a “Jerry” is a catch-all term used to describe someone who makes a faux pas of skiing etiquette, technique or fashion, or who is less good at skiing than they think they are. “Jerry” is the preferred epithet of many Ski-The-East-ers, and it can be deployed to crack on nearly anything. Ski in jeans? Jerry. Apply helmet stickers if you’re over the age of 10? Jerry. Ever been to Hunter Mountain or Mountain creek? Jerry. Interested in the best brand of hand or foot warmers? “Ohhhh, Jerry’s cold.” Wear rear-entry boots? Struggle with moguls? Want the safety bar lowered on a lift? Jerry. Jerry. Jerry.
You may think that an advanced or accomplished skier would be shielded from the Jerry label, but this is untrue. You see, in the pinball machine that is Everybody’s-A-Jerry Guy’s mind, a Jerry is less someone who can’t ski well than someone who does not ski the exact same terrain, in the exact same way, as they do. To see what I mean, simply post a screenshot from your ski tracker app documenting your latest 50,000-vertical-foot outing at Wildcat on Ski The East. “Whoa, look at all the rad glades that fukin Jerry missed.”
Is Everybody’s-A-Jerry guy a good skier? It’s hard to say for sure. With his total devotion to seeking and calling out Jerrys on the internet, it’s hard to see where he finds the time.
2) Vail Sucks Guy
Point out any shortcoming of the modern ski experience – lift lines, high day ticket prices, $10 beers – and Vail Sucks Guy will provide you with a detailed and nuanced explanation: Vail sucks. This is Vail Sucks Guy’s animating principle and universal explanation. Vail is the Disney of skiing. Vail’s mountains are all the same. Vail cares more about gourmet Frappuccino cheeseburgers than real, hardcore skiers. Skiers like him.
Never mind that Vail until recently owned only three of the 200 or so ski hills in the Northeast. Or that the contours and character of their mountains are as different as any random collection of mountains could be. Or that for the price of 4.5 walk-up day tickets at Vail Mountain, you can ski the entire Vail empire all season long. Vail Sucks Guy doesn’t want to hear it. If you don’t understand why a company that invests tens of millions of dollars into their mountain infrastructure every season and offers an unlimited season pass to a dozen of the best mountains in North America and a bunch of smaller ski areas for less than $1,000 is a bad thing, then you are part of the problem.
Do you want Vail Sucks Guy to elaborate? Good luck. There are plenty of thoughtful critiques of Vail out there. They did not come from Vail Sucks Guy. You see, Vail Sucks Guy skied Stowe for 49 years before Vail came in and ruined everything. They cut the season pass price in half? So what? Now the place is just like Okemo, filled with Vail skiers and $25 bags of potato chips. Vail Sucks Guy knows “a lot” of people who have been screwed over by Vail. Vail Sucks Guy could tell you some stories. But he won’t. Instead, Vail Sucks Guy is just going to tell you that Vail sucks.
The thing is that Vail Sucks Guy actually has a point. As good as their mountains and pass are, most of us agree at least a little bit that parts of Vail’s business model sucks. The real problem with Vail Sucks guy is that you kind of get the feeling that he’s Everything Sucks Guy. And no one likes that guy.
3) Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy
You’re heading to Colorado and want to know what your fellow Ski-The-Easters think about Steamboat versus Snowmass for your family of four? You figure that the group members’ collective familiarity with your local mountains and conditions will give them a useful and informed opinion that will help match your tastes with these far-off destinations. Well, Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy has a question for you: Can you read? The group is called “Ski The East.” Not “People Who Live In The East And Ski Out West.”
Frankly, Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy says, this is getting out of control. Nobody in this group of 16,000 ski enthusiasts gives a damn about Jackson Hole or Big Sky. Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy has emailed the admins, and they agree with him that something needs to be done here. What would happen, after all, if Facebook were to discover that a group of people were veering wildly off topic from the stated subject of their group? This is unacceptable.
Every once in a while, someone will remind Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy how the internet works, and that he can just skip the parts he doesn’t like. But Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy will have none of it. What don’t you get, he asks, about following the group’s rules? “No posts that are not on topic with Ski The East or Eastern Skiing.” Look, he doesn’t want to argue. He is a chill guy in general, but he is just disappointed. He came here to hang out and read about East Coast skiing, and all of you are ruining it.
I want to assure Mad-You’re-Posting-About-Your-Trip-Out-West Guy that I would never do this. To prove my fidelity to East Coast skiing, I am posting this photograph that I took from the top of Killington’s K1 Gondola:
4) Looking For Bargains Guy
Looking For Bargains Guy is going to Stowe this weekend. The trip’s been planned since July, but he’s just now booking lodging. He’d like recommendations for someplace close to the mountain, preferably slopeside, with free parking, free wifi, free breakfast, free dinner, and a personal chef. In fact, does anyone know if Stowe rents out their gondola cabins to sleep in? That would be fucking sweet. If so, can he also rent one to store his car in while he skis?
Did he mention that he’s not willing to pay more than $50 a night for lodging? And to the guy who just posted, “When will you be arriving, 1983?” No, smartass, Looking For Bargains Guy did not just step through a wormhole in the space-time continuum. He’s just not some chump who overpays for things.
Speaking of overpaying, he just checked the website. Can you believe the price of lift tickets these days? Fucking Vail. I mean, this must be a typo – over $100 for a day of skiing? Does anyone have a hook-up on tickets? He’s not willing to pay more than $25 a day. He’ll totally pay you back with free bowling passes the next time you’re passing through Moultonborough.
5) Perfect Conditions Guy
It just snowed a foot at Jay Peak, and they’re expecting another six inches overnight. Perfect Conditions Guy wants to know if it’s worth the hour and a half drive from his house? He’s worried that the snow might be sticky toward the bottom of the mountain. Also, after last week’s refreeze, he’s concerned that the base layer at the bottom of all that powder might be a bit scratchy. Also, does anyone think it will be busy on a Saturday at Jay Peak following an 18-inch midwinter dump? Perfect Conditions Guy hates crowds.
Perfect Conditions Guy once skied Snowbird on a powder day when he was staying at the Cliff Lodge and the canyon was closed. It was like Christmas mixed with meth mixed with the Jets winning the Super Bowl. You can’t even imagine. Ever since, he’s been like the kid who gets a new Escalade for his 16th birthday, but then his family’s portfolio gets Madoff-ed and he has to downtrade to a Focus with cloth seats. To Perfect Conditions Guy, the whole Northeast is that Focus.
Perfect Conditions Guy thinks this sucks. He’s only skied five days so far and, since it’s already February, the season is winding down. Maybe he will chance it. If nothing else, he can complain about the conditions while telling everyone on the lift about his trip to Snowbird.
6) Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy
Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy starts a thread asking which trails his fellow Ski The East-ers think are the toughest in New England. You suggest Outer Limits at Killington. “Really?” Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy replies. “That’s Cute.” To be fair, he thought Outer Limits was challenging too. When he was 7.
You see, Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy does not really care which trails in the East you find the most challenging. Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy has skied all of them and he already knows the answer: none of them. Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy has been skiing since he was two months old and averages 115 days of skiing per year. He skied Tuckerman’s Ravine backwards and shirtless in cross-country skis in the blizzard of ‘78. Sound scary? Hardly. He fell asleep halfway down because he was so bored. And now he is going to tell you all about it, which was the real reason Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy posted this question. Looking-for-Advice-But-Not-Really Guy is not really looking for recommendations – he just wants to give you advice that you haven't been smart enough to ask for yet.
7) Etiquette Guy
Etiquette Guy was at Mt. Snow over the weekend, and can you believe this picture of all these skis left carelessly lying across the snow? Do these idiots not see the racks right there, built for exactly the purpose of stowing skis and snowboards upright, out of everyone’s way? Etiquette Guy has had enough of this. In fact, he stood out there for 20 minutes and gave some of these morons a piece of his mind. Then he went into the lodge and demanded to speak to the head of mountain ops, to ask why they don’t dedicate more resources to policing ski stowage behavior at one of the busiest resorts in the Northeast, which is flooded on weekends with novice bus skiers from New York and Boston who are probably just doing what they see everyone else doing and think it’s OK. Well, it’s not OK, and Etiquette Guy is going to keep agitating until this issue is resolved. Once. And. For. All.
Everybody’s-A-Jerry Guy loves posts by Etiquette Guy. Fish in a barrel. Look at all those fucking Jerrys, Jerrying up our hill with their Jerry ways. They’re probably from New Jersey. They probably wear winter jackets with sports team logos. They probably carry their boots and helmets inside of a bag that was not specifically designed to carry boots and helmets. Fucking Jerrys.
8) Snow Tires Guy
Snow Tires Guy wants you to know that he prepared for winter. He equipped his car with snow tires. Did you? Oh, you didn’t? Well, Snow Tires Guy is not mad at you, necessarily. But he is disappointed. And he has one question for you: can you please itemize which other basic vehicle maintenance tasks you have neglected, so that he can compensate for your reckless and irresponsible behavior as he shuttles himself and his passengers over the snowy roads of wintertime New England?
Snow Tires Guy is a more organized version of everyone’s suburban dad. Snow Tires Guy tunes his own skis. Snow Tires Guy mows his lawn every Thursday in the summertime. Snow Tires Guy upgrades his lightbulbs before they burn out. Snow Tires Guy prepped for 18 months in advance of Y2K. And we made it, no thanks to you.
Snow Tires Guy understands that not everyone is as organized, prepared, and, frankly, as intelligent as he is. But he wants you to know that you are ruining it for the rest of us. He also wants you to know that you’re a little bit stupid. Snow Tires Guy knows there’s nothing he can do to make you put snow tires on your car, though, and ultimately he feels a little bit sorry for you.
9) Just Ski Guy
Do you want to know what the best app is to track your ski day, or which is the best GoPro to buy? Just Ski Guy has an answer for you: “None of them! Just ski!” Why are you wasting everyone’s time with these skiing-related questions on this Facebook group devoted to skiing activity and culture? Just Ski Guy thinks it’s enough already. Just Ski Guy joined this group to post pictures of himself riding the Mad River Glen single chair in his Olin 210s, not cavort with people who hate skiing so much that they have to fiddle with their gadgets all day long.
Just Ski Guy does not accept this preposterous notion that you can simultaneously love skiing and love electronic devices that in some way document and allow you to partially relive that experience. Just Ski Guy, in fact, hates all technology. Just Ski Guy wishes it was still 1974, when skis were straight and helmets were for fighter pilots and football players. Just Ski Guy has had enough with the selfies and the apps and the internets. But is it fair to ask Just Ski Guy why he’s posting to Facebook when he hates technology so much?
10) Solid Green Circle Girl
Solid Green Circle Girl just skied for the first time at Mohawk Mountain, and she’s found her new obsession. Unlike the other archetypes here, everyone loves Solid Green Circle Girl. She is obsessed with what we are all obsessed with and wants to get better at it, but literally knows nothing, so she makes everyone feel useful. What do I wear? Where do I ski? How do I improve? Solid Green Circle Girl is everything that the Ski The East Facebook group is not: sweet, sincere, earnest, kind. Even the most cynical Everybody’s-A-Jerry Guy likes Solid Green Circle Girl, because even he knows that our sport needs new people loving it to survive.
But what about Solid Green Circle Guy? You won’t find him here, though he most certainly exists. He doesn’t need your advice, actually. Solid Green Circle Guy started skiing black diamonds on his very first day. He’s a natural. It just came to him. You’ll most often find him straight-lining Racer’s Edge at Hunter.
Oh, did you see that? He just had a collision. Some fucking Jerry was skiing too slow right in front of him!
To avoid the worst of these characters, I recommend the Northeast Skiology Facebook group, which is in general far more civil, and also includes excellent storm, weather, and conditions tracking of all major New York and New England ski areas.
The Storm Skiing Podcast is on iTunes. The Storm Skiing Journal publishes podcasts and other editorial content throughout the ski season. To receive new posts as soon as they are published, sign up for The Storm Skiing Journal Newsletter at skiing.substack.com. Follow The Storm Skiing Journal on Facebook and Twitter.