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Seeking Patroller Input re: Rules of the Road.

Poll Results: Who is at fault in the above scenario?

 
  • 88% (8)
    The Uphill Skier
  • 11% (1)
    The Downhill Skier
  • 0% (0)
    50 / 50 Call
9 Total Votes  
post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've been skiing a long time and can pretty much recite the skier responsibility code by rote. Two things I know are:

 

1. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

 

2. Whenever starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

 

What I am wondering about is when these two come into conflict and there is an accident, what will be the determination as to who is at fault?

 

Obviously, if the downhill skier simply bolts into the path of the uphill skier, giving her no chance to avoid a collision, #2 takes precedence and the downhill skier is at fault. But how far up the hill does the responsibility to yield extend? If the downhill skier has to wait until he doesn't see anyone coming anywhere on the hill, he likely will never be able to start.

 

In my hypothetical, the downhill skier is stopped on an uncrowded, wide-open groomer in a location he is well visible from above,  in ideal snow conditions with perfect visibility. He glances uphill and sees someone coming up fast, but still a way's off and he judges that the uphil skier has plenty of room to avoid him, and pushes off. He takes a few skates to get up to speed, turns right, turns left, and as he is transitioning into another right turn (maybe 5, maybe 10 seconds have passed since he started) WHAM!!! the uphill skier nails him and both go flying.

 

It seems to the downhill skier that #1 above has been violated, but the uphill skier contends that the downhill skier is at fault, because #2 was not followed. Patrollers: What do you put in your report?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 17

If the uphill skier can see the downhill skier in time to avoid him and doesn't then the uphill skier is at fault.  If the downhill skier comes flying out of the bushes onto the trail, that is another story. 

 

Your example is pretty cut and dried.  Uphill skier is clearly at fault.  A more difficult question would be if the downhill skier comes flying out of the bushes onto a steep winch-cat-groomed run that has no turns for a good long stretch (perfect for skiing at high speeds) 50 yards ahead, 40 yards,  30 yards, 20 yards, 10 yards or  5 yards?  Where do you draw the line?

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

If the uphill skier can see the downhill skier in time to avoid him and doesn't then the uphill skier is at fault.  If the downhill skier comes flying out of the bushes onto the trail, that is another story. 

 

Your example is pretty cut and dried.  Uphill skier is clearly at fault... 

 

Yes, that's pretty much what I thought. It is a more interesting question to consider at what point it becomes the downhill skier's fault. What makes it so cut and dried in this case? Is it the time that elapsed between when the downhill skier started and when the collission occured? Is it the distance between the two when they downhill skier started out? How close is too close? Is there a middle ground where both skiers are equally at fault, or say if a patroller witnesses the whole thing would he or she need to make a determination that one or the other is at fault?

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CluelessGaper59 View Post
What makes it so cut and dried in this case? Is it the time that elapsed between when the downhill skier started and when the collission occured? Is it the distance between the two when they downhill skier started out? How close is too close? Is there a middle ground where both skiers are equally at fault, or say if a patroller witnesses the whole thing would he or she need to make a determination that one or the other is at fault?

 

What makes it so cut-and-dried here is that the downhill skier had the time to make two turns and was starting his third when the uphill skier reached him.  That should be plenty of time to stop or avoid.

 

Trying to answer the question of "how close is too close" in general is a hard one.  There's something similar in sailboat racing:

 

Quote:
When a right-of-way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear.
 
("room" is  the space a boat needs in the existing conditions...while manoeuvring promptly in a seamanlike way.)

 

The idea being that if you change direction you have to give the other boat a fair chance to avoid you.  Many many reams or paper has been spent honing the finer points of when close is too close. If you want to see this idea taken to it's (il)logical conclusion find a forum on racing rules of sailing and look for rule 16.

 

Skiing doesn't have the concept of protest committees, appeals, etc, so not nearly as much ink has been spilled.  The closest you'll probably come is case law; if something goes to court as a tort, and it's not cut-and-dried like the above scenario then it will likely be found that one skier was X% at fault and the other was (100-X)% at fault.  So, there's no bright line where it transitions from 100% uphill skier's fault to 100% downhill skier's fault.  Instead, there's a gray transition area.

post #5 of 17

I agree with what's been written above. To all that I'll add my own take:

 

Those with higher skills have higher responsibility in avoiding collisions. Why? Because your experience and skill set allows you to do so. Does that absolve beginners from their code responsibilities? No. It's just that high skill skiers are also likely to be skiing faster than others on a given slope and a collision at speed has higher consequences for all involved.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CluelessGaper59 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

If the uphill skier can see the downhill skier in time to avoid him and doesn't then the uphill skier is at fault.  If the downhill skier comes flying out of the bushes onto the trail, that is another story. 

 

Your example is pretty cut and dried.  Uphill skier is clearly at fault... 

 

Yes, that's pretty much what I thought. It is a more interesting question to consider at what point it becomes the downhill skier's fault. What makes it so cut and dried in this case? Is it the time that elapsed between when the downhill skier started and when the collission occured? Is it the distance between the two when they downhill skier started out? How close is too close? Is there a middle ground where both skiers are equally at fault, or say if a patroller witnesses the whole thing would he or she need to make a determination that one or the other is at fault?


The uphill skier saw the downhill skier in plenty of time to avoid him; the downhill skier was well visible from above.

 

It's not the time lapse between when the downhill skier started moving, but the time lapse from when the uphill skier first saw the downhill skier.  Even if the other skier had been standing absolutely still and only moved the instant the other skier was about to overtake him, the uphill skier would still be at fault, for skiing close enough to the downhill skier that he was unable to avoid him.  The code says "be able to avoid other skiers or objects ahead of you...."; it doesn't say "..avoid  slow moving skiers ahead of you."; it doesn't say, "...avoid predictable skiers ahead of you..."; It doesn't say, "avoid other skiers except when they make sudden movements";   No matter what the skier does in front of you, you must avoid him if you have seen him in time.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

What makes it so cut-and-dried here is that the downhill skier had the time to make two turns and was starting his third when the uphill skier reached him.  That should be plenty of time to stop or avoid.

 

Trying to answer the question of "how close is too close" in general is a hard one.  There's something similar in sailboat racing:

 

 

The idea being that if you change direction you have to give the other boat a fair chance to avoid you.  Many many reams or paper has been spent honing the finer points of when close is too close. If you want to see this idea taken to it's (il)logical conclusion find a forum on racing rules of sailing and look for rule 16.

 

 

It's been a year since I've been on a sailboat... so a tad rusty on the rules of the road....

 

Right of way usually favors the one with less ability to maneuver.....  so a power boat should yield to a sailboat (running on sails)....

 

iirc, Sailboat vs sailboat (both on wind power)... the one closer to the wind yields to the one further from the wind.

 

Nonetheless I agree with you, that the downhill skiier, since that person has great ability to manuever, should be yielding to the uphill.

 

Of course, it doesn't mean the uphill shouldn't be taken precautions.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post

It's been a year since I've been on a sailboat... so a tad rusty on the rules of the road....

 

Right of way usually favors the one with less ability to maneuver.....  so a power boat should yield to a sailboat (running on sails)....

 

iirc, Sailboat vs sailboat (both on wind power)... the one closer to the wind yields to the one further from the wind.

 

Nonetheless I agree with you, that the downhill skiier, since that person has great ability to manuever, should be yielding to the uphill.

 

Of course, it doesn't mean the uphill shouldn't be taken precautions.

 

 

Ah... let's clarify... if both skiers are moving/skiing down hill. The downhill skier has the right of way. If a downhill skier is standing by the side of the slope and wants to continue on skiing down the hill, they must look up and see if the way is clear. At that point, the moving skier has the right of way. Once the standing skier has a safe amount of space, he/she pushes off and we're back at the beginning of my little paragraph.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

 

 

Ah... let's clarify... if both skiers are moving/skiing down hill. The downhill skier has the right of way. If a downhill skier is standing by the side of the slope and wants to continue on skiing down the hill, they must look up and see if the way is clear. At that point, the moving skier has the right of way. Once the standing skier has a safe amount of space, he/she pushes off and we're back at the beginning of my little paragraph.

that's not a clarification.... that's a different scenario

post #10 of 17

Patroller Input?

 

The "5 to 10" seconds puts the responsibility on the skier above.

 

Howfar can you travel in 7 seconds?  Quite a ways.   

 

Now on a narrow "one or two line" new England trail,  that would not be fair.  but,  that was not the description.

 

Seems like skiing has become a contact sport.  too   bad... take some time to enjoy the view!

 

cheers

 

Cal

post #11 of 17
Quote:
iirc, Sailboat vs sailboat (both on wind power)... the one closer to the wind yields to the one further from the wind.

 

Sorry to further derail the thread, but I'm curious what you mean by "closer to the wind"? The starboard tack has the right of way between to boats under sail power.

 

Now back to the OP...

post #12 of 17

If both boats are on starboard, leeward boat has the right of way. smile.gif  

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

What makes it so cut-and-dried here is that the downhill skier had the time to make two turns and was starting his third when the uphill skier reached him.  That should be plenty of time to stop or avoid.

 

Trying to answer the question of "how close is too close" in general is a hard one.  There's something similar in sailboat racing:

 

 

The idea being that if you change direction you have to give the other boat a fair chance to avoid you.  Many many reams or paper has been spent honing the finer points of when close is too close. If you want to see this idea taken to it's (il)logical conclusion find a forum on racing rules of sailing and look for rule 16.

 

 

It's been a year since I've been on a sailboat... so a tad rusty on the rules of the road....

 

Right of way usually favors the one with less ability to maneuver.....  so a power boat should yield to a sailboat (running on sails)....

 

iirc, Sailboat vs sailboat (both on wind power)... the one closer to the wind yields to the one further from the wind.

 

Nonetheless I agree with you, that the downhill skiier, since that person has great ability to manuever, should be yielding to the uphill.

 

Of course, it doesn't mean the uphill shouldn't be taken precautions.


You forgot, "BC ferries yield to no one."  LOL

 

I've always been tempted to yell, "Helm's a Lee!"  when another skier is getting too close, but they would likely not get it.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post


You forgot, "BC ferries yield to no one."  LOL

 

I've always been tempted to yell, "Helm's a Lee!"  when another skier is getting too close, but they would likely not get it.

 

It's the same thing with NYC Ferries.  They "own" the water like how NYC Taxis rampage the road.

 

...sailing on the Hudson River... can be frustrating though....  where the winds can constantly shift directions...

post #15 of 17

Commercial shipping in shipping lanes indeed do not need to yield to pleasure craft. They can't.smile.gif  Epic sailing.com!

post #16 of 17
Patroller at a small New England hill. Our reports don't assign blame, we only record the statements of the guests involved and those of any witnesses. If there is clear recklessness of any guest involved we would record our comments on an attached statement.

Sent from my SCH-I510 using Tapatalk 2
post #17 of 17

"No matter what the skier does in front of you, you must avoid him if you have seen him in time."

 

Been a long time.  But if you cna see soem one it is your responsibility to ski in control and avoid them.  Good rule to follow these days is if there is an injury or the thought of an injury on either side (those involved should) get the  names and personal info of those involved.  I would anyway.

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