Guest Author - Carol Viau
Whether you have been skiing (or snowboarding) for decades, or are new to the sport, the Skierís Responsibility Code is something everyone should know. It is listed on every trail map at every ski area, but few people take time to read it. Could you recite the rules off the top of your head? Probably not. Letís take a moment to review them.
*Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
*People ahead of you have the right of way. Itís your responsibility to avoid them.
*You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
*Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
*Use devices to prevent runaway equipment
*Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and areas
*Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.
Depending on where you are skiing, violations of the following rules can be punishable by law.
*Reckless skiing prohibited.
*No skier involved in a collision shall leave the vicinity of the area before giving name and address to Ski Patrol.
*Entering closed areas is prohibited.
*Jumping off a chairlift is reckless endangerment.
While some of these may seem obvious and similar to driving protocol, it is astounding how many people are not familiar with them. Parents tend to neglect teaching their kids the Skierís Responsibility Code, assuming they already know it. Statistically, it is teenagers most often getting involved in collisions and causing injury (or death) to themselves or others.
If a skier or snowboarder is not able to ski in control at all times, then a ski school or snowboard lesson is in order. Instructors can teach the skills necessary for controlled skiing and snowboarding, thereby reducing the risk of danger to oneself or others.
It is mandatory that participants know and follow the Skierís Responsibility Code. One idea for teaching kids the skierís code is to make a game out of the lesson. For instance, watch other skiers from the lift and ask your kids to point out which skiers are following the rules, and which skierís are not. Then have them tell you what rule applies to the latter person.
Getting out on the slopes is supposed to be about having fun, and being safe makes it more enjoyable for everyone.