When I ski alone I seldom have issues because I'm generally overtaking others, and I know how and have the skill to do it safely. When I'm skiing with a student, working on skill development, that's often not the case. Frequently we'll get passed by people going way too fast for their skill level, who get way too close, and just don't have the skills needed to make quick speed and/or line adjustments at the speed they're traveling. When it gets really bad I'll often ski above the student, in the manner shown in Uncle Louie's picture in post #68, always staying close to and falline above him/her, to create a human shield to protect them. For the falline streakers coming up from behind it works well.
It's can also be a good thing to do when skiing with your kids, to protect them. Be sure you have the skill to do it, though. You don't want to end up doing to him/her yourself what you're trying to stop others from doing to him/her.
BTW, bump skier number 2 is a very good skier, and a very safe skier. I've skied with him many times, and know this for a fact. He knows very well what a safe buffer zone is according to his personal abilities, and I can guarantee you that whatever distance he was behind bump skier number one was well within the safe zone. That he easily maneuvered around bumpman 1 when he tried to slam on the brakes is testimony to his good judgement.
One of the things good skiers have to remember is even when they're in complete control, and believe they're well clear of the lesser skiers they're passing, it can be still very scary for the person being passed. They don't know you're a good skier, they just catch a blur out of the corner of their eye and get severely startled by the rocket man that just passed within what can seem to them a whisker hair away. Try to remember that when you're passing weaker skiers. You may feel you're a safe distance away, but it can still scare the scat out of the person you're passing. Provide well more space than you think is necessary. It's something I try to remind myself of regularly. Uncle Louie can tell you that I've on occasion slipped up with this, times when I've perceived myself well clear, but have still startled people. Bad Dobby!!!! The perceptions of the passer and the passed are so much different.
Edited by Rick - 5/17/10 at 2:13pm