I'm working on a survival story and want to make it authentic. If you were stranded on a mountain trying to get down as fast as possible, what would you do?

EDIT: What if this was after a plane crash on a desolate snowy mountain? Would it be possible to fashion some kind of combination from debris and nature to propel down the mountain?

  • 2
    Do you have any equipment with you? If you do, I'd add to the answer of @helm (with which I agree): (1) sit on your foam sleeping pad; and (2) use a hiking stick to help slow you down.
    – ab2
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 0:10
  • Can you add more details about the mountain, the place where your character is stranded, tools at hand and the path to eventual safety? Building a pair of skis might be somewhat plausible for someone stuck in a cabin and some time to spend. Outside, above the treeline however... no.
    – Guran
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 5:41
  • 3
    This question should be on World building, not here.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 12:55
  • @GabrielC. You are welcome to bring it up on meta, but the consensus the last time this was brought up is that these types of questions are on topic Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 19:23
  • your story sounds similar to the game = The Long Dark
    – Nigel Fds
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 7:04

2 Answers 2


From your heading I gather the mountain in your story is covered in snow.

If the slope allows it, then I'd skid down on my behind. Grab something like a suitably formed stone to be able to perform a self-arrest. Any kind of skis you could expect to build up there would perform far worse.


The technique @helm recommends is (at least in this neck of the woods) called a "Glissade". It is essentially "a method of descending a steep snow-covered slope via a controlled slide on one's feet or buttocks". I have heard of people using other items to assist in a glissade by using them as a sort of sled, a backpack or as in Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire; a large flat rock.

If I were you I would spend some time googling this term as it is a more realistic way to quickly improvise ones way off a mountain, rather than taking the time to attempt to fashion proper skis.

Now, depending on the type of story you're writing, you could have your character just strap a couple felled logs to their feet at let fly! AKA Paul Bunyan.

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