Do Not Pass Downhill Skiers?

Answering Ridiculous Ski Advice

Whitefish Skiing Review -- a green circle
The Greens are good beginner runs

Picked up on the following in a post entitled Why Skiing Accidents May Happen Even at the Best Resorts at Sunshine Bob’s Blog:

Skiing accidents may happen even at the best resorts. If you have adequate knowledge about the types of accidents that may happen while skiing, then you can avoid the accidents.

Reading through the list and the causes seems to place the blame on the resort, the resort’s employees, or the resort’s equipment. Those points where the blame is square on one guest or another the point is very thin.

For example: Ski falls: Ski falls may occur due to improperly designed or maintained slope. The ski area operator should therefore take care of designing, maintaining and operating their slopes.. The slope is what it is and it is up to the skier to be able to handle the slope. I have written many times on this topic, being able to ski black diamonds at home may not give you the ability to ski certain blue squares at that world class ski resort. Push down a run and you had better be able to handle it. If this means, burning a day to scout the hill for runs within your ability then that is what it means. No doubt, the resort has the responsibility to open and close runs according to conditions and to make sure the runs are clear of hazards such as debris and other such hazards.

Go down a ski run out of your abilities you may be looking for an able doctor. Being careful in your trail selection is a valid point Sunshine Bob does raise.

However, the most ridiculous point is brought up as a means to avoid on hill collision.

Definitely for ALL skiers
For All Skiers

You should avoid the people in front of you while skiing. Do not try to overtake them.

N-O! No matter what your ability is you are likely going to run across someone skiing slower than you. Maybe they are experimenting with a new technique or maybe they are being very cautious, whatever the reason there is no need for the slowest person on a run to set your pace.

However, there is a proper way to ski around slower skiers. When I observe a skier downhill (remember they have the right-of-way) I bleed speed in whatever way makes sense for the situation I am in, I favor traversing the hill, but if I have to skid I do that. After I have my speed set, I pattern the skier (note, this can be a snowboarder or someone on blades), I then develop a solution to ski around the downhill person, and then I execute that plan. Sometimes it means maintaining the speed I am at, sometimes it means gaining speed (tucking & schussing, poling, skating, skiing tight to the fall line), and rarely it means slowing down more.

Often times I mimic their ski pattern on a line shifted from them and when I am close to them and they commit one way or the other I am in a position to zig vs. their zag. The key element of all of this is to be in control! If you can not turn, slow down, or speed up, then you are little more than bowling ball rolling down the hill and running into people given a long enough and crowded enough run is close to inevitable.

One day on the slopes, one fellow nearly took my father and myself out. He skied in one direction and that was downhill and the only speed he skied at was what gravity dictated. Don’t be a bowling ball.

Good Stuff!

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