How To Not Look Like a Gaper

Gaper [gey-per] noun:
1. A skier or snowboarder who is completely clueless.
2. An acronym meaning Guaranteed Accident Prone on Every Run.

This evening, ladies and gentlemen, I offer a few pointers from a local which should not only make you more fashionable on the slopes, but also improve your overall skiing experience when you stay at The Antlers. Without further ado, Gray’s helpful hints:

Rule #1: No Jeans. Ever. I know Shaun White and the U.S. Snowboarding team just wore denim styled snowboard pants at the Olympics, but the jury is still out on these. If for some reason you must wear your Levi’s on the slope, at the very least, please do not tuck them into your boots.

Rule #2: Use courtesy when putting down the bar on the lifts. We understand that not everyone is comfortable riding without the safety bar down, but it makes for an awkward ride up when you crack the guy sitting next to you on the helmet before the chair has even left the lifthouse. Give everyone a few seconds to settle in and then ask, “Hey, do you mind if we put the bar down?”

Rule #3: When you tuck on a catwalk, be conscious of where poles are. If they’re in your armpits, chances are they’re pointing straight up to the sky and signaling to the entire mountain that you don’t know what you’re doing. This is known as a “texas tuck,” and it is not good form. Instead, cross your hands behind your back and your poles will remain in a neutral, ground-pointing direction. See the second gentleman in this photo for an example:

Rule #4: Mind your “Gaper Gap.” Good: You’re wearing a helmet. Bad: You’re feeling a draft across your forehead. Problem: You’ve got a gaper gap; a significant gap between your helmet (or hat) and goggles. Exposing your forehead to the elements can leave you both chilly and with a ridiculous sunburn. Solution: Wear a headband or hat under your helmet, pull you helmet down or push your goggles up, or bring your helmet when you buy a new pair of goggles to make sure they sync up well and vice-versa.

Classic Gaper Gap (image courtesy

Rule #5: Surprisingly, one-pieces and neon colors are in. Leave the cowboy hat and Starter jackets at home and break out the green and pink jacket with the purple pants. If anyone questions you tell them you’re being “ironic” and you should be in the clear.

Rule #6: Most importantly, have fun. Break every one of these rules, if you feel like it. If you wanna ski in jeans a cowboy hat, do it. This takes precedence over every other rule. Except rule #2. Please, please, please give me a heads up before you drop the safety bar on my leg.


Posted in Vail Ski Report, Snow and Vail Ski Conditions and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Have got to also add in the lift lines. It’s called alternating! Just because your friends are in line in front of you and you’re having a conversation does not mean you can skip alternating with the line next to you. And if you don’t know what I mean, you’re probably a GAPER!

  2. Great Blog! Another addition to Lift Line Rules…. If those friends in front of you that you are talking to; Are in the “singles lane” with you… You’re ALL GAPERS!…

  3. To add; Please do not make turns on the catwalks!! They are not fast to begin with, just us a wedge to slow down and look behind you if you need to change direction. Also do not make erratic turns when crusing down the slopes. If you need to make this move, please again, look over your shoulder. Thanks

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