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Help me understand the intent behind the Skier's Responsibility Code

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

So this was prompted by this thread: http://www.epicski.com/t/145125/being-sued-by-skiier and I felt like it deserved its own thread rather than take that thread kinda off topic (or so it felt to me).

 

I've been skiing for 30 years and take the code seriously, but this has always been something I've wondered about.  Points 2 & 3 seem to be at odds with each other.

 

Quote:
2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.

 

So, if a person ahead of you has stopped where they're not visible, and you fail to avoid them, who's at fault?  The wording seems to state that you both have violated the code.  Is there a different way to interpret this, or in the case of that thread, are they both equally at fault?

 

Edit: Note that I'm not asking about legally, I'm not interested in discussing the legal ramifications in that thread.  More, what's the code trying to say.  It has always seemed to me that the code is flawed if this very common situation boils down to "yeah, well, you both didn't do what you were supposed to do."

post #2 of 22

My interpretation is that by following # 2 you don't hit the idiots who don't follow # 3. Bottom line-you HAVE to pay attention to what's going on around you at all times (not that it happens in the real world.)

post #3 of 22

The code is to keep you safe.

 

Rule 1 is obvious.  Rule three is designed to help protect you from people who don't follow rule 1.

As I said in the other thread, it's like going around a blind corner.  If you are lucky they have a little yellow sign with an advised speed on the roads based on line of sight.  If not and you go around a blind corner and run into a tractor pulling a manure spreader your in the sh*t.  We don't need to tell folks not to lie on the road just past a blind corner, but for some reason it's less obvious to skiers and especially snow boarders.

post #4 of 22
I think the code is acknowledging that #1 does not cover all situations, specifically, where someone stops where they are not visible.

I agree that people should be skiing in control so that they could avoid someone who has stopped but stopping where you can't be seen is unsafe and should be avoided.
post #5 of 22

When the "stopping where not visible from above" rule is replaced with " skiing carefully on any portion of the trail",  the entire burden falls on the uphill party.

How slowly can one ski without violating a "no stopping" rule?

 

It IS the person above that has the responsibility to NOT collide with down hill traffic. 

 

Plane and simple.

 

  The code is not meant to be an exercise in semantics. (Like the US Constitution is ;-)

 

ETA

 

I can say from responding to many collisions with injuries,  The "stopped" skier being hit is a very infrequent event.

post #6 of 22

I read the "You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above" part as a qualification of the uphill skier's duty to yield right of way.  

 

I can imagine scenarios where a reasonable person exercising reasonable care might hit somebody downhill.  Most of those scenarios involve not being able to see a downhill skier until you are very close to them.  The code is saying that in those scenarios the downhill skier is at least partly at fault.

 

I used this hypothetical in the other thread:

 

"Legally, the best I can do to defend that thought is a hypothetical involving cliffs of certain death for an uphill skier and an unobservable downhill skier (imagine a narrow chute with a blind hill near the bottom and cliffs of certain death on the sides).  I don't think the uphill skier needs to throw themselves over the cliffs to avoid being negligent and fulfill his duty to the downhill skier.  The only point of the hypothetical is that, to me, it draws into question some sort of absolute rule of the road faulting the uphill party.  It seems quite different than what happened here."

 

There are less extreme, more realistic scenarios where the same principal would apply.  Basically, the code is saying don't stop where an uphill skier who is behaving in a reasonable way might hit you.

post #7 of 22

My interpretation is that if you are stopped - you are out of play and therefore it is your responsibility to observe and yield if necessary when you choose to rejoin play, likewise merging into a run.

 

From experience on very busy runs (predominantly in Europe) it is not possible to track one's own course to avoid every possible direction a stopped person might choose to set off in so I think it is right, practical and sensible that responsibility transfers to the stopped (or joining person in this case). The Colorado Ski Safety Act seems to agree with me , even if thousands of internet pundits do not.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryBadger View Post
 

.  

 

I can imagine scenarios where a reasonable person exercising reasonable care might hit somebody downhill.  Most of those scenarios involve not being able to see a downhill skier until you are very close to them.  The code is saying that in those scenarios the downhill skier is at least partly at fault.

 

 

The most common scenario is where a child or smaller adult stops downhill of another skier and is therefore screened from the view of traffic. If they then set off blind (as often occurs) they have placed themselves in greater danger because the uphill skier is trying to steer well clear of the person they can see not necessarily those they can't. 

post #9 of 22

The intent is to reduce accidents. It's that simple.

post #10 of 22
Oblivious riders stopping at a choke point are technically following the code, BUT they put every rider trying to get past in a vulnerable spot, do they almost stop thus increasing the congestion, slip through a tiny opening? The code is unclear on this common situation.

I try not to be obnoxious but a stern BAD SPOT! as I pass rarely enlightens the dipsticks.
post #11 of 22
Basically, if you are uphill or downhill, either one, you're supposed to exercise common sense and courtesy. You can't start waving the rules around to obscure the fact that you didn't. In the OP's scenario, both are at fault, assuming that the hidden skier is able to clear the area. (If they are unconscious, they can stay there until put on a sled.)

These supposed situations where to can't see around a hummock are indications that you are not on a closed course and should be slowing down. There seem to be an incredible number of people who can't admit that they might be the ones at fault these days. Must not have been taught by nuns.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

These supposed situations where to can't see around a hummock are indications that you are not on a closed course and should be slowing down. There seem to be an incredible number of people who can't admit that they might be the ones at fault these days. Must not have been taught by nuns.

 

I agree in principal, but in practice I think it is hard to ski in a way that removes any risk of your hitting somebody even if they do stupid things.  I say this as someone who has never bumped into anyone who wasn't a good friend (and that was on purpose as a joke).  I am also confident I can come to a sharp stop in extremis at the speeds I do achieve on crowded runs.

 

That said, there are times when enjoying my day means trying to get some speed up while going down a run to get away from a big group of beginners.  When I do that, I choose one edge of the run, wait for a break in the traffic and am vigilant in regards to the lines the beginners are taking.  However, even if I'm sure what I'm doing is safe (for me) and am certain it poses no risk to them as long as they ski in a way I can expect, can I be certain they won't cut in front of me/some dude won't come crashing in from the trees/I'll hit a patch of ice and be unable to turn sharply enough?  No, I can't know any of that.  The only way to be sure would be for me to wait for the traffic to clear, but I have no way of knowing it will ever clear completely so I could be waiting for a long time at the top.

 

I have no issues with snowboarders in general, but don't like being behind a big group of them because I don't know how to guess when they'll turn.  I thought I wasn't the only one who had that concern...

 

I actually think the skiers code should have something about "skiing one line", but that is a nebulous concept and perhaps hard to enforce.  All of this, to me is basically about saying that in general downhill skiers have right of way, but it's not an unqualified right (sort of like traffic in front of you, you can't slam on the brakes for no reason on the highway).

post #13 of 22

Here's the Car/Traffic analogy to make it clear.  These two actual laws that you get real citations for are also in conflict with each other

 

  • There is the Basic motor Law that says Pedestrians have the right of way.  
  • There is a rule that there is no jaywalking, and pedestrians need to wait for cars at a crosswalk.

 

So if there is a jaywalker and a car hits them, who is at fault?  same as the ski law conundrum.  But it's obvious why this is setup this way.

 

When you teach kids from the very beginning to look both ways and wait for the light, even though from the first rule they have the right of way.  Only the most absurd parent would teach your kids to just go ahead and run into the street whenever you want to cross it to save time, because by Law you have the right of way and the cars will stop for you.  (that would be selfishly useful at times though).  

 

As Rusty said, it's for safety,the real world is not ideal black and white and we live in an society with imperfect humans and not robots or computer code with logic 1s and 0s.  

So you setup a system where there is resilience and have backups and always error on the side of caution or safety.  When the rules get broken or even bent and try to remove any severe outcomes.  

You also have to think beyond yourself and that other people might do things different than you.  Or as mentioned about, self-preservation should kick in a bit too

 

Children can't think 5seconds ahead so you have to teach them.  Older children and teenagers are still in their narcissism phase and will do it despite knowing the law, because they think the world revolves around them.

Those would be the types that would always choose to "thread the needle" and "shoot the gap" instead of erroring on the side of safety and caution and slowing down instead.  (teenagers get car accidents from judgement errors not because of physical constarints).  Adults usually grow out of the narcissim, or if they stay narcissistic, self-preservation kicks in a bit eventually).

 

 

As an aside, the traffic system as is should have 0 traffic accidents if all rules are followed;.  But obviously accidents are so common place that even when fatalities happen, the newsradio just mention how it is going to affect the commute for the rest of the motorists.  If an alien were to look down and observe us, they would be shocked that we just accept so flippantly that someone just died in the commute.


Edited by raytseng - 1/26/16 at 9:22am
post #14 of 22
These are guidelines. If everyone followed them equally, most of the issues would be avoided all together. If a few make a mistake and the rest followed them still most issues would be avoided. The rest are accidents because an error occurred.

The problems arise when you follow some and dis-regard others then you have issues occuring in which one blames another for not follow one or the other.

Then there are those that don't care about others and think that the world revolves around them, they cause most of the issues which is why we have the issues we have now.

If you ski like you want to treated, you should have no problems. (Sort of sound like one of the 10 commandments......though not to get into a religious discussion).

Ski with a others safety in mind, think that the other person may not know you are there, don't forget others are using the hill too give them a chance to avoid you as you should avoid them.
post #15 of 22
Without a legal lens, the answer to your question is both skiers have breached the code. As the Code does not include an order of preference, the situation is in limbo.

But the situation being discussed is meaningless without a legal interpretation. Let's assume that the Code is incorporated into the general indemnification terms of the ticket.

Then a judge would find the skier that violated Code 2 guilty, but the award of any damages would be mitigated by the fact that the damaged party violated Code 3.

If the same skier suffered the same losses but had not violated Code 3, the judge would award higher damages.
post #16 of 22
Most people follow the rules. Some people try to follow the rules but are stupid and fail. And then there are the 10% that won't follow the rules. From the mouth of a Marine D.I.
post #17 of 22

If you are stopped you have to yield to skiers on the run before starting out, but you don't have to jump out of their way!

 

Similarly if you are skiing slowly beyond a mound of snow, but not quite stopped you are not in violation of rule 3.  If you hit someone who is skiing slowly in a blind spot, you are 100% at fault.  Surely you can see that another .25 mph (speed now zero) won't make much difference to the case.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

The code is to keep you safe.

 

Rule 1 is obvious.  Rule three is designed to help protect you from people who don't follow rule 1.

 

Exactly. Nothing more to say really.

But I'll say something anyway. Donner Pass Rd from Donner Lake to Donner Pass is becoming increasingly popular with cyclists because of the steep climb and even steeper descent back to the lake (that doesn't make sense does it?). It's a winding 2 lane road with no shoulders for much of the 3 mile climb and plenty of very blind corners. Double yellow line the whole way. Climbing bikes are usually at walking speed. It's pretty tough to pass a bike with a long enough view to be sure no one is coming. The obvious solution would be to honk to warn cars coming the other way if you're passing a bike but that would be hard on the bike rider, who would think you were honking at him. Or I suppose you could take and hour and a half to go 3 miles. I'd love to see them put big parabolic mirrors at the curves, but that would take more initiative than anyone has around here. AFAIK the only cycling accidents were a man who hit a pothole on the descent and was killed and a very drunk pedestrian on the 4th of July who was hit at very low speed by a not quite as drunk cyclist, fell over, hit his head and died. So maybe I'm worried about nothing.

post #19 of 22
I going to suggest......STOP THE ME GENERATION!

Think how you can help and protect someone else. Most issues would likely disappear.
post #20 of 22

In addition to promoting skiing safety , I would add that the safety rules also provide a legal standard for ski areas to meet in safely operating their skiing facilities . The

safety code further provides ski areas with a measure of liability protection against unwarranted legal damage claims for skiing injuries .

post #21 of 22

In Russia most drivers seem to have dash cams because drivers will cut in front of you and slam their breaks on to make money.  Skier and Riders could do the same thing in the USA.  Cut in front of another skier or rider, sit down, endure the pain, and sue baby sue. 

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post
 

In Russia most drivers seem to have dash cams because drivers will cut in front of you and slam their breaks on to make money.  Skier and Riders could do the same thing in the USA.  Cut in front of another skier or rider, sit down, endure the pain, and sue baby sue. 


I've had that happen to me in southern Ontario.  Only problem was I managed to stop in time.  He made a bone-headed pass to get 1 car length further ahead only to still be stuck behind a slow moving pick'em up truck hadn't seem to notice the speed limit change five miles ago, and then pulled in six feet in front of me and slammed on the brakes hard just as I was clapping my hands at his stunt driving.  I stopped an inch or two from his rear bumper and then waited as the idiot sat in his car and also waited about two minutes before taking off.  He just didn't seem to know what to do since I didn't rear end him.  I was hoping we could discuss the matter in person, but he just stayed in his car for a while, then drove off. :dunno

 

I wish I would have had a camera on my dash yesterday.  A crazy truck driver was swerving all over the road trying to stop me from passing him in a legal passing area (dashed line, straight stretch, could see for about a mile).  He was blocking traffic about three cars behind the salt truck, doing 30 kph.:mad:nono:

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