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THE CODE! Exception for beginners? - Page 3

post #61 of 72
First off, I think there needs to be a separation made between helping and being empathetic towards a novice, and holding him accountable for his decisions. If I see somebody struggling on a slope, I'm going to do my best to help. I spend a lot of my time supervising lessons, which means skiing around the mountain making sure everything is okay. I'm in uniform, and I would say for every run that I make checking lessons, I stop at least 4 times to help somebody, or give somebody a tip. Now while I'm doing my best to help them, I also gently remind them or introduce them to the Code, especially the first point. I'll say something like "Try this, see if it helps you get down. I realize you're having trouble here, you may want to ski 'x' trail until you're doing better. Please keep in mind that you need to be in control wherever you are skiing, and you are responsible for your safety and the safety of your fellow skiers." Sounds ridiculous, but I've said that exact thing to many people. Am I assisting and being empathetic? Absolutely. Am I being lenient or giving them a pass on the Responsibilty Code. Absolutely not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whippersnapper View Post



When a skier (other than an instructor in a lesson) is snowplowing down a blue run, he is violating the first rule.  The PSIA created a monster with the tiny-ski snowplow learning method.  Yet they have denied responsibility for the countless accidents and injuries arising from their teaching methods.  When a novice skier has spent more time in snowplow than parallel stance, he has a very tough challenge in transitioning to real skiing.  Am I wrong?  More than half the people on blue runs on my local hill are skidding via wedge/snowplow and aren't doing their knees or egos any favors.  What about your hill (everybody's)?

Whip, I respect that you have your right to your opinion, and I rarely do this, but your comment is categorically wrong. A skier can ski a double black, 45 degree slope in a wedge, and not be violating the first point in the Code. The Code does not say that a skier must be skiing parallel in control. It says they must be in control and able to avoid other people and objects. Is a wedge the most comfortable way to ski? No. Does it automatically mean that a skier is out of control? Not even in the least bit. I routinely take 4 year olds down blue runs. They are all skiing in wedges. They are following the turns I lay down the entire way down the slope. They stop where I have them stop. They are in control. Of the thousands of children I have taught to ski, I have had to bring exactly two to ski patrol. Only one went in a toboggan. Both were parallel skiers. One ran into a tree while we were in a glade. The other was blindsided by a snowboarder who was straightlining down a hill. Wedge does not equal out of control. Suggesting otherwise on an open forum is frankly irresponsible, and can give many people the wrong idea.
post #62 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

A skier can ski a double black, 45 degree slope in a wedge, and not be violating the first point in the Code. The Code does not say that a skier must be skiing parallel in control. It says they must be in control and able to avoid other people and objects. Is a wedge the most comfortable way to ski? No. Does it automatically mean that a skier is out of control? Not even in the least bit. 


It's pretty rare to find an adult who's wedging and in control on a steep. Skiers who are wedging don't typically have very good lateral balance, and have a hard time weighting their outside ski throughout the turn. Consequently, as they enter the fall line, their weight tends to fall to the inside ski, which is still pointed more down the hill. Sometimes this can get their skis across the hill through a shoulder check... but generally they're way outside their skill limit. As has already been mentioned, once a novice loses control in their wedge, it takes even more effort to regain control. I'm not saying it's impossible for an adult to do a wedge down a steep--I just wouldn't want to do it myself, I wouldn't bring a wedging lesson group to a black, and I wouldn't want to be a witness to the poor adult in a wedge down a black.
post #63 of 72
If he can avoid other skiers and objects, he is in control.
post #64 of 72
There may be some confusion between two different concepts.

1 - can he avoid other skiers and objects - if yes, there's no code violation period. Regardless of whether he's in wedge and regardless of whether he's going slow.

2 - is it a good idea for him to be on a blue/black in terms of learning to ski better. This is a more complicated question and is typically not your business unless you're helping him learn, are a family member or instructor or he asks for advice. It is perfectly feasible to be in control but not developing your skills while wedging down a black and that is not a code violation.

Some new skiers go down blacks just to face their fears or understand (figuratively and literally) the lay of the land to see how much they need to improve.
post #65 of 72
I'll give a person a break right until they slam into me or endanger other skiers.  Any scarecrow skier straightlining because they clearly cannot buy a turn does not deserve my consideration.  I've been narrowly missed twice (once by inches) this year and am not in a forgiving mood -- my finances are already in tatters with hospital bills. 
post #66 of 72
 We hope, sibhusky, that this problem with hospital bills will soon end.  

I understand your point, though.  The other day, a young snowboarder smacked into my son, who had just started his turn on a wide open, empty slope.  He couldn't have gone more than a couple feet, so she was cutting him close, wasn't in control, and hit him hard in the back.  

Was she wrong?  Boy I thought so -- made me mad.  On the other hand, she was pretty shook up herself, and she knew she was wrong.  She asked him if he was ok, dusted him off, and looked sheepish.  Pretty clear to me that she'd learned a lesson, and since my son wasn't hurt, it gets a pass from me.  She was totally wrong, but if I'd gone in and climbed her tree, which I had every right to do, the lesson would have been lost right there.  Her chagrin would have turned to something else.  Even if he had been hurt -- or I was hurt, I'd consider a pass.  Or maybe especially -- the trauma of hurting someone is a pretty wicked lesson.  Maybe this isn't a policy, but it's something to think about.

On the other hand, if it had been some hotshot, juiced up, screw-you-if-you're-not-a-double-black-avalanche-chaser-cliff-jumper, ripping down a blue slope into a slow zone (pretending to be Bode Miller) -- and he trashed my son for being in his way -- I'd have removed his head and served it on a ski pole.  (Some people need harder lessons.) 
post #67 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
...Whip, I respect that you have your right to your opinion, and I rarely do this, but your comment is categorically wrong. A skier can ski a double black, 45 degree slope in a wedge, and not be violating the first point in the Code. The Code does not say that a skier must be skiing parallel in control. It says they must be in control and able to avoid other people and objects. Is a wedge the most comfortable way to ski? No. Does it automatically mean that a skier is out of control? Not even in the least bit. I routinely take 4 year olds down blue runs. They are all skiing in wedges. They are following the turns I lay down the entire way down the slope. They stop where I have them stop. They are in control. Of the thousands of children I have taught to ski, I have had to bring exactly two to ski patrol. Only one went in a toboggan. Both were parallel skiers. One ran into a tree while we were in a glade. The other was blindsided by a snowboarder who was straightlining down a hill. Wedge does not equal out of control. Suggesting otherwise on an open forum is frankly irresponsible, and can give many people the wrong idea.
Freeski, I was wrong.

I won't contradict someone who has so much direct evidence.  Small kids can maintain control in many situations where adults cannot.

Also you're right, if _any_ skier maintains reasonable control, he is in compliance, regardless of method.

Still, I haven't seen anybody, young or old, stop well using a wedge/plow from moderate or greater speed on a fairly steep slope.  And I cannot recall seeing _any_ skier quickly stop in the wedge or plow position when moving fast.  Like everyone here, I've seen kids go fast in a wedge/plow, and seen them follow a leader at moderate speed with accuracy and discipline.  But when there is an accident approaching, there is no substitute for a either a diversion that increases speed or a fast stop.  Parallel skiing is safest for the diversion, and a hockey stop is much better than wedge/plow braking.  My wife is a beginner and learned to hockey stop (on her first day on skis) before getting proficient with a plow.  I urged her to do it, and she did from the start.  She finds it much easier to stop that way because it always is.  And once a hockey stop is in the pocket, parallel skiing can be safely pursued. 

I do think it is responsible to present to prospective skiers the relative merits of learning in the current PSIA method versus a direct-to-parallel approach.  I continue to believe the PSIA learning method is improper for most skiers.

Thank you for your civil and considered reply.
Edited by whippersnapper - 3/28/10 at 5:17pm
post #68 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by whippersnapper View Post



Freeski, I was wrong.

I won't contradict someone who has so much direct evidence.  Small kids can maintain control in many situations where adults cannot.

Also you're right, if _any_ skier maintains reasonable control, he is in compliance, regardless of method.

Still, I haven't seen anybody, young or old, stop well using a wedge/plow from moderate or greater speed on a fairly steep slope.  And I cannot recall seeing _any_ skier quickly stop in the wedge or plow position when moving fast.  Like everyone here, I've seen kids go fast in a wedge/plow, and seen them follow a leader at moderate speed with accuracy and discipline.  But when there is an accident approaching, there is no substitute for a either a diversion that increases speed or a fast stop.  Parallel skiing is safest for the diversion, and a hockey stop is much better than wedge/plow braking.  My wife is a beginner and learned to hockey stop (on her first day on skis) before getting proficient with a plow.  I urged her to do it, and she did from the start.  She finds it much easier to stop that way because it always is.  And once a hockey stop is in the pocket, parallel skiing can be safely pursued. 

I do think it is responsible to present to prospective skiers the relative merits of learning in the current PSIA method versus a direct-to-parallel approach.  I continue to believe the PSIA learning method is improper for most skiers.

Thank you for your civil and considered reply.

 

This reply by Whippersnapper really got my attention.  As you will notice I have a few posts on Epic and personally I would like to congratulate  you on you explanation/answer.  It is refreshing to see such a mature, well thought out and cordial reply.  Something that is often not present when ski ego's are displayed  on the internet.  Welcome to Epic - sincerely.
post #69 of 72
LOST: ego size XXXL someplace in the ether, please return to the guy under the rug...

Thank you Pete for your very kind words and welcome.

How powerful and inspiring a few words can be--you helped me a lot today.
post #70 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'll give a person a break right until they slam into me or endanger other skiers.  Any scarecrow skier straightlining because they clearly cannot buy a turn does not deserve my consideration.  I've been narrowly missed twice (once by inches) this year and am not in a forgiving mood -- my finances are already in tatters with hospital bills. 
 


No kidding!!!!!  Under 18's especially, do not understand the consequences!!  If you are hit, and break or fracture your leg, what are the consequences??  First, ambulance.  A ambulance from the ski resort to a hospital is going to very easily be at least 30 miles.  Ambulances charge what, $600 -$1000 a mile?  That is about $18,000.  Lets say 4 days in the hospital.  I have heard just the room costs $1000.  So that will be many times $4000.  You are at over $20,000 and that does not account for lost income, and the fact that it will probably be way more than that, plus I did not even take into account rehabilitation or lost income!!
post #71 of 72
 They don't get a pass from me. That's a perfect example of why "friends don't let friends teach friends".  Nobody gets out of the never-ever Yard on my watch without a simplified explanation of the "be able to stop, you're responsible not to hit anyone or anything ahead no matter what". 

That doesn't mean I would call Patrol to have their pass pulled, if the struggling (non-class) beginners were managing their way down the hill badly but not really endangering anyone. I might hang around to keep an eye out for possible disaster, just like I do if I see a potentially dangerous situation on the road driving. That old Boy Scout mindset sticks with you. At least on the "Be Prepared" part. Not so sure about the "morally straight" part of the Law.  

But if they were endangering others, or seriously endangering themselves, I'd intervene if in uniform (if working - not this season), or even if not in uniform. I might even do so if free-skiing at an area where I know the staff. I was in a clinic at Breck last year, out of uniform as is the norm for training, when I broke away from the group to intercept an out of control couple who was about to get the girlfriend seriously injured if he didn't get the hell off where neither, but especially she, didn't belong. Hauled tail downhill, parallel to them, and talked her into how to stop. Then ripped him a new one.  

I wish somebody had done that to that moron spring break drag-back who managed to pop my daughter's ACL last year by talking her into terrain she had no clue about. Didn't care what else she did with him off the snow, she's in her 20's.  But from his mouthing off and videos there was no way he was going to take her down stuff at her low-intermediate, years-off-snow level. I think that as responsible skiers, members of a community, whether pros or not, we need to look out for this kind of idiocy on the slopes. Sometimes that means getting in someone's face to protect them or someone they are endangering.

Then again, I once quoted the "Colorado Outdoor Clean Air Act" to somebody who was puffing smoke into my kids' class team on the lift who wouldn't put it out when I asked nicely. One of these days I may write my state reps to suggest they create such a bill.  I'm not adverse to making crap up for my concept of the greater good. Just ask my boss at my day job...

If I still have a day job...
post #72 of 72

Got back a while ago after skiing first time ever. I made my way to the blue runs the latter half of the second day and had an absolute riot. It was a hell of a workout. There were a few times, as I came to the end of the run, when a pretty skilled gentleman came down and shouted, "make shorter turns," or something else technique related. It was this encouragement and the tips that many people offered that kept me excited and ready to come back up the lift. I skied drastically better the next blue I went down just by following that single tip that man offered. Please be understanding of us noobies. Some of us aren't just out there to rocket down the slopes uncontrollably for their vacation time. Many are in it to learn and understand the ways of skiing, to get better, and to enjoy the beauties of every terrain the mountain has to offer.....

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