Responsibility Code
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lbotta - DCSki Supporter 
January 7, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,535 posts
James Chen had a super article on the Responsibility Code.

There is, however, one item that either should be a part of it or a part of the ski area's contract upon purchasing a ticket -- and that is for each skier to ski the trails that are suitable for his/her capability.

We have all come accross the snowplowers descending at a snail pace down the mountain. Well, we all started that way. And that's the reason why there are green, blues and blacks. What fries my liver is when the snowplowing takes place down a diamond, with restricted visibility and where skiers and boarders with the appropriate expertise should be expected to be able to ski at their experience level.

Last year at Snowshoe, I saw a frightening accident caused by this factor. (The "Shoe" has a black diamond named "Widowmaker", a short but fairly steep run, (probably too wide) but with a hump right before the steep part that limits the downward visibility until past the hump). As several experienced skiers proceeded down the slope, past the hump, they were greeted with an entire family snowplowing down what is a black diamond. The result was a pile-up that would match I-95's Mixing Bowl on an icy day. I was downhill watching all this - as a matter of fact I had mentioned to my ski buddy that these people were an accident waiting to happen. And guess what???

I'm not advocating reckless skiing. As a matter of fact I tend to ski too conservatively unless I am in a place like Big Sky where I am the only skier on the trail. I value my life and that of others. But I don't think I'm being unreasonable if I expect to be able to ski according to my capabilities down a run that is advertised to be for people with my capabilities. As a matter of fact, I consider a "green" skier snowplowing down a diamond more of a life-threatening danger than a retro Jean Claude-Killy look-alike screaming down the mountain on their '200s and wearing tights.

In my opinion, the only ski area in the Mid Atlantic where I saw enforcement of their posted areas was Wintergreen. And that's because the trail layout allows only one trail to descend into the "black" lift and the ski patrol was there monitoring the situation.

In most of the other areas, I've seen enforcement of speed, even moderate speeds, while irresponsible (yes, I'll call them that) skiers proceed to make a safety hazard out of themselves, snowplowing down a diamond, while the ski patrol smiles.


January 7, 2000
Member since 12/29/1999 🔗
14 posts
This really burns me up too. We've all seen it before, and it still happens all to often.

It kinda reminds me of slower drivers driving in the left lane because they are going the speed limit. They do not belong there because they are a safety hazzard to all other cars around them. It's the same as on the slopes.

In the last few years I have seen some warning signs at the top of difficult slopes giving stern warnings that ONLY expert skiers and snowboarders belong on that slope. Until a few years ago, I had never seen such a sign.

However I feel that the signs could still be bigger and more prolific. They should also be more graphic and more stern in their tone, and threaten to revoke the tickets of lesser skiers going on that slope.

Finally, they need to be inforced. Rules do nothing if they are not properly enforced.

January 9, 2000
My Gosh-you sound like quite the ski snob. I bet that you did not start from birth with the skiing ability of one Tommy Moe. EVERYONE has to start somewhere-like doing the "plow". ALthough I do agree that maybe a black diamond would be too much for that kind of skier-please get off of your high horse and quit making the "plowers" feel that they don't belong skiing in the first place. If you want to make up your own snob rules, buy yourself a mountain and keep the "plowers" off of it. Besides, you are ruining a perfectly good website run by Scott that offers plenty of good info and tips-don't ruin it by being a ski snob and making novice skiers feel unwelcome on the mountains. 'Nuff said. (PS-I am not a novice skier and I have been skiing since I was 4 yrs old)
lbotta - DCSki Supporter 
January 10, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,535 posts
I am not going to use what I agree is an excellent forum for skiers into a recrimination base for Maude wanna-bes. Her show went off the air years ago.

Simple facts:

1. The name of the game is safety.
2. Each person has his/her own capabilities.
3. The ski areas publish the expertise level of the appropriate ski run.
4. You should have the capability and the right, as a paying customer, to ski within the bounds of your ability, with due consideration to safety, terrain conditions, obstacles and weather, and exercising common courtesy -- the first tenet of which is not to become an obstruction to others' enjoyment of the premises.
5. You do not have the right to make yourself a safety hazard to others, either by reckless skiing, obstructing the trail, or skiing above your ability so as to deny others the enjoyment of the run.
6. Agree with you that we all started as novices. But face reality, a novice snowplowing down a fast blue or a diamond IS a safety hazard. Again, that's why they make a variety of trails and which are clearly posted as to the recommended ability. I didn't hit the blues until I was ready for them. I didn't go down a black until I was able to do it safely. And that clearly does not include plowing.
7. Using your logic, we should turn all runs into green and ski at a slow walk pace.
8. I don't ride horses, but from your statements, you do live in an ivory tower.

Safety, safety, safety.

[This message has been edited by lbotta (edited 01-10-2000).]

January 10, 2000
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts

I think you misunderstand. The point is that people who are on slopes that are way above their ability are simply a hazard to themselves an to others. You are right, everybody has to start somewhere. But that somewhere is not a trail they cannot navigate.

Unfortunately, there is no way to keep score in skiing. Naturally, skiers want to know where they stand in the hierarchy and define their abilities by the trails they can ski rather than the way they ski them. This leads those with too much ambition or not enough brains to get in way over their heads.
The shame of this is not only that it is dangerous, they are not going to improve their skiing when they do this.

I teach people how to ski and how to ski better. I have spent a lot of time and a lot of my own money doing this and I have a deep understanding of how hard it is to learn. I am not a snob. Nonetheless, I think the point made is very well taken.

People should ski on terrain within the limits of their abilities and not define their abilities by the simple fact that they got lucky and made it down an expert slope locked in a death wedge.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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