“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line”– Archimedes
“Skiing wiggles is like making love to a beautiful woman. You have to hit all the curves in just the right places”– Todd McSpraffy
While the belief that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line inspired skiers like Ian Macintosh and Dr. Rob Gaffney to place parallel tracks down seemingly impossible ski routes, ‘straight lines’ are a nuanced and niche form of skiing expression. If you ask any artist, writer, musician, or skier they will all tell you… Creativity is best composed through the arc. The turn. The curve. The Wiggle.
Whether intentional or not, wiggles span ski slopes across the world and their creation is both a phenomenon and a blessing.
Enter the Worker’s Wiggle at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. I first encountered the infamous “Workers Wiggle,” while working as a rental technician at Wildernest Sports. One frigid day in mid-February, I walked off the aerial tram and skied across the top of the Rendezvous Bowl in mid February and there it was.
What is this? Who did this? And Why?
Let’s start with the WHAT.
Wiggle (Verb): To move or go with short, quick, irregular movements from side to side
Ex: There was this little powder patch right at the bottom of Exhibition and I got my wiggle on for a few buttery turns this morning. It was rad.
Wiggle (Noun): (1) A circus ride without safety bars.
(2) A freewheeling hell on skis ride from purgatory to heaven that delivers only the most seasoned shredders to its pearly gates.
Ex: Did you see the wiggle on Rendezvous Bowl while riding the bus this morning? I bet you can see that shit from space!
Basically, the wiggle is a series of turns that link a starting point to a destination. A natural or “banked” slalom is often referenced when talking about wiggles, seeing as the gates are formed by a natural substance rather than plastic gates the skier must pass through.
The second question is WHO did this?
Sometimes it’s an anonymous feat. Such random acts of wiggling are consolidated and dictated by the terrain. In other cases, skiers band together, banking synchronized turns that eventually carve out natural banks. Whatever the case, the wiggle forms and begs for its flanks to be fondled and buttered. Mmmmmm.
And now the heart of the matter. The Why?
Why do we do it? Wiggling down a series of banked turns that cause injuries, humble egos, and deliver triumph to those brave enough to see the light at the end of this funky tunnel…
The answer is as old as the question itself and provides insight into why we ski. The wiggle is in its essence the combination of the founding elements of skiing.
The turn, the challenge, and the harmony. And those who master one of the these are on their way to dominating the wiggle.
For in the end, skiing wiggles (unlike powder skiing which is better) is the same as great sex. It involves rhythm, stamina, and flexibility. Therefore, those skiers who have mastered the wiggle have most likely mastered great sex as well. So don’t pull out, stay in there, and finish strong by airing out a Screamin Seamen.