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Rider safety questions...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I was reading the Helmut topic and thought I’d post another topic of discussion that seemed to crop up in the Helmut discussion quite often. That issue is one of safety. It seems that skier’s/boarder’s (rider’s) are involved in quite a few accidents where they were hit by someone else.

At my frequented resort they are following a plan of first educate then enforce. A team of people, not Ski Patrol, are responsible for enforcing the rider’s “responsibility code,” and speed control in designated ‘slow’ areas. Wherein this team will cruise the hill or are posted at key areas on the hill to look for irresponsible riding. Once spotted, the offending rider will first be educated on what they did that risked the safety of others. If after another offense, depending upon the severity, the rider may have their ticket clipped.

What is the ski resorts responsibility for providing for safety?
What is the rider’s responsibility?
Who enforces these and how are these responsibilities enforced?
What type of offense justifies clipping a ticket?

Just interested to hear what people have to say about this?
post #2 of 10
They have tried this at a few places I have skied with 'courtesy patrollers' however I think this approach they had was flawed for several reasons.

Their only focus was on speed, not safety. They pulled whoever happened to be going fastest on a slope regardless of how much control they were in and how few people were on the slope. But most importantly they did not enforce the rest of the responsiblilty code, in particular 'stop only where you can be seen from above'. One run was split down the centre into a fast lane and a slow lane but the fast lane had a sudden rollover in it and there would often be beginners sittting on the blind side, oblivious of the danger, but the courtesy patrollers completely ignored this.

They focused on 'educating' good skiers on the dangers of speed instead of showing beginner skiers how to recognise and manage the hazards on the mountain, which is why they were widely despised and had no respect from good skiers on the mountain. The only part of the responsiblity code they knew was 'go slow'
post #3 of 10
Safety patrol function best when they are making friends and educating. Patrols that focus on enforcement tend to breed conflict and a feeling that safety is the job of the red-jacketed-SOB’s only (why get involved if safety = yelling at people trying to have fun). Education and guest services is the responsibility of all mountain employees. We give out cocoa/Pepsi cards that have the rider’s code on the backside of a coupon for a beverage. You tell the rider why you are giving them the card (good or bad) and tell them to study the card and enjoy the soda compliments of the resort. All employees have the cards and are encouraged to pass them out.
post #4 of 10
my brother and i were skiing at Okemo in the late 80's. Maching down the right edge of a hard, vacant groomer. We were running tip to tail on 212 super g skiis, hauling ass and shadowing each other, passing and really just having fun. We used to do this alot it felt like you were part of the blue angels or something. Anyone who has ever skied with someone for years, so you can totally predict their every move knows how much fun this can be. Granted, we were probably going better than 40 mph, but we were the only ones on the trail besides a ski patroller, and we were in perfect control. as we went by the ski patroller, he yelled "stop!!", we both threw them sideways and very quickly came to a stop, standing about 6" away from each other.

The patroller skied up to us and started yelling, like spit from the mouth pissed off "you guys were out of control!!"

My brother's response "just because you'd be out of control at that speed doesnt mean we were".

im not sure if our passes were pulled because we were skiing too fast or because my brother is a smart ass.

If he were talking about our speed, he may have had a point. But we were far from out of control.
post #5 of 10
I totally think that patrols should focus on the imcometitant idiots out there insted the good people who ski fast and in control. (See my post about the guy I slid into who was sitting in the middle of the slope.) Who cares how fast you ski as long as you can stop? I defintly like the idea of Pepsi/coke cards with the responsibiblty code on the back :-D. Resorts also need to teach the Responsibility code better in ski school. One guy I was skiing with ran into me during a lesson and claimed that the uphill skiier has right of way!!!
post #6 of 10
There is some logic to stopping those skiers who ski fast on a crowded slope. Sure, you may be in perfect control at high speeds, but when you pass someone and are relatively close to them, they have a tendency to panic. Since they are already concentrating so hard just to survive and their concentration is shifted, they lose control and become a danger. All of this is a result of the fast skier flying by, perhaps a little too close to the beginner. Remember, the skiers responsibility code gives the slower skier the right of way, so if you cause them to crash because you are travelling too fast, it's your fault. Speed control is by far the worst job that patrollers do. They hate it, you hate it, and it becomes incredibly confrontational. Just slow down when you are on a crowded run. If you want to go fast, find a run that is not crowded.
post #7 of 10
I like the idea about the bevy cards (WTFH I think that you can trade 5 cards in for a pint!! ), whether the person is in the right or the wrong.

The point here is awarness of our responsiblity for our well being as well of those around us. Think back to when we all started and we were the beginner feeling aour way down the slopes only to have the **** scared out of us by a speed demon. For some it is all that was needed to turn them off of the sport. I don't think that it is that hard to respect others around us on the slopes and the code that is in place to help ensure a good time for all.

And when you find yourself alone at the top of a run first thing in the morning and virgin snow beneath your skis, I see nothing wrong with turning it up a notch as long as you can control your speed as pointed out above.
post #8 of 10
Hijack posts and attacks removed from this thread. This is a legit topic, so let those interested discuss it. No more derailing, please. Thanks.
post #9 of 10
Isn't this just a natural consequence of more high speed lifts, buffed out groomers, easy skiing/riding equipement etc.?!

Also, considering how many crappy drivers there are on the highways today, I think we're actually lucky that there aren't more gappers on the hill.

This topic reminds me of PCMR last year trying to designate a few runs as skier or boarder only - and have their "courtesy patrol" enforce that - what a fiasco!

Ah well, I guess that if resorts feel compelled to send their own version of the highway patrol onto the slopes, they should be consistant in their efforts and use actual ski professionals as opposed to volunteers who in many cases that I've seen can barely make it down the mountain. If you are to judge shouldn't you have the skills?

Ok, enough enough - I'm breaking out the skins and going somewhere I don't even have to think about this!
post #10 of 10

I kind of agree that it has to do with changes in the technology of skiing, combined with more people on the slopes. But mostly i think it has to do with people on the hills who havent been skiing for long. They either dont know the skier code, or more likely take it as the bible. Being in compliance with a small set of rules really doesnt mean you can safely go through life blissfully ignorant of your surroundings. Kind of like defensive versus offensive driving.

Really the only time i bomb the hill anymore is when i cant find any soft snow. And that is a rare day!

When its hard, there is little do to for fun but ski groomer fast. There definitely have been days when i went home because i was concerned someone was going to get hurt.

I think in my life, i've hit two people by accident when it was my fault (32yrs on skiis). One of them was my buddy last season, but i still claim that just because he was downhill from me and skiing slower doesnt give him the right to ski directly in front of a 220# moron straightlining Bridger's South Bowl. Anyone who skiis with me often knows if im not in front of you, im working on it.

However, i have had some rather dramatic wrecks trying to save someone elses ass when they are standing in a blind spot, or entering a slope without looking uphill. Mostly, i understand what the consequences would be for those people if they were involved in a high speed collision with me. Even if they dont seem concerned, i will (usually [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] ) do whatever i can to avoid the collision. The look of terror is its own reward

I really do believe that the people who are the biggest danger are the ones who believe that they are absolved of any responsibility for their actions because they are downhill. People standing where they cant be seen, or entering a trail without looking up hill are as much of a danger as those who ski fast. And dont even get me started on people who stand on traverses! Dont they know that momentum on the traverse is among the powderhounds most precious commodities??

Its not just a simple set of rules. Its about knowing your abilities and the mountain and paying attention to what is going on around you. 30 may be too fast on a new england groomer on president's weekend, while lining bronco face just after it got groomed on a weekday morning when it hasnt snowed in 2 weeks is dangerous only to the person doing it.

All this is reminding me of a funny story.

I was skiing in Italy with my little brother and dad in 1988 i think. We were staying in Courmayeur but took a day trip to Cervinia. While skiing Cervinia, we got lost and ended up at Zermatt. After finally negotiating our way back to the Italian side of the alps we needed to get moving to catch our bus. I was in the lead, skiing pretty fast on a run i had never skied before. Dad and bro behind me. I hooked an edge and went down pretty hard. Yard sale all over the place. Dad and bro skiied up, checked to see if i was alright, then continued on while i collected my gear.
Dad and bro skiied on a bit further, rounded a corner, dropped down a little rise. Dad, knowing me and how fast i would be coming up, saw something that could be pretty interesting. So he called my bro and they stopped on the side of the run to watch me come down. As dad guessed, i came around that corner trying to catch up, i flew off the little drop and while airborn i saw what my dad had seen. A group of about 20 Italians SUNBATHING in the middle of the slope. I realized while airborne that i likely to run right through the middle. so i threw my skiis sideways, landed braking, dropped enough speed i could get a good edge and shot across the trail. I came to a stop, just in time to watch a big spray of snow settle on the shirtsleeves and less sunbathers.
With dad and my bro giggling, we skiied off to a chorus of interesting Italian words and hand gestures.
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