Originally Posted by JohnH
...As for "why always snowboarders?", here's my theory. It has nothing to do with blind heel sides. It has to do with the fact that it's so easy to learn to stand up and go fast and straight on a board, and to just throw it sideways to kill speed. You get a lot of young, aggessive people who learn only that much and start bombing hills with little ability to move themselves across the fall line once they get a head of steam going. They bomb the hill and point the board in the general direction they want to go, and if someone gets in their path, they don't have the skill to avoid the collision...
IMHO, JohnH's theory is 100% on the mark.
One example doesn't prove a point, but the incident related below one speaks directly to John's theory.
Last weekend I had 3 preteen girls in a level 4 lesson. We are all standing way to the edge of our main upper level green slope waiting for traffic to clear. I'm uphill of all the students. I notice a boarder (early 20's) heading right for us, moving fast. I keep thinking he'll just make a turn and arc away from us.
Of course, he doesn't, and when he gets 20 or 30 or so feet away, he sits down on his butt, and still keeps coming in an absolutely straight line. I could probably have gotten out of his way, but there's no way my students could have, so, for some bizarre reason I reflexively plant the tips of both of my poles hard into the snow, uphill from me in exactly his direction, forming a steep ramp with them. He hits the ramp with his board, his board rides up the ramp stopping just below my hands (whoops ... I hadn't thought of that minor problem), and a split second later, he is stopped in this rather humorous position with his board up in the air, laying on his back, holding a calm conversation with me.
After I check that he is OK, I ask him if he knows how to turn, and he says "No". He does this with absolutely no malice, sarcasm or embarrassment. I then ask him (while he still is in this position), if he thinks that turning might be something useful to know, and he says something like, "Maybe, but wouldn't it slow me down?". Amazing ... absolutely f-ing amazing.
That's what these kids really seem to think skiing and riding is all about, so what can you do other than be vigilant.
Tom / PM
PS - I eventually let him regain his dignity and let his board slide back down my poles.