Now, if you could only convince all the testo-filled idjits out there who don't have a clue about personal responsibility (let alone reasonable behavior and civility), you could probably get nominated for Time Magazine's Man Of The Year award.
I have been skiing for 30 years. I ski fast when the conditions are right, and I think there has been only one time in 30 years that I have ever hit someone else, and that was at very low speed when a binding disintegrated on me and I found my foot suddenly free of the ski as I was skiing slowly into the lift line. My personal opinion is that the vast majority of collisions are entirely preventable (assuming that the people involved would have used their brains).
My experience is that truly good skiers don't derive any satisfaction whatsoever from using novices as human slalom poles. In my experience, the usual people that do so are 12-25 year old guys that just graduated into the ranks of the upper intermediates and have a perverted need to lord their new status over lesser skiers. I often have to ski with lower level skiers and am disgusted by how often I see this.
Tom / PM
PS - I really don't want to hear any of the usual arguments about how good skiers/boarders can be in complete control while skiing fast and coming close to slow skiers. Yeah, I can do that too, but it still sucks because it unnecessarily scares the bejusus out of the low level skier involved.
Fewer people does mean fewer collisions and near misses, but I would argue that for those that can't go midweek, people *can* ski in surprisingly crowded conditions and not cause collisions IF they are willing to go slow enough, wait for breaks in traffic, etc. The problem is that there are always some self-centered bad apples who think they should not have to do this, and so they rip at the same speed no matter whats going on around them.
I have absolutely no problem with low level riders/skiers who occasionally contact me (especially getting off/on the lifts), run over my skis, etc. Its the people that are reasonably skillful but are obviously reckless and have a bad attitude that I stop. The beginners usually have no bad attitude, often are having a hard time just standing up on their equipment, and rarely get up enough speed to injure anyone.
As finsoutoc pointed out, getting in the face of the reckless skiers/boarders is crude but DOES indeed work. OTOH, you better be absolutely sure that (1) you are at least as good a skier/boarder (so they can't just tell you to f*** off and leave you in the dust as many have tried to do to me), and (2) you are ready for a potential fight with the guy. I have had to get in the face of reckless young guys more times than I care to remember, and have not had one even talk back let alone pick a fight. Its classic "bully behavior" - don't act vulnerable and they instantly back off.
Tom / PM
On the flip side of things, of course, are those who sit on their butt in the center of the trail. (I'm not talking about those who land there and then get up.)
As far as getting in someone's face, one of my best friends I ski with is a complete a**hole. He's my friend so I can say that about him. He takes that attitude to get in someone's face and yell at them. He's chased quite a few boarder's (very anti-boarder) down the mountain to get in their face. It's the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life to have adults standing in the middle of the slopes or at lift lines yelling and screaming at each other. And when it's all said and done, nothing has changed for either (he's been lucky no one has thrown a puch at him. He's a pretty scrawny guy and weighs 120 lbs soaking wet).
I figure for the real jerks, fate comes back and gets them in the end. My friend (remember he's an a**hole) has been granted the nickname snowmelter. He spent a winter in Jackson Hole when they had the smallest snowfall in over 15 years. He's had many out west trips where he's skied crud. Only in the last few years when he's joined another group I ski with, has he enjoyed powder conditions (because he's skiing with una**hole people).
Fate is the factor that evens out all the world. And I've discovered that Ullr is one of the Fates.
Yes, it is absolutely irritating, unsafe, and incredibly inconsiderate to have a bunch of boarders line up side by side obstructing a trail. But the same lack of consideration and lack of safety can bee seen by a group of snowplowers, who have no business being on a black run, becoming a safety hazard as other people, going at the speed that would be considered normal on a black run, round a blind curve and encounter these nice folk doing yard sales all over the steeps.
Up to a point, consideration and ski/board ettiquette can be taught and it should be done so a lot more than it is right now. It should be a part of the "syllabus" of every ski lesson. Unfortunately, not many instructors, whether ski or board, do so.
On the other hand, the ski responsibilty code is something that can and should be enforced. Beginning with clipped tickets and ending with tort and criminal penalties.
Last year, I was thrilled at the guilty verdict of an out-of-control skier (Note: this individual was NOT a snowboarder) who literally murdered someone on a slope. No excuses. We are all responsible for our actions. And I would hope that ski areas become more intolerant of out-of-control and reckless snow-persons.
And Rich, I agree you and your fellow snowboarders have the right to enjoy yourselves in the same way that a skier of whatever you happen to wear on your feet happens to be. Any sensible person would recognize the positive impact of the boarding community on the snow industry. But you're coping out too when you attribute that to the fact that older folk dislike younger folk. That may be true in some cases but no more than younger folk disliking older folks and wishing they were dead... What you can indeed correlate is that yes, most boarders are young, and yes, many of them do not have the best manners nor practice good ettiquette.
Next time you're in the slopes and you can stop your fellow boarders from spreading on a line that obstructs the entire trail, it would be an awesome thing you could do...
[This message has been edited by lbotta (edited 02-01-2002).]
Lots of good points made here. Above all, consideration towards your fellow wintersports enthusiast. The first rule of the Responsibility Code is to always ski/ride in control. I can't tell you how many skiers AND boarders have claimed to be in control after a collision. If you're in control, a collision is nearly impossible.
BTW - ALL of the Snowtime areas are doing active policing of the slopes this year in response to out-of-control skiers AND boarders. If you're having a problem, don't be afraid to let the area know.
Call it a "cop out" or not, I am just telling it like it is. I can't imagine why people would lie to their ski instructor about what makes them apprehensive...
I have no ill will toward snowboarders. In fact, I appreciate every snowboarder and the money they bring to the mountain. It is not an overstatement to say that snowboarding has been a major boon to the industry and may have "saved" it.
As far as perception v. reality is concerned, ski instructors are prime targets for idiots since we often need to use wide moderately sloped terrain. Standing in front of a group or doing slow traverses, I get hit an average of once a year. I rarely hear or see the person who hits me (often a self-described "expert"). My memorable hits and near misses are equally divided between boarders and skiers, although my most memorable wallop was from a boarder.
The common element is that most projectiles are males between 12 and 25.
Two ideas to add here:
The uphill skier is responsible for avoiding the downhill skier, even if the downhill skier is doing a slow traverse.
If you stop or choose to do a slow traverse or stand or sit, THINK about where you have stopped or are traversing. Don't do these things where the uphill skier can't see you until they are right on top of you. Remember that you may be less visible than you think in bumps, and if you are on a board, please don't sit down in a bump field on the backside of a bump, even if there is a juicy launch ramp downhill. In particular, don't do the latter on the bottom of Lower Eastwind at Liberty between noon and 7 pm on weekends unless you enjoy the thought of eating a pair of K2's with 230 pounds of Otto on top of them.
[This message has been edited by Otto (edited 02-02-2002).]
And just this December, as I was on my way to the Far East, I stopped in San Fran for a week and they had the case of not one, but two people, dying on the slopes in the Tahoe area after being out of control and running into trees. Well... better than them running into people....
I guess throwing people off the slopes for being reckless doesn't endear you to enough of the customers to be worthwhile. Literally every time I went down the green slope (can't remember the name) I came close to getting hit several times. At least it prompts me to learn to ski the blues. I had a much harder time there, but even the other skiers (and snowboarders) who were having trouble there remained in control.
I think the most ridiculous incident was when I was nearly hit by a kid who slid into the big orange "Slow" sign. His friend said, "I love it when he does that," and my girlfriend said he appeared to be in control the entire time -- he just aimed right for the sign.
Or the kid who almost hit me (most of these avoided being collisions by my swerving to avoid someone sliding into me) and then declared, "I hate avoiding other people; I'd rather they get hurt than I do."
What a zoo.
Vail Investigates 'Slope Rage' Incident
Skier Attacked By Snowboarders
Posted: 6:42 a.m. MST February 21, 2002
Updated: 3:49 p.m. MST February 21, 2002
VAIL, Colo. -- Authorities were looking for four snowboarders who allegedly bloodied a skier on Vail Mountain in what has been described as a case of "slope rage."
A 27-year-old man from nearby Avon, Colo., said he was attacked Feb. 10 by four men, who were estimated to be about 20 to 25 years old, after he warned them they were not properly equipped to ride out of the Vail Mountain boundaries, said Eagle County sheriff's Deputy Heath Mosness.
"He told the guys not to come skiing in the backcountry without proper equipment. Then one of the guys tackled him and the fight was on," Mosness said.
The snowboarders allegedly used the skier's pole as a whip, bruising the man and severely blackening his eye, Mosness said.
A woman skiing with the victim tried to break up the fight, but she was frightened for her own safety, he said.
The skier was so badly beaten that the snowboarders could be charged with felony assault, Mosness said.