Middle-aged Spread: The Ten Commandments of Skiing

By Sam Masters


1. In skiing, as in life, it’s always best to take the high traverse.

What Tony Robbins would say – if he skied like Henrik Harlaut. Self-improvement is always tedious, especially when an après-ski session beckons and lactic terrorists are grenading your quadriceps. The perfect traverse line to a fresh powder field, however, is the highest expression of human artistic endeavour; sensuous enough to make Caravaggio look like he painted by numbers.

2. Ski better than anyone who enjoys it more, but enjoy it more than anyone who skis better.

There is nothing more devastating to the enthusiast than hearing pro skiers and heliski guides whinge about their job. Don’t. Be. That. Guy.
Chill Alpine Features SamMasters Ten Commandmants of Skiing blatent product placement Webimage
3. You can have as many friends as you want on a powder day, if you always drop first.

Someone has to be the crash test dummy. This role is usually taken by whoever sets the most beautiful traverse (q.v.).

4. DIN settings reflect your commitment to the sport, and reconstructive knee surgery.

Surely there is no finer balancing act in modern life than setting your DIN on a powder day. The almost floral arrangement of ACL, MCL, cartilage, patella, tib, fib and femur provides a strong platform – just not as strong as a steel spring. There is a good reason why knee surgeons can afford to pay their heli ski guide to search for a lost ski. On their private mountain range.
Chill Alpine Features SamMasters Ten Commandmants of Skiing DIN shocker Webimage2
5. It’s always better to find deeper snow than buy skinnier skis.

The kids are all about “getting deeper into the snow”. The real question is: do you want to go deeper into the traverse track?

6. When powder skiing (or using inappropriate metaphors) don’t leave fish to find fish.

I always get a giggle watching tail-chasers traverse their way around the entire hill without ever really seeming to hit the fall line. The best powder snow at a NZ resort is pretty easy to find: try the high shady leeward facing slopes. Once found how much better do you really think it’s going to be on the other side of the resort?
Chill Alpine Features SamMasters Ten Commandmants of Skiing The ultimate traverse webimage
7. It is a Chill duty to poach other people’s photo shoots. Don’t explain, don’t apologize; they should have hired a helicopter if it’s that important.

Lots of people think they own the mountains. They mostly seem armed with drones, GoPros, SLRs and attitude.
Chill Alpine Features SamMasters Ten Commandmants of Skiing photo shoot webimage
8. If you’re queueing up on a powder day then you’re at the wrong resort.

Plainly you have let family, work and other commitments interfere with your quest for powder. Or you have failed to buy a Chill Pass.
Chill Alpine Features SamMasters Ten Commandmants of Skiing Nice queue webimage
9. Don’t be afraid to pluck the low hanging fruit; be it in a dive bar, a couloir or the boudoir.

Many people conditioned by the Protestant work ethic believe that un-deserved rewards are either rare or should be shunned on moral grounds. In skiing sometimes the goodness just drops into your lap. Don’t fight this phenomenon.

10. Repeat after me: “I pretty much rip.”

Visualisation is critical to continuous incremental improvement. Sidestep your 10,000 hours of deliberate practice by just thinking your way to excellence.

The Chill Pass

Chill Passes allow you to ski at up to 11 ski areas across the South Island. The flexibility to ski in the Waitaki, Mackenzie, Canterbury, Kaikoura and Nelson Lakes Districts is what makes the Chill Pass truly New Zealand's ultimate multi-mountain ski and snowboard pass. There are two types of passes, the Season Pass with unlimited access during the season, and the Travel Pass with a set number of clips for skiing and non-ski day options.