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Skiing off trail/ closed trails?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I lived in Europe for a while, so I've done most of my skiing over there, where the culture doesn't frown upon skiing wherever you feel comfortable. If you wanted to ski a closed trail, you are welcome to, just know that you might not end up at a running lift. If you want to ski through the trees between trails, go for it. Etc.

 

Here in the US I haven't quite grasped what is accepted. Does the ski patrol simply frown upon things like that (i.e they don't like it but won't punish you for it), or do they take your pass if they catch you? I was about to go down a closed slope at Snowshoe, and some random woman yelled at me. I wasn't sure if that was because that is frowned upon, or if they just had an overprotective mom syndrome. :)

post #2 of 17

It's actually illegal to ski a closed trail here in Washington State. haha

 

Overall it's largely up to each resort.. but part of the skier responsibility code you "agree" to when buying a lift ticket in the US: 

 

Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

post #3 of 17

A good question.  The answer, I think, depends on both the region and the particular ski area.   I recently asked a ski patroller if they minded us skiing closed trails.  He said with a smile, "Just go around the ropes and not under."  That is in New England where if a trail is closed it is almost always due to low snow conditions.  Jay Peak, in Vermont has tons of tree skiing between trails and easy to access out of bounds territory.  I have skied many closed glades there with no consequences.  Out west it can be a different story due to avalanche danger... but you should be aware of that from skiing Europe.

post #4 of 17
There's "closed", there's out of bounds, and there's off trail, like the terrain between marked trails. Here at Whitefish, unless it's marked closed, you can ski any of it. Out of bounds, rescues are your money and could take a while as they are theoretically not handled by the resort. In bounds, they will rescue you if they find you, but the risk is really all yours and with all our trees, they could find you at spring thaw. Closed trails, they will yank your lift ticket, as it is usually due to avalanche conditions. The slope could be about to let loose or they could be heaving dynamite. There is also a grizzly bear closure of part of the mountain in the spring. Once again, skiing closed terrain means loss of lift ticket.
post #5 of 17

This year Vail has added very clearly worded signs warning of pass pull/prosecution for skiing closed trails. I'm guessing this is because of the pending lawsuit over the teenager who died in the avy on Prima Cornice. But, if that is the reason, why don't they have the same signs at Breck? Breck patrol had a tougher time than usual this year getting control of the slopes. Still a few challenging spots. 

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

 There is also a grizzly bear closure of part of the mountain in the spring. Once again, skiing closed terrain means loss of lift ticket.

When skiing a lower run at Sun Valley,ID (lowest black run) I fell and lost my prescription glasses.  Came back (with old glasses) a couple hours

later but I found the run closed.  I asked a patroller if I could ski the closed run anyway.  The other patrollers were laughing their heads off.

Turns out a grizzly bear hibernates very close to where I lost glasses and there were photos and a news article on the wall showing

the grizzley bear chasing the patroller i talked to down the trail !   It was late March and they do afternoon closures because it gets

too soft.  About to close it for the season. due to to the bear stirring.

 

Went back the next morning with a metal detector but never found the glasses.

post #7 of 17
The bear needed them.
post #8 of 17

Out west when you ski a closed area--nearly always due to avalanche risk--you  endanger not only yourself but the patrollers who might have to come get you. Helicopter rescue is rare here--someone has to ski the dangerous terrain to get to you. Around here if you're caught you might get warned, you might get your pass pulled, you could be prosecuted but I haven't heard of cases. This low snow season runs are closed due to lack of snow and rumor has it that at at least one area patrol is looking the other way if people want to ski those areas--I can't confirm. Also, although many areas--those that are on public land--have open boundaries, you cannot legally cross a closed in bounds area to get to the legally open out of bounds areas. Unlike the much larger European areas in the US areas that are inbounds between marked pistes are controlled for avalanches and have very low (but not zero) avalanche risk. Some areas do have inbounds terrain away from the marked pistes that are controlled for avalanches but are considered higher risk and in some cases a partner and avalanche gear may be required to ski these areas.

post #9 of 17
Some poor schlub that ducked a rope at our hill almost got blown up by a charge dropped from a helo doing control work. It exploded behind him after he pretty much skied over it. Fortunately, the slope didn't slide. 9-2=7... 7 lives left. A very lucky schlub. Even luckier patrol didn't manage to track him down. I'm sure he would have earned the $1000 fine and lost his skiing privileges for a good long while.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. It helps a lot. I wouldn't be going out of the resort bounds, but more through trees by the trail. And I guess I won't go down closed trails if there are posted signs.

 

I do find it strange that a resort would be dropping dynamite during ski hours. Why don't they do that while they are completely closed?

post #11 of 17
Because they'd have to get the lifties out there early as well. They could be dropping charges for three hours, daylight is a requirement. Current sunrise here is at 8:07 am.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Because they'd have to get the lifties out there early as well. They could be dropping charges for three hours, daylight is a requirement. Current sunrise here is at 8:07 am.

another good reason not to ski closed areas--you might get blown up. Arpund here they sometimes will be blasting all day.

post #13 of 17

When you ride up the tram at Jackson Hole, the tram operator gives a little spiel just before you unload from the car.  Along with other messages, they have this to say about closed areas:

 

"PLEASE OBEY ALL CLOSED-AREA SIGNS. THEY ARE THERE FOR YOUR SAFETY AND VIOLATORS WILL LOSE THEIR LIFT PRIVILEGES...

 

FOREVER!"

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

When you ride up the tram at Jackson Hole, the tram operator gives a little spiel just before you unload from the car.  Along with other messages, they have this to say about closed areas:

 

"PLEASE OBEY ALL CLOSED-AREA SIGNS. THEY ARE THERE FOR YOUR SAFETY AND VIOLATORS WILL LOSE THEIR LIFT PRIVILEGES...

 

FOREVER!"

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

 

Ha!

 

I'm glad that battle is over.  

 

Now the inbounds closed-area signs mean something and anybody who wants to go outside the area can do it anytime they want and under any circumstances - as long as they go through the gates. ;)

post #16 of 17
Skied Whistler the last two days. It's a bit unnerving to come to a rope with "Cliff" signs and have the guide hold the rope up for you to duck under. Same thing at Snowbird. No wonder folk are confused.

Mike
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Skied Whistler the last two days. It's a bit unnerving to come to a rope with "Cliff" signs and have the guide hold the rope up for you to duck under. Same thing at Snowbird. No wonder folk are confused.

Mike

That was a little confusing to me at Whistler, where they use ropes to mark off particularly difficult areas, like Sawtooth ridge, and it seems perfectly acceptable to duck the rope, as long as it doesn't say closed. Then there's this:

Poubelle-Couloir.jpg

A serious fence at the top of the famous Couloir des Poubelles (garbage chute) at Grand Montets near Chamonix (not the couloir Poubelles in the Blizzard of Ahs, which is off the Aiguille du Midi). Perfectly acceptable to go over this fence. It's right off the top of one of the lifts.

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