The longer I ski the more I’m convinced that the entire activity of skiing is just a challenge devised to force people to control their bladders for an unreasonable amount of time, and then pee in weird and uncomfortable locations. It’s all just one long battle against urine.

Generally peeing and skiing only get talked about together when we’re discussing the shortcomings of outerwear designers who forget that some folks need to squat to pee. And while that is a very valid frustration, there’s more to it.

Anyone who lives more than a few minutes from a ski resort has an “I needed to pee so bad during the drive up story.” I lived three hours from the nearest resort, and we had a whole routine built around peeing. We had a favorite gas station exactly halfway between home and the hill, and every trip we’d pull into it with at least one passenger of the car crossing their legs and trying not to think of waterfalls. By the time we pulled into the resort, an hour and a half later, at least one more passenger would be leaping out of the car and hustling to the stand of trees near the parking lot to relieve themselves as fast as possible. Generally at least half the people in our party would have had an “I really gotta pee and this gaper from Florida is driving way too slow in front of us” moment before we’d even booted up.

And then there’s the eternal boot dilemma. It’s a law of nature that no matter how recently you’ve relieved yourself, as soon as you put on ski boots, you’ll need to pee real bad immediately. There’s nothing you can do about it, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Force equals Mass x Acceleration, and putting on ski boots makes humans need to pee. Like right away. Of course, that’s never convenient. Putting on ski boots means you need to navigate slippery stairs and tiled bathrooms in your clunky plastic boots.

That’s two urine related delays before you’re even on the hill. From that point, there are a few immutable rules of peeing. They’re all pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll just list them:

As soon as you get in line for a gondola or tram, the chance that you’ll need to pee soon doubles. In middle school, a friend claimed to have peed out the window of the Silver Mountain Gondola. I’m still not sure if I believe him or not.

No matter how recently you’ve peed, you’ll need to go again as soon as a lift breaks down or someone delays it and you’re left swinging in the wind for a few minutes.

If you’re skiing an area without snow coverage off-piste, it’s guaranteed that you’ll have to pee before you make it to the bottom. And having to shuffle off the white ribbon of death and into the grass and rocks to relieve yourself sucks.

No matter how quiet the resort is, as soon as you pull into a clump of trees to pee, a group of ski schoolers is guaranteed to show up and ski the exact clump of trees you’re trying to relieve yourself in.

If it’s not ski schoolers disturbing your use of the facilitrees, it’s probably ski patrol skiing right past you as you drop trou.

If you’re in the backcountry, no matter how secluded you feel, someone famous will probably come around the corner at the worst time. I have a friend that accidentally peed in front of Jimmy Chin. She still tells this story years later, I bet he doesn’t.

Peeing is the best way to fall in a tree well with your fly down.

If you’re thinking about hitting something big under the lift, you’ll need to pee as soon as you start eyeing the run-in.

It doesn’t matter if you peed at the top, if you’re skiing a long backcountry couloir you’ll certainly have to pee by the time you pop out the bottom. I definitely pulled over and peed in the Spoon the first time I skied it.

As soon as you gear up for a bootpack, you’ll need to pee.

You will at some point get pee on your gear. That’s why it’s waterproof.

Even if the parking lot is completely empty, if you try to pee between parked cars, the owner of one will inevitably show up and want to get in his car as you relieve yourself.

If you ditch your friends to pee in the woods, there’s a 50% chance that somehow you’ll never find them again, even though you only were a few minutes behind.

If the guy in front of you on the drive back down the hill is from a state that doesn’t normally get snow and is driving 15 mph in a 45, you’ll certainly need to pee even if you’re radically dehydrated.

Cops are much more likely to come check on a car stopped on the side of the road if you simply stop to pee, as opposed to anything more nefarious.

I’m sure there are more immutable rules of skiing, but I pre-hydrated too hard for today’s tour, and I’m about to put on my boots, so I’d better go pee first.