As the snow falls and mountain resorts get covered in that magical white snow, it can also get crowded pretty quickly. So we have compiled a list of simple etiquette that will make the experience a lot more pleasant for you and the people around you.
First and probably most important –
The Alpine Responsibility Code
1. Stay in control
Know your limits. You must be able to stop and avoid other people/objects. Likewise if you are taking others out on the mountain, especially beginners and small children, know their limits and do not force them down terrain they can’t handle.
2. People ahead of you have the right of way
It is your responsibility to avoid them, as they do not have eyes in the back of their head they cannot see you coming.
3. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above
There are other people on the mountain, for their safety and your own, move to the side of a run and only stop where you can be seen. Do NOT sit on the low side of a roll as people speeding down over the top of it will not see you until it’s too late. People can’t give way to you if they don’t know you’re there. When in larger groups try to stop close together and not block a trail.
4. Before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
GIVE WAY! It’s not that hard. Waiting an extra 5 seconds is not going to kill you.
5. If you are involved in or witness a collision or accident, you must remain at the scene and identify yourself to Ski Patrol.
It is important for first aid purposes. Someone could be seriously injured and need your help.
6. Prevent runaway equipment
Do not let your ski or snowboard go on the mountain alone… It won’t stop until it reaches the bottom or hits someone. Snowboarders can attach a leash from the front binding to their boots and skiers should have brakes on their bindings.
7. Observe and obey all signs and warnings
Pretty self-explanatory. They are there for your safety not to obstruct your fun.
8. Keep off closed trails and areas
See above comments for number 7.
9. You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through use of alcohol or drugs.
Just like driving a car at 60km an hour except you don’t have the luxury of airbags and seatbelts to soften the blow… You don’t drink and drive so don’t drink and ride.
10. You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to safely load, ride and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant or Ski Patrol.
There is no shame in asking for help. The lifties can slow the chair down for you if you are not confident in getting on and off the lift.
Rubbish is for the bin not the slopes. It is unsightly and disgusting. When the season is over and the snow melts away rubbish is polluting the environment. This goes for cigarette butts as well.
Smoking in lift lines is possibly the most inconsiderate thing when on the mountain. Nobody wants to breathe in your second hand smoke. Leave it for less populated or designated areas. Spitting is equally as thoughtless.
Merging is probably the biggest, most misunderstood concept in the lift line. Merge: To blend gradually into something else so as to become indistinguishable from it.
Patience is key, wait your turn. Do not push in front of or cut people off. It’s annoying and you only get one chair in front… big whoop.
If the lift lines are long, try to fill the chairs by joining up with other groups or single riders. There is nothing more annoying than standing in a long line while a 4-person chair goes up with only one person on it.
Hold onto possessions on the chair lift. It is a bit unfortunate for you if you lose a glove off the chair… it is a lot unfortunate for the people below you when you drop a ski pole. Practice lift safety.
Once you get off the lift it is important to move out of the way. There are more people getting off the lift behind you. For snowboarders doing up their bindings, make sure you are far enough out of the way that people can get around you. For skiers; keep in mind that snowboarders aren’t as agile getting off the lift- my advice is get out of their way and do it fast.
Please please PLEASE! Be mindful of other people’s equipment. While you may be renting your equipment for $150 a week and handing it back when you’re done, other people have spent hundreds and sometimes thousands on their equipment and I guarantee you they are not happy when you ride over the top of it. Likewise when you are coming out from lunch and picking up your equipment to start the next run, make sure it is YOUR equipment, and if you knock someone else’s gear over please pick it up. This is not just courtesy but is also imperative to safety as equipment is set up specifically for the person using it.
If you are going slowly on a cat track it is polite to stick to one side, try to avoid turning across them and impeding the path for people wanting to overtake you. If you do need to turn it is good to try and be consistent and predictable with your turns so that people can anticipate where you will be when they overtake you. Although the rule is to give way to people in front – it can be very difficult when the person in front of you is being unpredictable.
If you see someone is struggling or injured and on their own, a friendly ‘are you ok?’ never goes astray.
Remember that you share the hill with everyone; watch your language around children, don’t litter, give way, and be friendly to strangers. Check out Snow Central for all your ski and snowboarding needs.
Written by Ali Overett