Connections on the Snow: How to Find Snowboarding FriendsPublished on 06/20/2023 · 11 min readSnowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast shares his tried-and-true methods for making snowboarder friends so you can keep the stoke levels high all day on the mountain!
It’s a crisp cold morning in the middle of winter. You just arrived at a ski resort you’ve never been to before, and you’re pumped! But as you look around you notice something, everyone seems to have a friend or two that they’re riding with, everyone except you.
While hitting the slopes on a bluebird day is a wonderful feeling, it can get a little lonely after a while if you’re taking your laps alone. Most people would agree that having some shred buddies or a crew of shred buddies to ride with is a much better time. If you're a beginner, having someone around to help encourage you and be your own instructor can be great, too. The fact is, winter sports are a great way to meet new people. Having someone to ride with can make a bad day on the slopes (no such thing exists) into a good day on the slopes. This is exactly why I’m going to give you some tried-and-true methods for making snowboarder friends so you can keep the stoke levels high all day on the mountain!
On the Mountain
The easiest and quickest way to find some friends to ride with is by going to the place where boarders spend most of their time in the winter: ski resorts! As soon as you arrive, the opportunity is there, especially during traditional vacation weeks (there are several based around the holidays and holiday weekends in December, January, and February; just be sure to check online for blackout dates) when the mountains are crowded. Talk to someone about their setup while waiting in line. Be nice, of course. No one has ever made new friends by telling strangers that their gear is trash. Depending on what ski resort you’re riding at, lines can easily be 10 or more minutes which is more than enough time to have a genuine conversation with someone. Even if they don’t invite you to go do some groomer laps then and there, you become a familiar face which may well lead to a friendship down the road!
If you’re feeling extra bold, hop in the singles line and see who you end up with on the chairlift! Now, this may sound like a nightmare to some people (stuck next to a stranger on the lift? No thanks!), but it’s one of the best ways to meet other people who are also riding/skiing alone that day. It isn’t overly difficult to find things to make conversation; just talk about what you’re both there to do. There are plenty of people out on the mountain who could spend hours talking about the various aspects of it, so filling the timespan of a lift ride shouldn’t be too hard. Who knows, you may even have a newfound homie by the time you unload at the top.
Other great places to meet fellow riders to make friends include the terrain park and the top of the mountain/lift. Boarders will often congregate at the top of the park while they wait their turn to hit a rail, kicker, or lay down some tricks in the halfpipe. Similarly, at the top of the mountain/lifts, you will often see boarders sitting down and strapping in while they let their ski friends bicker over which trail on the map is the one they should do. Head to these areas and see if you can start your own "board meeting" of sorts (gotta love puns!).
Lastly, take a look at some of the other areas on the mountain. If there is a tubing park, go snow tubing! Check out the rental shop and ask other patrons/guests about their equipment. Join school groups (if applicable). Many off-mountain ski shops will run group outings in addition to equipment rentals. They can be your one-stop shop for lift tickets, boards, boots, etc., and usually give some kind of group pricing discount since you are technically part of a larger group.
I’ve included some of my favorite conversation starters below—feel to use, modify, and draw inspiration from them!
“What kind of board is that?”
“How do you like that board/bindings/boots?”
“Do you know any good boards/bindings/boots for (insert preferred terrain here)?”
“Is this your local mountain?”
"Where's the best place on the mountain to go for a first-timer?"
“What’s your favorite trail on this mountain?”
“Are there any other good places to ride around here?”
"Where else have you skied/boarded this winter season?"
"I like your helmet/pants/jacket/poles/etc. Where did you purchase them?"
"Do you recommend making reservations at a particular place to end the day at?"
“Do you have any advice for (insert snowboard trick question)?”
Another tactic to meet new people is to attend snowboard classes or clinics. There are all kinds of lessons available. Many resorts offer registration for private lessons, group lessons, full-day lessons, and hour lessons. If you’re newer to snowboarding and still dialing in the basics, hop in a snowboard lesson if you can! A common struggle is one of the most surefire ways that people connect and bond—especially if that struggle is something like trying to master your toe turns without face-planting! Many mountains will offer group lessons, and it's an easy way to find other snowboarders with similar skill levels. I've even become friends with instructors who are always happy to take a lap between shifts/classes.
Even if you’re more of an advanced-level rider, there are plenty of classes and clinics out there you could attend and still get something out of. This could be a more advanced, specialized lesson for something like terrain park riding, or it could be a brand clinic where you get to demo different snowboard models. Either way, the concept is the same: you get the opportunity to connect with people who are there for the same reasons you are and likely have similar interests. Strike up a conversation about these interests, and before you know it, you might have a new snowboarding buddy!
At the Local Watering Hole
For those of you who are of legal drinking age, local bars are a prime location to meet new friends after a long day at the mountain. Typically this works best in “ski towns” where most, if not all, of the locals are certified “ski bums.” The lodge is also a great place to find a bar to meet friends and exchange stories of the day's adventures and snow conditions. This is not to encourage drinking, but oftentimes people do feel more confident talking with strangers after a beer or two. Happy hour is the best time to go because the bars have more people to talk to. Same with the Après scene where skiers and riders will kick back for a cold beer after a long day shredding the pow. If you’re comfortable with it, swing by a bar and see if you can’t score some plans to go ride the mountain the next day with some newfound friends!
If you’re really invested in the idea of making lots of snowboarder friends, you could always get a job at a ski resort for the winter. This is what I did several years ago, and because of this, I've met some of my best friends who I ride with each and every winter! Oftentimes, many of the employees of a ski resort are avid riders or skiers themselves who are drawn there because of the appeal of a free season pass, lunch break laps, and full immersion into the lifestyle. While it’s not likely that every single one of your co-workers is a die-hard enthusiast, chances are you’ll meet quite a few people who are down to take a quick lap on a lunch break or even meet up on their days off to come ride the mountain with you! Cheers!
The Digital Era
Sometimes the idea of going out and trying to meet people in real life can be a little intimidating. If that sounds about right for you, there is one last option: the internet. While the ideas discussed earlier in this article might be more direct and earn you a new friend right then and there, the internet should not be ignored as a viable resource to meet other snow bros and snow bunnies.
There are a plethora of forums and chats dedicated to finding skiers/snowboarders to ride with and while you might not have a ton of luck finding people on that one Reddit forum from 6 years ago, there are plenty of active Facebook groups out there. For example, Killington Ski Resort (a mid-sized ski resort in Vermont) has a Facebook group with nearly 10,000 members—that’s 10,000 potential friends. Another great Facebook group to look into is a carpool group for people in your area that like to hit the slopes while reducing their carbon footprint. Make a post asking if anyone wants to ride next Saturday and you’ll more than likely have a few takers.
If Facebook groups aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to find people to ride with through the internet. One of the easiest ways is to just post that you’re looking for people to snowboard with on your favorite social media app, be it Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. Chances are, someone will see that post and be down to ride. Alternatively, if you’re following lots of local riders, there will probably be a time when they make a post asking if anyone wants to ride—seize this opportunity!
One last place to meet other snowboard enthusiasts is in the comments section of your favorite snowboarders. Stars like Shaun White, Jeremy Jones, and Mark McMorris have huge followings online and will have tons of people chatting below their photo captions. Even the mountains/resorts will have social media accounts (i.e. Mammoth, Sunday River, Vail, etc.). These accounts are great for finding people who will be frequenting the mountains you frequent. Join in the conversation and see if you can make some friends there!
Below is a list of the best places to meet other snowboarders online and a bit about them:
Facebook Facebook offers many different snowboarding groups that you can join to meet new people to ride and Après with. Looking for local carpool groups or groups that revolve around mountains you frequent are some of the best ones to join. It's a lot harder to make a snowboarding buddy when you need to take a multi-hour flight to ride together!
Instagram Similar to Facebook, Instagram can be a great place to meet new snowboard friends. The comment section in particular is great for conversing with new faces who also enjoy shredding. Like Facebook, it's recommended to try and meet people through the accounts of mountains you like to go to or go to often. Searching hashtags is another great way to discover posts and accounts you might want to follow. For example, searching "#IceCoast" may help you find people that like to frequent mountains on the East Coast (also known as the Ice Coast). Follow those accounts and see who else is commenting about the conditions and favorite trails!
Reddit While Reddit can be a great place to learn about the hottest meme stocks, it's even better to find forums of people that share similar interests. You can find groups that just want to talk about the latest gear drops, groups that talk Olympic games, and groups that are interested in the same mountains. Search the platform for groups that like the same things about snowboarding as you. You'll be surprised how many you can find.
SkiBuds This is a great app that you can download right to your phone and start meeting new people who also have the app. Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, SkiBuds is a digital meeting ground for people looking to ride together, carpool, or Après together. You can post pictures and view other users' stories as well. But that's not all! You can check out snow and weather conditions for all your favorite mountains, too, right from the same app!
Side note: When meeting up with someone from the internet, please use common sense. Meet the person/people in a public place first and trust your gut!
Finally, if you’ve tried your best to go make new friends and it's just not working, don’t sweat it—embrace the solo day of snowboarding! Although I love riding with friends, I also cherish the days when I get to take solo laps. There’s no waiting around for anyone else, you get to ride exactly what you want to ride without debate, and you can get to the mountain when you want and leave the mountain when you’re ready. Sometimes riding solo is great for those who consider themselves explorers. It’s just you, your snowboard, and the open mountain waiting to be discovered. Don’t worry, there’s always the next day to find some new friends!
For free, personalized advice and recommendations, reach out to a Snowboarding Expert here on Curated. Have fun with your new friends!