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safety semi-rant

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Introduced my girlfriend to skiing at Big Sky the first weekend in December. If she took to it and enjoyed the experience, the plan was to come out some place next year and do a ski season. Success! She had a blast after the first 3 days of learning so we are ready to start planning for next year.

 

As a lone skier until now, dangerous skiers and snowboarders didn't bother me but with someone under my care, I was pretty upset by the end of the week. There wasn't a lot of terrain open, so I understand where it is coming from, but the actions were still inexcusable.

 

1. Everyone has to make a first run down a green run. Mr. K was the green run in the best condition and for a green run, it is pretty difficult in spots for the 1st time skier. As much as one would like to control where a fall is going to happen, sometimes that just doesn't happen. In this case, she fell about 3/4s down one of the drops and about 2/3rds to the far left. A snowboarder at full tilt decided to make some kind of a point and instead of going around her, put is board sideways and slid into her stopping short by a few feet. Shook his head then went on his way. That ended up being our only green run through the next day, but I tried to enforce to her that we need to get off to the side quickly and to be 360 degree aware (and she is very aware now). Of course, the side isn't always a safe place either is it. I think a lot of folks that have boarding and skiing for a long time have completely forgotten what it is like to make your first few scary green runs. All that aside, I noticed that no place is truly safe from boarders and skiers that think people are their human turning targets.

 

2. OK..so we are back on green runs. COMPLETELY out of the way, in fact behind some orange barrier tape where a trail is merging. Some azzhat on skis must think the orange tape is an invitation to practice his park skills and hops over the ~3 foot high tape at speed missing us by a couple feet. That happened TWICE. 0 patience for crap like that.

 

3. Going across Jay Walk down to Mr. K where the SLOW signs are..  Knucklehead with his buddies blasts by us yelling "FCUK THE SLOW SIGNS" Love the attitude. In fact, there were a ton of people getting air off the SLOW warning areas right before a drop on the Green runs where there is a higher percentage of new skiers and boarders falling.

 

 

Hey, we all want our freedom to ski where and how we want, but c'mon..use some common sense. As with anything, a few bad apples can ruin it for everyone... Strict rules and regulations and fines happen in the absence of common sense.

 

To end on a positive note though.. Great to see her skiing on that last day with a huge smile on her face. She is Thai and this was her first trip outside of her country. We were on a road trip out West since August so she got a chance to see the beauty of the Western States. First time seeing snow. Great time and can't wait until next year!

post #2 of 18

Did you report the shenanigans to ski patrol? No guarantee that will solve the problem, but it might give them a starting point to snag the worst offenders. If their response is meh, I'd consider taking my business elsewhere, but no guarantees there either.

 

Too soon to blame fat skis?

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyLikesIt View Post
 

Introduced my girlfriend to skiing at Big Sky the first weekend in December. If she took to it and enjoyed the experience, the plan was to come out some place next year and do a ski season. Success! She had a blast after the first 3 days of learning so we are ready to start planning for next year.

 

There wasn't a lot of terrain open, so I understand where it is coming from, but the actions were still inexcusable.

 

First, people should have respected a beginner skier on green marked runs. That's not debatable. 

 

... but, early season with limited terrain is a TERRIBLE choice for timing a 'First Ski Experience'. The weather is at it's worst, daylight is shortest and 'the locals are restless'. Everyone is too amped up for skiiing and the terrain jams all ability levels together. You get what you experienced. It's not right, but it is exactly what happens every year at the start of the season. 

post #4 of 18
Was this opening weekend? Even I don't do opening weekend up here in Whitefish.
post #5 of 18

Some people were just not brought up right :nono:

post #6 of 18
No way to change other people's ahole-ish behavior. Just have to have your head on a swivel and teach the gf safety tactics like avoiding groms with t-shirts down to their knees and people skiing in jeans. I try to slow down when I hit greens because I don't want to run over any little kids or your gf but I guess other people don't maintain that mentality.
post #7 of 18

You had a bad combination of circumstances to work with.  I'm glad it all worked out in the end.  

 

I definitely understand your frustration, but it is the nature of early season skiing to have too many people crammed into too little terrain.  This is an inconvenience for a strong skier/boarder who can hold their own and be aware of and adapting to what is around them (both from a human and terrain/man made hazard perspective).  But for a new skier/beginner this is a very difficult situation, they have enough trouble focusing on how to stay upright, control their skis/board, and manage their speed without trying to be aware of everyone around them and being prepared to make adjustments for erratic behavior of others.  When you have a lot of time skiing/riding under your belt you have a sense of what to expect and who is likely to behave in unexpected ways, a new skier/boarder does not.

 

Definitely report people skiing aggressively in marked slow skiing areas to ski patrol, they may post someone at the area to enforce skiing in control.

post #8 of 18

I've noticed that some areas have good beginner areas and I try to steer people to those places if they're beginners.  For instance, Lake Louise doesn't really have beginner terrain.  They have a 50' hill with a magic carpet then you're in the gondola to mid-mountain.  On the other hand, Nakiska has a dedicated lift for beginners, the terrain isn't accessible from the rest of the mountain.  They have 3 or 4 nice hills with probably 500' of vertical and increasing slopes so you can spend all day, nearly alone, doing what you need to do.  Whiteface is similar.  Lake Louise is particularly bad because almost everyone gets funneled into the one green run to the lift at the bottom and it's rush hour.

 

To be clear, I'm not excusing anyone's behaviour here..it's a green for sure.  I just find some ski areas are better set-up for this kind of thing.  Check out Nakiska..right at the bottom is the beginner lift.  I think it's a great idea.

 

post #9 of 18

Just a reminder for everybody who skis with confidence at speed and knows their skis are going exactly where they want them to go,  beginners need much more space to be comfortable than you do!

 

EDIT: Oh and if for some reason (e.g. you have a hangover, haven't slept and have a concussion and can't thing straight) you think you should revert to smeared speed control turns instead of your usual carving, don't forget to triple your distance.


Edited by Ghost - 12/18/15 at 10:07am
post #10 of 18

Sad to hear it, I have had some similar experiences with people learning as well. There's not much you can do if ski patrol isn't there to catch it, I would at least report the reckless people who have near misses and etc. Then they can at least get a warning, and if it occurs again a ticket pulled. Being aware is part of the Alpine Responsibility Code which should be common sense. . They should at least get a warning and if the ski resort really doesn't appreciate it they could put a fence instead of a ribbon. The resort would not like to lose you as the customer, you could address it to management if ski patrol or resort staff isn't doing anything to address your concern. I had an experience where my girlfriend at the time could not make it down the hill due to it being a late spring season day with slushy conditions. She wanted to return her lift ticket which was on a glove, the staff member made a huge deal about it being on the glove even though it was too warm to wear a jacket. I contacted management through email letting them know I was quite disappointed and it would be unlikely that I would want to return there. They ended up comping us two free all day ski passes worth $70 each even though we only paid $20 each for lift tickets. The resort staff especially management appreciate the feedback, and for all you know it could improve your or someone else's experience at the resort. 

I know personally if I'm skiing fast I make sure to ski around people, and will pick a line that will not interrupt anyone especially beginners. Beginners tend to panic if they hear someone approaching fast and can be very unpredictable. I even avoid skiing with someone next to me because I've seen far to many people carving intently focused on whats ahead and will increase the size of their turns until they unintentionally crash into each other. Its very important to teach beginners this awareness because especially if they are skiing by themselves and fall over a roller or something skiers above cannot see them, it's very important to know to get up quick regardless. 

post #11 of 18

Unless you are incredibly lucky and an area opens with 100% of their terrain, the first few weeks can be a challenge for anyone. There are a lot of skiers on two or three runs. Then you put 20-30 race teams doing early season training on top of local skiers and it gets pretty tight those first few weeks. Are there going to be inconsiderate people with 100% of the terrain open, yep, there sure will be. Best bet is to ski behind her as a buffer if people are moving fast around her and you are nervous. It also offers a better vantage point to observe her skiing and you can pick up after the yard sale easier.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

No way to change other people's ahole-ish behavior. Just have to have your head on a swivel and teach the gf safety tactics like avoiding groms with t-shirts down to their knees and people skiing in jeans. I try to slow down when I hit greens because I don't want to run over any little kids or your gf but I guess other people don't maintain that mentality.
In all fairness, you're on Enforcers. You don't have to ski fast to make your point.
post #13 of 18

Wow, that sounds pretty awful.  One reason I was glad my kids learned at Sun Valley is that the beginner area is on a different mountain (Dollar), 15 minutes away from Baldy.  While there is a terrain park on Dollar, the beginner runs are pretty well separated and don't get a lot of this type of behavior, both because the more skilled skiers/boarders are over on Baldy and the ski patrol can do stronger enforcement precisely because Dollar is it's own environment.

 

Glad she enjoyed it and wants to get back out again soon!

post #14 of 18

A number of people commented on things being crowded early season. That's not what Mikey described--he described people deliberately being jerks and those people will be just as jerky in mid season and in spring. 

 

Mikey--I would definitely send a copy of your post to the head of patrol and the mountain manager.

 

One piece of advice for your girlfriend, which has nothing to do with the incidents you described--always leave room between her and the edge of the run while skiing so someone can pass on the tree side if need be. A lot of faster skiers ski the edges of the groomer and if it comes down to hitting her or hitting a tree guess who loses. Also don't ski too close to her in an effort to protect her. Someone who passes you will want to turn after they're past, right into her if you're too close.

post #15 of 18

The first sign of an Expert/Pro....................Respect.  About 3 years ago a young buck and I had a close encounter on a run. He stopped as did I. He said Excuse me Sir. I said No harm no foul. We talked for a few minutes and both went our way.  Some of you might of heard of him.  Sammy Carlson.

post #16 of 18

The problem is, seems like a lot of resorts seem to be filled with douche bags these days - and resorts do not enforce rules.  I see people blatantly disregarding all sorts of rules, from skiing fast in slow zones to smoking on lifts and outdoor patios that specifically have no smoking signs.  Resort staff does absolutely NOTHING about it.  Even when I've brought issues up to staff and management at resorts in Washington state - they just make excuses and do absolutely nothing.  I know a lot of people getting really frustrated with the lack of consideration and lack of rule enforcement - backcountry is looking better and better.

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
 

First, people should have respected a beginner skier on green marked runs. That's not debatable. 

 

... but, early season with limited terrain is a TERRIBLE choice for timing a 'First Ski Experience'. The weather is at it's worst, daylight is shortest and 'the locals are restless'. Everyone is too amped up for skiiing and the terrain jams all ability levels together. You get what you experienced. It's not right, but it is exactly what happens every year at the start of the season. 

Can't agree more that the timing was not good. Had no choice as we flew back to Thailand on the 9th. Just happy there was enough snow for her to get a good idea if the sport was something she wanted to pursue. Crowded slopes and people buzzing around wasn't really an issue and I expected there to be some compression at the green runs, the examples I cited were of people that were completely out of order and being overtly dangerous. There isn't any excuse for it. Having said that, the guy that slid down into her accelerated me talking to her about trail awareness and she picked right up on it. I took some videos of her and was pleased with how much attention she was paying to her surroundings.

 

I guess I made this post in hopes that any folks with a similar dangerous attitude who might frequent this site would read it and give it some thought. We have too many rules and regulations in life and I'd hate to see skiing become less "free" due to skiers who insist on endangering others with their actions.


Edited by MikeyLikesIt - 12/19/15 at 4:55am
post #18 of 18

I wish these a-holes out there who do this type of stuff on greens and low-intermediate runs would see the other side of it.  

They should see what its like sometimes like when I ski with my low-intermediate wife or my 65-year old mother.

 

You're so core because you straight-lined the easy blue and caught air of a blind catwalk in a slow-skiing zone....not.

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