How to Avoid Collisions With (Choose One: Skiers, Snowboarders)

Can skiers and snowboarders share a mountain without
conflict or collisions? The answer is ‘Yes.” A little understanding of the nature
of the other’s sport can help tremendously along with knowing a little “ski


A useful piece of “ski etiquette” has to do with “line.” A skier typically
tracks a narrower line down a trail, making turns with a radius perhaps six
to ten feet wide. A snowboarder will typically track a much wider line. Carvers
sometimes go completely from trail edge to edge. When overtaking a skier or
snowboarder try and be sensitive to their line. Show courtesy by predicting
when and where they’ll make their next turn and try to stay out of their intended

A way to help avoid collisions is by recognizing a skiers/boarder’s blind spot.
A skier’s blind spot is always directly behind them when they’re headed downhill.
By contrast, a snowboarder’s blind spot is off to one side or the other – whichever
way the back of their jacket faces. When overtaking a snowboarder judge whether
you’re entering their blind spot, and if so leave extra room in case they turn
towards you.

90% of all accidents can be prevented with a quick yell of “On your left” or
“On your right.”. But don’t cut through someone’s intended line and yell “On
your __ ,” just to seize right-of-way. If they’re downhill, they have right
of way in spite of your higher speed and desire to pass.

Things you can do to avoid getting hit include not stopping suddenly, or stopping
in the middle of a catwalk or narrow trail. Never, ever stop below a headwall
where you can’t be seen from above. Try to ski/ride predictably so that a skier
coming up behind you can figure out where you’re headed next. Another thing
to avoid is making S-stops, where first you skid one way, then the other to
come to a stop. On a narrow trail someone coming up behind you is first going
to head one way to try and avoid you, then see you turn the other way, and finally,
cream you. Make a single smooth turn in a single direction as you come to a

Both skiers and riders should avoid using people who are stopped on trails
as flags on an imaginary slalom course. Seeing how close you can cut the corner
to a stopped skier/rider is both dangerous and highly annoying to those you
do it to. Parents, teach your children to pretend there’s a ten foot “bubble”
around other skiers and they should avoid “popping” the bubble. Nothing is more
irritating or dangerous than to be just about to take off again and have a skier/rider
whiz past only inches away, right where you were about to stand up or start
moving. This is when ski poles come in handy!

Now that an out of control skier has been arrested and sentenced to jail for
hitting, and killing another skier, it’s probably worth reviewing the Skiers/Rider’s

The Skier’s Code states that skiers and snowboarders must ride in control at
all times. Being in control means having the ability to stop, turn or otherwise
avoid hitting any and all persons in front of you. An uphill skier/ snowboarder,
that is, whoever is at a higher elevation on the mountain must yield right-of-way
to the downhill person.

The only exception to this is marked, in places where marked trails merge;
skiers/riders crossing a trail are wise to look uphill before possibly pulling
in front of someone headed downhill who may not be able to stop regardless of
right-of-way considerations.

Finally, if you are involved in a collision or see someone skiing out of control,
take careful note of what color jacket, pants, and hat or helmet the person
is wearing and what lift they are headed towards. Report the collision to the
ski patrol or the lifties and let them deal with the out-of-control skier/rider
rather than launching into “snow rage.” If a collision is minor, slow-speed,
and no one’s hurt, laugh it off and get back to having fun.

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