By Jessica Sell Chambers
When sliding on snow, maximize your fun and minimize disaster by following shrediquette for on the slopes. On-slope ski etiquette isn’t as heated as lift line etiquette, but is far more important—just ask anyone who’s had a near miss. It boils down to this: Know what’s directly in front, beside, and, when possible, behind you at all times. Not so obvious: know your blind spots and the blind spots of others—when we’re all out there skiing the gnar, they can get a little blurry. But breaking these rules can lead to disaster.
- Downhill skiers always have the right of way. Contrary to what parents tell their children, no one has eyes in the back of their head—so it’s your job to pay attention who’s ahead of you and ski accordingly.
- Remember not all backsides are created equal: skiers and snowboarders have different blind spots.
- Anticipation is hot. Keep your turns predictable. Signaling with an arm or a pole to let others know you’re about to hit a snowy cut is always appreciated.
- Always look uphill when merging. Don’t pull onto the run without looking for riders—crashing a groomer from the woods or any other concealed area is a bad idea.
- Stop as if your life depends on it. If you can’t see them, they can’t see you. No sudden stops in the middle of a run or cat track and never, ever stop below a roll over or on the inside of a blind turn. This is especially important for rugrats. Find a sunny spot on the edge of a run or other highly visible area, or find a giant orange slow sign to park yourself behind while you regroup.
- Teach your children young. Parents, we have a role in keeping our kiddos safe too. It’s never too early to impart ski knowledge. As Tupac said, “All Eyez on Me”—always lead by example.
- Ride as if someone else’s life depends on it. Be able to put the brakes on in a moment’s notice—if you see the trail drop off in front of you, shed some speed until you have a clear picture of who or what is beyond that ledge.
- Give others room when you’re passing. This isn’t the Italian Job. Give wide berth to little ones or beginner skiers and boarders who often make erratic turns and/or wipeout.
- Know where you’re going ahead of time. Then hold your line and look for others to maybe, possibly change their mind.
- Call your drop. If you’re heading to the terrain park, wait your turn. When you’re next up or you’d like to be, call “Next drop.” Then as you’re about to send it, call “Dropping.” Easy-peasy. Try not to knuckle out—for your own sake.
- Always know your limits and ski in control, whether that’s by keeping your speeds down or not going into terrain that’s over your head. We’ve all gotten in over our skis at some point, but it’s better for everyone when you know your limits and abilities. Rather than slide slip down Tower 3, cruise down Gannet or Amphitheater and leave some pow for the rest of us.
- Don’t be someone else’s buzzkill. Keep your speeds down in high traffic places, and on intermediate and beginner terrain. We all have families—you really don’t want to be the person who kills someone, especially a little ripper.
- And finally, don’t duck the ropes… sliding yourself or anyone else may result in death. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Safe skiing is fun skiing—for all of us, really.
Stay tuned for Shrediquette Part 3: Off the slopes.