By Ron Kubicki, PSIA/AASI Certified Level III Alpine, Children’s Specialist II
There are times when skiing is a unique and solo experience. That might be when you are skinning up the mountain in the early morning dark on your Tele equipment, or gliding along a cross-country trail in the pristine woods. That’s when it is only you in the outdoors and in your thoughts, and it can be a very spiritual experience.
But, our typical reality is sharing the lifts, slopes and terrain with scores of other skiers and riders, and it’s hardly spiritual.
Downhill skiing includes elements of speed, turning, slowing and stopping. These are decisions you make constantly on every run down the slope. But at ski and board resorts, courtesy, respect and safety also need to be a constant consideration.
Your safety and the safety of those around you is affected by how everyone interacts on the slopes. You can easily relate this to driving your SUV to the resort, in traffic, where there are laws for us to follow to keep us safe.
With this in mind you may see the following code posted around resorts and ski shops. Take the time to read it and share with your family.
1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
If you take the time to read these and familiarize yourself you will see they are basically just common sense. Spend time reviewing the code with your kids on the way to the slopes; it can only help to keep them safer.
With this being Martin Luther King weekend, there are likely to be quite a few people on the slopes. The weather has certainly turned and our local snowmakers have done an incredible job opening up terrain, but it is still likely to be somewhat limited, so it wouldn’t hurt to keep these in mind.
While we know not everyone is aware nor will pay heed, if just a few more do then we are all that much safer and able to have more fun on the slopes.
Sometime, try to catch a ride on the lift with one of the local instructors and discuss the code with them. It is part of their training and they can certainly relate some real-life experiences regarding these “rules of the road.” These pros keep them in mind every moment of every lesson they lead, as they are always responsible for the activities of their class.
So take a moment to read these and think about how they relate to you and your family’s experience on snow.
Ski and ride safely this weekend and every time you are on-snow.
As always, I look forward to seeing you on the slopes!