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?