davluri makes an excellent series of comments in his post concerning the Stein Eriksen collision with a 9 yr old boy. It is ALL ABOUT the intent of the rules. Situations are fluid and rules cannot account for every potential event.
Yes the rules/skier-code calls for the downhill skier right-of-way but COMMON sense and AWARENESS dictates that one should look up or even give a sidehill glance at the very least when ABRUPT and UPREDICTABLE changes of direction could unduly surprise the uphill skier in ANY situation or position on the hill - especially from a blind location like sidehill trees for godsakes. Let's get real here. Good skiers always ski in control relative to the variables listed above but good skiers will also frequently carry controlled speed near the trees at the edge of a run - afterall trails are only so wide in some areas - this is a fact of life and always will be - so be advised, this is a reality.
KEEPING your eyes open and always using PERIPHERAL VISION is key for all skiers - uphill or downhill. All considered I believe that the child was clearly at fault - and his parents should have instructed the boy not to ever blindly enter a run unless he is certain per visual confirmation that it is clear to jutt out into the hill unexpectedly. I have been skiing since I was 18 months old and have skied all over the world - my parents taught me from the beginning that it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to blindly enter a ski trail from the trees or from another trail for that matter - and to always look quickly uphill if I'm going to make abrupt directional changes. I have been preaching this for YEARS!! No uphill skier of even the greatest ability on earth carrying any speed at all could always avoid a blindside entrance by a skier period! The determining crash factor may also be at what point of the turn arc and where on-edge an uphill skier is (not only speed) when a blind skier entrance on the hill occurs. This is just a luck/chance issue as outcome determinant.
Happy Skiing to ALL...and look uphill please!
- Always look uphill before entering a trail. Clearly the child was at fault in this situation. You do not just fly out onto an open trail from the trees.
As far as responsibility on an open slope, although it is prudent to be aware of your surroundings, it is the responsibility of the uphill party to avoid the downhill party, period, end of story, no contest, no debate, case closed.
If a surprise move by a downhill skier would cause you to collide with him/her then you are either skiing too close to that skier or lack the requisite skills and ability to react in such a situation and should not be skiing in close proximity to others. Generally, this means skiers who ride the tails and skid and cannot react in time to change their direction.
There have to be certain rules of the road. Adding all kinds of nonsense about a downhill rider always having to look behind him/her simply confuses the issue of responsibility and creates chaos. You, as the uphill rider, have the duty and the legal responsibility to avoid what is in front of you. If you do not or cannot understand this rule, cannot obey this rule, or believe it is the respnsibility of the downhill rider to pay attention to the riders behind him/her, then you do not belong on the hill. You are a danger to everyone else as well as yourself. Please do not ski or board. Thank You.