By Steve Kopitz
After 46 years of skiing I have been amazed at what poor manners some people have on the mountain. I don’t believe that most of them are rude intentionally. I just think they don’t really know proper slope etiquette because no one has ever explained it to them. So I thought I would make an attempt at a list of proper manners and courtesy on the slopes, so here goes:
On the slopes
• 1. If you need to stop in the middle of a run do it off to the side so you are not a obstacle that other skiers have to avoid.
• 2. Before you start down after you have stopped look uphill to be sure the area is clear. If there are a lot of people coming down wait until traffic clears. They should not have to turn to avoid you.
• 3. Try to keep a consistent line going down the hill. Skiers behind you that are faster than you are trying to anticipate where you will go so they can pass you safely. If you take a sudden wide turn to one side it may take them by surprise and cause a crash. If you need to cut across the hill, look uphill before you make your move.
• 4. Don’t stop on the hill just below a ridge. If another skier tries to jump the ridge and you are in a blind spot they could land on you.
• 5. If you are planning to jump a ridge or anything else that you can not see the landing area have a spotter ski down to check to be sure the coast is clear.
• 6. If another skier has a yard sale (that’s where you crash and lose both skis and sometimes poles, hats, etc.) stop to get the equipment that is uphill of the crashed skier and bring it down to them. Also ask if they are ok or need you to contact the ski patrol.
• 7. If you are on a cat track and planning to pass someone ahead of you, yell to them “on you left” or “on your right” as you are about to pass. This will avoid them making a sudden turn and crashing into them. It also help them not get freaked out as you fly by.
• 8. Remember the person in front of you always has the right of way.
In the lift line
• 1. If the lift lines are long try to join up with other groups or singles to fill the chairs. Nothing irks me more than standing in a long line while 4 person chairs go up with only one or two people on them.
• 2. Most lifts have multiple lines on one or both sides. Remember to alternate with the other lines.
• 3. Watch your language. There are a lot of kids in line as well as adults that do not want to hear vulgar or inappropriate words or comments.
• 4. Don’t spit in the lift line. Especially if you are chewing tobacco. It is totally gross!
• 5. Watch your poles and your skis. Other don’t like there skis or boards run over or pole plants on there skis or boards.
On the lift
• 1. After you get on the chair ask the others if they would like the bar down. Don’t just pull it down without notice. I have been hit on the head, knee, and groin and also almost lost my poles by my fellow chair lift passengers pulling the bar down without notice.
• 2. Say hi to your fellow passengers. I have met many very interesting people on a chair lift. You already have the most important thing in common. You both ski or board.
• 3. Before getting off the lift ask your fellow passengers which way they plan to go, left or right. If the people on the left are going right and the people on the right are going left it can get messy with all those skis and poles sticking up everywhere.
• 4. After you get off the lift get far out of the way so others don’t have to avoid you as they slide down the ramp. It’s particularly hard for snowboarders so give them some extra room.
In the lodge or mountain restaurant
• 1. Don’t hog the whole table. When its lunch time and the restaurant is busy try to keep your helmets, gloves and stuff off the table or in a small area to allow others to join you. There is nothing more aggravating than walking around the seating area with a tray of food (usually hot soup or hot chocolate) looking for a place to sit especially if you see all these chairs that are taken up with clothing and such.
• 2. Some restaurants have people to clean up and some are pretty much throw your own trash out. If the restaurant is the latter try to wipe down the table with your napkin as you leave. That way others won’t have to clean up your mess.
• 3. Don’t hog the hand dryers to dry your gloves or your boots.
Slope manners can make skiing and boarding a more enjoyable and safer experience for everyone. I’m sure this list is not complete but I tried to cover the basics. If you have other items you feel should be on the list please comment with your suggestions.