The Strange World Of Skiing Superstitions

Dylan Craig |
skiing superstitions
What skiing superstitions do you follow? Photo Credit: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

If you grew up in a region that received snow, you’re probably familiar with the multitude of skiing superstitions. Whether it was wearing your pajamas inside out or flushing ice cubes down the toilet, every kid had their preferred method of playing with fate to force a snow day. Skiers, however, have taken snow superstitions to the next level.

A common superstition in the skiing world is the refusal to call the last run, as doing so can apparently heighten your risk of getting injured. Many around the country have also adopted the habit of burning old skis to summon Ullr, the Nordic god of snow. This tradition is especially connected to Telluride, Colorado. According to Outside Magazine, the Telluride tradition of burning skis to summon snow started in the 1980s after a dry spell.

“Telluride, a quiet resort town of 2,300 nestled in the San Juans, has hosted burns a few times each ski season since the 1980s, when poor snowpack pushed a group of animated women called the Epoxy Sisters to take matters into their own hands. The ceremony lives on three decades later…”

However, burning modern skis results in the combustion of some nasty chemicals, so it’s recommended that wooden skis be burnt instead. When famed director Quentin Tarantino filmed “The Hateful Eight” in Telluride, the town was facing a dry spell that hampered filming since the movie’s plot was centered around a blizzard. Tarantino found out about the tradition and organized a ski-burn. The next weekend, Telluride received 29 inches of snow, giving the movie the proper landscape it needed.

skiing superstitions
“The Hateful Eight” star Samuel L. Jackson participating in the Telluride ski-burn. Photo Credit: Hannah Weinberger

Since G.N.A.R’s release, pole whacking has become an iconic sight on the mountain, and at this point, some would argue that it’s a superstition to ensure a smooth line. Personally, dropping a cornice without pole-whacking it first makes me feel exposed and uneasy. Clicking ski poles together before starting a run is another frequent sight on the mountain that’s regarded as superstition by many, but one could also argue that pole whacking and pole clacking are more traditions than a superstition.

skiing superstitions
“If nobody is there to see you getting rad, are you really getting rad at all?” Photo Credit: Ben Hogan

The drive to your local ski area might also have a “silent rock”. On the drive up, a certain rock just off the road is deemed the “silent rock”, and if you make any noise whatsoever (including playing your music) while driving past this rock, you’re bound to have a bad/painful day on the hill. This tradition apparently began at Mt. Hood in the 1980s but has gradually spread to other ski areas around North America. Many passionately swear by the power of Mt. Hood’s silent rock.

A personal superstition of mine: If I don’t put my right boot/right glove/right pole on first, I’m gonna have a rough time. What are some of your skiing superstitions?


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6 thoughts on “The Strange World Of Skiing Superstitions

  1. “Telluride, a quiet resort town. When was that? Telluride has now become an over hyped, over promoted, over-run, completely ruined American mountain town. Like all American mountain towns.

  2. “Telluride, a quiet resort town. When was that? Telluride is now just another over-hyped, over-promoted, over-run American mountain town that’s too crowded to be any fun any longer. The real locals are highly depressed these days because Tride is screwed.

  3. I click my poles together before a run because sometimes there is snow build-up on the baskets.

  4. I’ll almost never call a last run, not because I’m worried I’ll get hurt, but because you never really know it’s the last run ‘till you’re done! There’s always time for just one more. (Right until they won’t let you back on the chair, anyway.)

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