14 things that will surprise Aussies skiing in the USA

Humans are odd and the world is too. If you’re skiing in the USA some things are odder than others. Just like Australia’s Vegemite, ‘yeah nah’ and property prices, the USA have their own foibles too.

Here are 14 of them.

Bread is cake

No, really, it is. Bread will taste like cake. Because. Sugar.

The internet is king

Fast internet. That’s enough for any Australian to visit America, right there. Add free internet almost everywhere and feel free to sob.

Compulsive Disclosure Disorder is real

Yes, I made that disorder up but I’m claiming it under trademark because it’s true. Give an American oxygen and they will tell you their life story. I love this about the USA, it makes for an interesting travel journey and you do get to chat to more people. Sit alone in a cafe and the person next to you will start randomly talking to you, about, them. It’s like being in a permanent Oprah show, or Jerry Springer depending on the geographical state you’re in. Chairlift rides are even more fun for this reason. You get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car.

Pissed fannies

Fanny means bum (not front bum) and pissed means angry (not drunk). Use these incorrectly at your own peril.

The price is not right

You know that price tag you see hanging from that clothing item you are coveting. Well, that’s not the price. When you get to the counter it will be more. VAT tax is their GST tax, only they don’t include it in the price, they add it after, at the counter.

Bar up

I have been doing a sereptitious survey every time I get on a chairlift in the USA. I count how many seconds it takes before someone doesn’t put the bar down. Then I announce I am going to put it down, then I ask them why they didn’t think to. The answers vary but most say “only beginners put the bar down” and I mention how I have graduated from pizza pie to French fry. Then I point out how many people fell off chairlifts last winter and how many died doing so. At this stage most want to push me off the chairlift and I’m thankful that the bar is, well, down.

Red lights mean nothing

You can turn right on a red light. Any time, any where. So long as you give way, of course. One of the joys of driving on the right hand side in the USA.

Petrol is gas and you will want to take it home

The first time I filled my tank with petrol, sorry, gas, I almost cried. $25, that’s all I had to hand over for a full tank of gas. Twenty. Five. Dollars. If I could have bought five tanks at once I would have.

Take a stash of first borns

While many things in the USA are cheaper than home (see above), lift prices for one day at the window will require you to hand over your first born. So take a stash of them or get yourself a multi resort pass, way cheaper. WAAAAY cheaper.

You will have to tip, don’t argue about it

Australians aren’t known for their generous tipping style. So, please, for the love of the tipping gods, just hand over your extra 20% so I don’t have to cop the abuse when servers hear my Aussie accent. You don’t tip based on how good or bad the service is here, you just tip regardless. Best to suck it up and adapt to the culture of the country you are a visitor in. When Americans come to Australia they have to put up with swear words as terms of endearment so tipping really is a small price to pay in international relations.

They want you out, quickly

Thanks to a tipping culture (see above), servers (see below) in cafes will want you out as soon as you’ve sat down. There is more money to be made if you turn tables over more quickly. This doesn’t make for a welcoming experience and ‘have a nice day’ as you leave then seems insincere because neither of you is really wishing it for the other. So, don’t be surprised if you get the bill on your table before you’ve even taken your first bite of your meal.

You will do the service dance

You will be asked, again, before you’ve taken your first bite or while mid bite on your first bite “how everything is”. Someone in some server training land decided that it makes good service to consistently ask your customers how their food and experience is, without wanting an honest answer. It’s a dance, they come to you as you are munching, ask how the food is, you say it’s great even if it isn’t, because you want them to go away and let you linger over your meal, which they never will (see above).

Hot chocolate is art

You’re not in a ski town unless you can get a meal in a Bloody Mary, hot chocolate that is literally art and can make your own s’mores by a fireside.

Uggs are fashion

This will truly horrify every Australian who keeps their Ugg boots behind closed doors, as slippers for slouching around the house. Eegads, these people wear them in public.

What foibles do you love or loathe about the USA, Australia or abroad?

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017, a former columnist for Mountainwatch and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.

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