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Can skiers have some culpability for being hit by others

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
I am wondering about this as I sit and think. I get hit an average of 5 to 10 times in a season. Mind you our resort is very crowded. All most all of those hits are from skiers/boarders hitting me from behind while I am skiing. Very few of those hits have been when I am standing and I many cases the skier/rider is not a beginner. Some of those hits have been from other instructors trying to follow my path without my being aware that they are there. Could a lot of it be the way that I ski and if so, am I culpable?
One of the reasons why I have never been bored skiing even a green slope, is because I continuously read little terrain features in much the same way as a pro golfer reads a green. I continuously vary the size, and shape of my turns and change lines frequently by suddenly moving sideways out of the present line. I can speed up, slow down fast and change lines all with a smooth flow that probably dosen't give many pre manuever clues from behind. Most of my turns are short radius with line changes short radius/traverse/short radius. Others have commented that it is very difficult to follow me even when I am just skiing along on a green. I have even become aware of the fact that its a game with some of the other instructors. Powdigger can probably verify what I am saying as he has followed me before. I guess I have never thought much about the culpablity part before. I just know that from other threads, not everyone gets hit as often as I do and most of you who have been hit, are hit standing or blindsided. All of these skiers/boarders can see me well before passing me.
post #2 of 53
When it comes to style, i think you should ski the way you want to as long as this doesnt imply the unsafety of others. In this case it doesnt imply that, cause you are the men downhill, and they are uphill, so they must be aware of you, no matter how unpredictable your turns are.
I personally try to avoid following the same track with another skier, when he`s a few meters (yards, sorry) in front. I dont like this , i only did it when the instructor put me to it, a few times.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 02, 2002 06:14 AM: Message edited 2 times, by Danone ]</font>
post #3 of 53
Well Pierre, since I do much as you, only I will carve many medium size turns which, despite moving like a bat out of hell, bring me around across and sometimes even uphill, skiers have told me that they expected me to start my next turn way before I do and thus think I'll be out of their way but I seem to continue around and that confuses them.

As you, I ski the terrain and when I come to a sharp drop off I may do very quick short turns with hard edge set to keep my speed constant (braking?) and skiers just fly by me and I had them even cursing at me.

As far as boarders are concerned, when they are in my vincinity I just presume that they don't have much control and can't stop on a dime and try to stay away from them. Also, when three boarders are on the chair in front of me I just assume that they probably will fall when getting off and I'll have to avoid them.

It happened yesterday and their snowboards were blocking the off ramp completely, being crosswise, and although the skier riding with me sat down to avoid them, I skied across one of the boards and that guy was screaming bloody murder at me for doing so. I looked at him, shrugged and skied off before he even got up.

post #4 of 53
I can't beleive how often some people get hit! I don't recall ever having been hit. The skiing you describe sounds a lot like mine too.

In answer to your question, I think that the person that gets hit can be at fault (although I'm not saying that in your case you were). Over Christmas, I came within inches of clipping a snowboarder who had chosen to sit on the downhill side of a dropoff. I came over it at speed and had to take evasive actions. She's lucky that she didn't get speared. I guess I am too...
post #5 of 53
Of course they can. Sounds like you have a clear picture of what leads to the collisions. Guess that is the price you are willing to pay for your rhythm changes. Wouldn't that be a good time to turn to the hitter and suggest a lesson (from you)?
Anytime that I have been the hitter (it has happened) it is some strange(at least, my opinion) change up, sudden traverse, out of control tail ride(theirs) that has lead to it. It is hard, as you know to keep away on the Madwaste hills. You look for the rhythms or lack of... I guess it is like human tree skiing, you look for the openings.
Perhaps it is heightened by shapes and the amount of time folks can spend out of the fall line.
Maybe some version of a tractor-trailer "this vehicle makes wide turns..."?!
post #6 of 53
Pierre, eh!, I think you've answered your own question. If you are going to make unexpected line changes repeatedly in crowded conditions, you are more likely to get hit.

I've skied an average 90-100 days a year since 1970, and I've not been hit once in that time period. But I almost always take a consistent line and make turns that go with that line. In really crowded circumstances, I usually stay to an edge.

Since the two times I did get mowed down, one of which led to an injury that pained me for nearly 10 years, and the other took one of my bindings off the ski, I've always made an effort to listen for someone approaching me from behind. One of the few nice things about skiing mostly on hard snow is that you CAN hear people approaching from behind.

Anyway, I would follow your practice of going for an inviting terrain feature only if I knew there was no one behind me that might not be able to adjust to my change of line.
post #7 of 53
Hey Ott, you should tell the folks you ski over to yell at the lift operator not at you. When sliders fall getting off (and lots of skiers do too), the operator should be stopping the lift.
post #8 of 53
If you are skiing on a crowded green slope I think you should try and be as consistent as possible. A lot of the people behind you are on a green because they can't ski anything else. If someone in front of you does something unexpected I'm sure you are a great skier and can avoid them; if you do something unexpected in front of a beginner then they probably can't.

I've never been hit, but I've had to take some very sharp avoiding actions when people have stopped suddenly in front of me in the middle of the slope. I realise you don't exactly do that, but maybe what you do has the same effect?
post #9 of 53
Gosh Pierre eh!
I thought you went too fast to get hit??!
When it's the game to match your turns then I think they are not winning when they hit you so be sure to razz em real good.
post #10 of 53
Kneale, after the liftie in the booth woke up and stopped the chair it was for the chair behind me. My chair was going around the bull wheel aready.

Our layout is such, that when I ski back to the lodge from the best slope way to the side, I shortswing across three slopes in what would be considered a steep traverse, crossing downhill traffic on those three slopes. The reason I turn all the way across is that at every uphill turn I'm in position to look up the hill for oncoming traffic and make moves to avoid it.

What amazes me is that some folks in the lodge come up to me and say they saw me make turns going "across" a slope and how do you do that? [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #11 of 53
In the interests of self-preservation I always look back before doing layout carves or any other such adrupt or cross-hill manuever. However in court I think it would play out that as "Our Safety Code" says: the downhill skier has the right of way. Its like driving, you should always assume that the person in front of you may stop or turn at any moment, and be ready for it.
post #12 of 53
I can't believe this group is even questioning this (again) ! With the exceptions of entering onto a run from the side "THE DOWNHILL SKIER/RIDER HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY".
Yes the smart thing to do is check up the hill like Tod has stated, and yes it's asking for trouble if following close and in the same line as another , these things are common sense (a thing which seems to be in short supply these days).
post #13 of 53
I'm with Todd. Whenever I change my line or want to use more or the hill I look over my shoulder to check the traffic before making the move. I have never been hit from behind while skiing. Most of the hits have been from boarders coming out of the woods or jumping a return trail when I was on it.
post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 
Would it help if I say that I am usually going maybe twice as fast as the beginners and many of my quick changes are to avoid beginners AND give them a wide berth. I am usually hit from behind by someone going maybe five times as fast as the beginners.
post #15 of 53
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Leeroy:
I can't believe this group is even questioning this (again) ! With the exceptions of entering onto a run from the side "THE DOWNHILL SKIER/RIDER HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY".
... these things are common sense (a thing which seems to be in short supply these days).

A surprising number of skiers and riders seem to be totally ignorant of the Responsibility Code. That, to me, is why this question keeps coming up. Pierre, I would make a distinction between being a contributing factor to a collision and being to blame for a collision. Your skiing technique that you describe might indeed make you a more challanging person to pass on a crowded ski hill, therefore contributing to a higher chance that you will get hit, but it DOESN'T CHANGE the fact that Leeroy pointed out, it's the uphill skier that HAS TO STAY CLEAR. I was always taught another part of the Code (which I'm not sure is still considered part of the Code - no one seems to mention it these days) which is that when you stop on the hill, you need to do so in such a way that you are a)not obstructing the run and b)are visible to other skiers/riders.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 02, 2002 09:24 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Tag ]</font>
post #16 of 53
Can I add a third bit of the responsibility code:

Always look uphill before starting.

post #17 of 53

It is just your reputation that has people following you.

But back on topic. There seems to be a misconception on our crowded slopes that once you pick a path through the fall-line you own it. Western skiers will have no concept of the crowd on our little hill but I will assure you that I have probably made turns wider than our entire area when out west. :

Anyway, I have developed this little twitch from looking up hill so much. I have not been hit yet but it will happen as long has Pierre has us tracking his turns in our instructor clinics.


Ps. Pierre how did the shoulder hold up!?
post #18 of 53
Hey, Ed, I'd guess Pierre, eh! reapprised himself of the fact it's easier to get up (and less strain on the shoulder) when you're on a hill than when you're in the flats of the liftline.
post #19 of 53
Pierre eh!:

As a matter of custom, three instructors will take off on a run that is very wide open and conducive to speed. We make big sweeping GS turns and meet in a lower meadow. Generally, we are aware of each others position but are sometimes in tail. Knowing the "game plan", I would be a fool to start jamming short swing turns if I did not have situational awareness regarding the whereabouts of the other two.

With other groups (no game plan), all bets would be off and the conventional rules would apply.
post #20 of 53
'fault' is a tough word. but regarding collisions, you highly increase your chances of being hit if you ski in a certain manner. if this is something you are willing to live with, more power to you. if not, try skiing less crowded and more open slopes.

think of it like this: compare skiing to driving a car. when you are driving, other drivers are expecting certain things from you and they drive with these expectations in mind. they expect you drive at a resonable minimum speed for the road (highway=diamond, main road=square, side street=green). they also expect that you will drive in a predictable manner, straight and between the lines.

if you're driving near someone who is not holding true to most drivers expectations, the chances of a crash increase. same with skiing, their are expectations when you are skiing near another person.

i've been on square trails with an easy pitch, perfect groom, and trying to pass only a single skiier with no one else in sight... and this simple task can become quite complicated if the skiier is taking a meandering line, randomly turning, or using the whole slope.

i never get upset at skiiers that ski differently than me; i use extra caution and vocalize my intent to pass to warn people. but few people are as patient or couteous.

in all aspects of life, always be aware that the freedoms you take and enjoy will eventually piss someone off... or someone who doesn't like your style won't even consider it before nailing ya.
post #21 of 53
In the "olden times", we just used to holler ....... "track right or left" .... in order to pass.

I thought that was part of the written code back then.
post #22 of 53
As you know, it gets crowded at the Valley some times, (Today) I never make a move laterly without taking a look over my shoulder anymore. I always expect the unexpected from people I am overtaking. This I learned after destroying a man on Morningstar three years ago. It's also why I am usually the one to jumpin first. You get the fresh tracks this way also. I know the moves of the guys I ski with and know what to expect. There are guys I will never follow because I don't know what they will do or when they are going to wipe. Ya just gotta go with the way you feel. "Feel the power Danny" "Be the Ball" But never forget to "Be careful"
post #23 of 53
In golf, we yelled "FORE!" While skiing and approaching a skier downhill, we yelled "TRACK!" or "ON YOUR LEFT!" or whatever. These days, I almost never hear any verbal communication of that sort. Perhaps the areas should encourage it and include it as a part of every ski lesson. I think that this collision business is probably my greatest fear in skiing - not even so much getting hit as hitting someone else - so I ski constantly with that in mind. Perhaps if more skiers would have that fear, there would be less to fear.
post #24 of 53
In skiing there is no game plan. To survive we need to take ownership of our personal self-preservation. Remember defensive driving applies to all drivers.

If you have been hit so many times then you need to take some ownership of the problem.

Sure the law is clear but who wants to put their body on the line to test it.

Be aware ... be humble ... own.

post #25 of 53
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>continuously read little terrain features in much the same way as a pro golfer reads a green<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How interesting. I do the same, they are all like little moguls and my body reacts to them automatically from experience. I have been keenly aware of the subtle shapes of everything in front of my skis since long ago when I was a novice. Thought others ignored small shapes.

Quite a contrast in the number of people who collide between you and Kneale. Through many years, I can remember bumping skis together a few times, and slightly bumping into skiers at slow speed near lift mazes, and being hit harmlessly by others a few times at modest speed on the slopes, but I have never run into anyone myself. I probably have had a lot more close calls.

I have always noticed if there is a crowded slope, that a lot of skiers, like sheep, tend to ski together. One person starts going then several others start going as though it was some psychological trigger. Thus I often wait to go until a zone without active skiers opens. On the other hand, as someone who tends to ski efficiently, I tend to make a lot of non stop runs which often requires changing one's line in order to move away from slower or stopped skiers below. Generally skiing through crowded areas is easy except in steeper terrain there is sometimes a problem with novice skiers who are zig zagging across the slope without bothering to watch for fall line skiers coming down. If I see they may interfere with my line and I catch their eye, I sometimes will yell something down like "DON'T" which usually causes them to stop. Although the uphill skier is responsible for avoiding a down the hill skier, a skier over their ability level in terrain where advanced skiers are taking fall lines, needs to practice in such challenging terrain by keeping a keen eye uphill so as not to disturb the lines of approaching fall lines skiers.

Another thing which just occurred this weekend and which I've seen before is I started skiing down a mogul run with a few stopped skiers below me. After passing the other skiers, going down a few hundred vertical feet suddenly one guy zips buy right beside me then bails soon afterward from going out of control. Sort of disrupted me and I had to fight to regain balance. I suspect the guy decided to try and mimic my form by skiing behind me. Because I have good speed control in bumps following me is not easy.

Wear the fox hat:
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Always look uphill before starting<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was having a long smooth bump run this weekend when an intermediate did not bother to look uphill and started going down my same line. I had to vector way off my line suddenly which caused me to lose rhythm and bail...pissed me off. -dave
post #26 of 53
I would like to echo what Tag and others have said. Somehow the skiers responsibility code seems to have fallen by the way side. I've only been hit once but it was enough.

My other pet peeve is snowboarders and a whole lot of skers more recently who stop anywhere on the slope that pleases them mostly in the center)which compounds the potential for collisions or interferes with a potentially great run) Whatever happpened to moving off to the side of the slope to rest etc.?
post #27 of 53
Stopping at the side of the trail is now pointless-no matter how close you are to the side, boarders will still ride between you and the trees.

Leeroy has it EXACTLY right!!
The uphill skier has an absolute responsibility to the skier who is downhill from him/her. The downhill skier can turn, stop, have sex-do anything without having the expectation of being hit.
Reading some of the posts, it seems that unless one makes predictable consistent turns, you are, somehow, responsible if a passing skier runs you over.
It really is verging on idiocy to say that the downhill skier has some culpability if run into. Maybe, these people would demand that all skiers ski in a pre-determined manner, at a pre-determined speed, in designated lanes!! Damn-that is not why we ski.
I despise out-of-control skiers who run into other slope users, and have physically restrained a snow-boarder who ran into one of my students, and have protected them with wide pole swings. Basically, I feel that anyone who skis close enough to me to get hit by my poles is too DAMN close!!
After being seriously injured by an out of control skier, if another one should EVER hit me, they better pray that I am rendered immobile, 'cos I know that I will respond violently!
It pains me to see the well informed members of this forum making excuses for arrant stupidity on the slopes. Colorado got it fairly right by making this behavior criminal-unfortunately, there seems to be a support movement for the thug who killed another skier.
Please accept no diminution of the tenets of the Skier's Responsibility Code.
post #28 of 53
this past sunday i was skiing and did what i always do: enjoy skiing the sides of the trails for the best snow. and i always stop on the sides of the trails to allow traffic flow through the center.

however, for the first time, i felt rude stopping on the side of the trail. cause i saw other skiers like me loving the softer, fresher snow on the sides of the trails.

pretty funny, eh? sides are still the best place to stop though, despite upsetting the rhythm of an edge hugger such as myself. few people track the far edges, and they are most able to avoid a stopped skiier.
post #29 of 53
>>>a skier over their ability level in terrain where advanced skiers are taking fall lines, needs to practice in such challenging terrain by keeping a keen eye uphill so as not to disturb the lines of approaching fall lines skiers.<<<

Dave, you are wrong.. ...Ott
post #30 of 53

The body mechanics that you suggest put everyone below you on their uphill outside edge?
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