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Layne wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
Indeed, hearing those noises all the time, and they are scary enough.

Sorry but I don't get why they [noises] are inherently scary.
Some people find them scary, the fact that you don't understand that (nor me) doesn't mean others don't.

Layne wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
And will cause her to panic.

Why?
I'm not much of a psychologist so I cannot really answer that question with any authority. I simply observe it to be true.

rob@rar wrote:
If you can't pass a person with a big enough margin of safety that you need to alert them to your actions in some way, then you should pause a moment until it is safe to pass in that manner.

Layne wrote:
Seems to be a bit of a contradiction here. You've already said that you have a nervous skier, who is liable to panic and to react in an extreme and unusual manner. What is the margin of safety under such circumstances. How can you actually pass safely in such circumstances? And how are you to know a skier is nervous and likely to panic?
The margin of safety is sufficient to pass someone without crashing in to them, even if they make an unexpected manoeuvre. It is irrelevant if they are a nervous or confident skier. While a nervous skier (as well as the rest of us) might reasonably expect other slope users to pass us safely, we can't reasonably expect everyone to keep 50m distance. So it is unfortunate that some people get nervous when other skiers come within a reasonable distance of them, but that doesn't mean action should be taken to reinforce an exclusion zone around these who worry about what is behind them.
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There's nothing quite like having your fear of what's behind you sharpened, than a family member having almost died as a result of a (hit and run) collision from behind. Skullie
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Hurtle wrote:
There's nothing quite like having your fear of what's behind you sharpened, than a family member having almost died as a result of a (hit and run) collision from behind. Skullie
I was certainly gun-shy for a couple of weeks last winter after having been hit hard enough to retire airlifting to hospital. That really surprised me as I has never worried what's behind me, but fortunately that only lasted for a few weeks.
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rob@rar wrote:
If you don't hear a pole click are you constantly wondering whether they is someone on your shoulder about to crash in to you?

Thankfully most of the time I'm reasonably relaxed but as I'm always listening, it tends to peak (regardless of severity of slope) when it's fairly crowded and it feels like people are flying past fairly close on all sides. My anxiety levels are high and my trust in others' judgement is not, and like others have said, I'd rather pull over until it's clearer if that's an option.

I probably could just do with more exposure and extensive slope time snowHead
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rob@rar wrote:
Some people find them scary, the fact that you don't understand that (nor me) doesn't mean others don't.


Layne wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
And will cause her to panic.

Why?
rob@rar wrote:
I'm not much of a psychologist so I cannot really answer that question with any authority. I simply observe it to be true.



I guess my point here is really this. For 99.9% of people if they heard a pole click they would process it with mild interest and a "oh, better hold a reasonable line and not take up the whole of the track/piste". The fact that for the occasional person this might cause mild panic and an unpredictable response is surely no reason to desist in a largely innocuous and in many cases helpful practice?

rob@rar wrote:
The margin of safety is sufficient to pass someone without crashing in to them, even if they make an unexpected manoeuvre.

Two things. 1) You are essentially saying a downhill skier can do anything which I am not sure I agree with. If they turn violently and excessively (perhaps in a panic) as I am passing and we crash I disagree I am inherently passing unsafely. 2) How about if I am able to ensure we avoid a collision but I make the other skier feel uncomfortable. Is that acceptable?

rob@rar wrote:
It is irrelevant if they are a nervous or confident skier. While a nervous skier (as well as the rest of us) might reasonably expect other slope users to pass us safely, we can't reasonably expect everyone to keep 50m distance. So it is unfortunate that some people get nervous when other skiers come within a reasonable distance of them, but that doesn't mean action should be taken to reinforce an exclusion zone around these who worry about what is behind them.

Sorry, seems contradictory again. Do I ski as if every other skiing is a nervous kitten or not?
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Alert me in an audible fashion and I'm more likely to make an unexpected move.
You're behind. your choice.
If it's safe to pass you don't need to alert me. If you do then that's your problem if I deviate from my line to see what's going on behind.
Use the poles for their intended purpose - as an aid for turning.

Never had cowbells though. Only some noddy wearing a joker hat with bells on.
Maybe I should try racing some gates, then I can have spectators distracting me with cowbells?
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Layne wrote:
.. and a "oh, better hold a reasonable line and not take up the whole of the track/piste".
This is the key point, not whether or how you should respond to the possibility of a nervous or inexperienced skier in front of you. As a point of principle I do not think it is right that a faster travelling skier should try to dictate the actions of a slower moving skier in front of them, even if it is meant as a friendly gesture to avoid a collision (which I think the vast majority of these warnings are meant to be). If there is room to pass then do so, but if you require the skier in front of you to do something (even if it is just holding their line) then there is not room to pass safely and you should hold back. That might well be frustrating if you are trying to maintain momentum, but the skier in front has every right to ski in a way which they enjoy and gets them safely down the hill, including skiing to the edge of the piste if they want (which is what I was teaching yesterday, as a tactic in poor visibility conditions).

Just don't do it.
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Layne wrote:
1) You are essentially saying a downhill skier can do anything which I am not sure I agree with. If they turn violently and excessively (perhaps in a panic) as I am passing and we crash I disagree I am inherently passing unsafely. 2) How about if I am able to ensure we avoid a collision but I make the other skier feel uncomfortable. Is that acceptable?
1) I don't think the downhill skier should deliberately crash in to a skier passing them, but if they suddenly turn in an unexpected manner (as one of my clients did yesterday as a result of catching an edge in near zero viz) and a skier who is attempting an overtake hits them they are passing unsafely. No two ways of looking at that.
2) No, that is not acceptable.

Layne wrote:
Do I ski as if every other skiing is a nervous kitten or not?
No, I don't think so. But it would be nice if we were respectful to all our fellow slope users. I think pole clicking or other audible warnings to slower skiers in front of you is very disrespectful.
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rob@rar wrote:
But it would be nice if we were respectful to all our fellow slope users.

I have to agree, it would be.
Quote:
I think pole clicking or other audible warnings to slower skiers in front of you is very disrespectful.

Yes it probably is.

But if I have to choose between that disrespect and the greater disrespect of being collided with, then I prefer to give way and accept the former imperfection, in the interests of outcome. But as you have described, such warnings themselves carry a risk in an any case.

This is a very interesting thread.
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@motyl, the two options should not be 1. pole click to avoid a collision, or 2. have a collision. You should not have to adjust your line to ensure people don’t crash in to your back. The third option is the one to go for: pass when it is safe to do so.
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I'm with Rob on this.

Pole clicking, whistling etc is really just the restrained british equivalent of a german chap I came across last year barreling down a pinch point shouting "VORSICHT" at everyone 20 yards ahead. It's rude, disrespectful and not necessary if you're skiing properly.

OK. That was an extreme example, and he's lucky he got away with just some choice german swear words as he went past, but on the whole it's the same thing. After all, what is the point of your 'warning'? Do you expect them to do anything differently? and why do you think they should do anything differently just because you want to ski past them?
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I don't have an argument with what skiers should do.
Unfortunately the reality is that for skiers being overtaken there is a place for defensive skiing - perhaps coupled with some choice vocabulary Evil or Very Mad though I normally reserve that for those that "overtake" me at right angles to my trajectory - but that's an entirely different topic.
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Quote:

If it's safe to pass you don't need to alert me.


This seems to be the key point here! Backed up with Rob's example of

Quote:

if they suddenly turn in an unexpected manner (as one of my clients did yesterday as a result of catching an edge in near zero viz) and a skier who is attempting an overtake hits them they are passing unsafely.


I'm a slow skier, so regularly get overtaken. My observations of pole clicking, gleaned anecdotally from skiing a couple of weeks ago, are that it's generally not very helpful. Weirdly, most people who pole clicked were those who left very little space when overtaking (i.e. even if I'd just turned very, very slightly, we would have collided) and they seemed to click when already level with me/starting to come past me, which seemed pointless. Those who left more room mainly didn't click, as far as I could tell. Maybe I just couldn't hear it when people were further away, but that's a problem in itself!

I admit that, like motyl, I don't particularly like knowing there is someone behind me, as it does make me feel a little nervous if I know they're close (initial and probably illogical reaction when I can't see someone is 'they might be out of control and about to crash into me') – however, I'm happy if people pass me safely. I'm such a slowcoach that I'm fully expecting people to overtake! If the slope's wide enough and I glance uphill/see a big group of people on their way down, I sometimes pull over to the side and wait for them to go past, but of course it's not always safe/possible to do that, especially on the narrower bits.
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Quote:
if they suddenly turn in an unexpected manner (as one of my clients did yesterday as a result of catching an edge in near zero viz) and a skier who is attempting an overtake hits them they are passing unsafely.

There seems to me to be a very obvious limit to this type of logic.

In the UK drivers will tell you that if you hit something from the rear, you're responsible. Insurance scammers have exploited precisely that mind set to demonstrate that even competent drivers cannot avoid those in front who behave in an unreasonable manner. You're not responsible if the other party was behaving in an unreasonable manner - reversing at speed into you for example, but stopping without reason in a dangerous manner will do.

Whilst it's reasonable for beginners to fall over, I don't think it's reasonable of them to insist that they are never overtaken on a cat track. I doubt very much that you'd get far with such an argument in court.

--
I'm a snowboarder. In the back country I do not want to stop on flats. For that reason I will call "on your left" or whatever when about to close-pass people (the only practical approach in deep snow), and it works perfectly in my experience. If you're unable to pass or be passed, probably you would not be able to get there anyway.
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philwig wrote:
Whilst it's reasonable for beginners to fall over, I don't think it's reasonable of them to insist that they are never overtaken on a cat track. I doubt very much that you'd get far with such an argument in court.
Is anyone trying to make that point? The example I quoted from yesterday was an experienced skier on a 30m wide blue piste. The point I was making is that sudden and unusual moves can happen at any time, on cat tracks and on pistes, so any passing manoeuvre which requires a pole tap to ensure enough space to pass can easily run the risk of an unintended collision. Requiring the slower skier to ski in a particular way by offering an audible warning should not be something that happens as a matter of routine, IMO.
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rob@rar wrote:
motyl wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
Been skiing with a beginner for part of this week. She is extremely anxious about what is behind her.

I am too, and I don't know what I can do about it.
It's a tricky one and you are not alone even though you are a good and experienced skier. People like me saying that you should focus on what is ahead of you rather than what is behind you is not a strategy that is going to have much success. One thing you can do is to hope that the people behind you have enough respect that they don't send you audible warnings of some kind which require you to take action of some kind.

I was a very nervous pupil, and when I learned ( possibly prior to the birth of robrar) our ski instructors did this to let us know they were behind us and about to pass out, so don't turn just keep straight and turn when the instructor passed. He would teach from the front , stand watch us do our turns then come from behind, at that time he said it was polite to let people know that you are about to overtake so they knew you were there, ( sort of like looking in your mirrors when driving) prior to turning, in most cases this is not needed but on a flat prior to hill , yes if you are in a schuss and someone is practicing their turns on that flat , it is important to let them know you are there , otherwise their turns may cause you to stop or turn, lose speed and then pole the uphill, . I seldom pole click, I end up stuck behind, but my husband who does pole click always manages to just fly through it. Now add in the yobs who leave their appartment, a ski to and from appartment cat track, walk to the middle and drop their skis! that deserves way more than a pole click.
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biddpyat wrote:
.. it is important to let them know you are there , otherwise their turns may cause you to stop or turn, lose speed and then pole the uphill,
You think it is OK to require other skiers who are slower than you to get out out of your way so that you don't lose speed? Gosh, I really would be surprised if you think that's OK.
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Pole clicking is pointless and arrogant. If you're passing give enough space to allow for any kind of behaviour (voluntary or involuntary) within the laws of physics. If the pass-ee still feels vulnerable it's their problem.
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I'm going to bite on this because - as many snowheads will know - I used to be a bit of a dick when overtaking and perhaps not as a diligent as I ought to have been.

I think after all is said and done, the reality is that when you are sharing the piste you have to remember that you are sharing the piste. You have to drop your skiing down to maybe 50% of your potential, and you can only max yourself out when you can see the whole piste ahead of you and you can see that it is clear. If you have a clear piste then by all means bomb it because the only victim will be you. But when you're sharing the piste, everyone using it has a responsibility to themselves and to each other to make sure everyone goes home safe.

When you see people in front of you and you're going fast, you have to adjust for this. As was pointed out at the start, arranging your turns so that you can pass as somebody turns away from you is ideal. But you also have to ski in a manner where if, mid-turn, they face plant the snow or catch an edge, you're not plowing into them because you did not plan for it. You have to give people the space to make mistakes.

With regards to clicking poles... I have mixed emotions. Are you obliged to give way? No. Does that mean you shouldn't? Also no. I think if there is space for you to move and you have somebody behind you asking to pass, then as long as it doesn't disturb you, it's wise to do so. Clinging on to FIS rules and right of way doesn't help anyone. Rules won't stop you getting hurt. Every cemetery in the country will have a motorcyclist or a pedestrian in it who had right of way... didn't help them either. I'm not advocating the practice, but if you're made aware that there is a skier behind you who is skiing faster and is - let's face it - out of control (because if they were in control, your presence wouldn't affect them); staying ahead of them out of sheer principle might not actually be the best plan, no matter how much you want to exercise your piste-itutional rights.
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I'm in the pole clicking is legit mode. Example last weeken I was skiing a run that dropped onto a flattish chicane bridge over to the run going back to the lift. Now most people were dropping off the black run and taking enough speed to barely make it across the bridge, some were travelling more slowly. The critical part was that you didn't want someone moving into your line as you hit the bridge. Not because you'd harm them but because it was just making for a pain in the back bottom for you and a bigger blockage for the next person. So a click letting the person in front running out of gas to let them know you were there was IMV highly appropriate.

I remain amazed by the self absorption and lack of awareness of some skiers. I was noodling fairly rapidly down the side of a piste. A racer bloke blasted past me quite quickly - fair enough he was skilled enough, and then immediately hockey stopped directly in my path. Like less than a second or so. He got called a frikkin prick.

It was almost like a cash for crash stich up.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I don't use Pole Clicking...but I see it like the Horn of a car is supposed to be used, as in simply making other people aware of your presence.
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My wife is a one week skier, very, very nervous. She was terrified on the cat tracks in Whistler, and when her green run ran across another run. No amount of reassurance was enough. When fewer people around she skied a lot better. A mate is in Meribel from Aus at the moment, posted a vid on facebook, and all mrs endo could say was how much she hated the sound of turning skis in snow as she associated it with someone running in her ( they never did) . If ( and it's a big if) she skis again, then the hypno thing looks interesting.
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Hypo or some other form of psyche help sounds better than never expecting anyone to approach from behind or make a noise. That or just becoming the balls out fastest skier on the mountain or only skiing sound deadening pow pow.

That said cat tracks in Whistler generally mean it"s a high traffic commuter zone not the nice green it appears on the map. A case of local knowledge helps expectations.


As for cowbell guy - how did he stop more cowbell everytime he moved his pole? I've got to be honest I'd have been more amused than offended by that.
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I've used pole clicking sometimes on a narrow cat-track. On balance, I agree that it can be off putting to the skier in front, even if they are zig-zagging like a rapidly deflating party balloon. And it only really ever happens on cat tracks. I've also often been on the receiving end, it even once helped me avoid steering an out of control muppet down a 500ft drop.

Strictly speaking, the overtaking safely and with space rule overrides all the others, so we shouldn't do it. But I don't lose too much sleep over it. Like doing 85 in a 70.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
As for cowbell guy - how did he stop more cowbell everytime he moved his pole? I've got to be honest I'd have been more amused than offended by that.
He constantly jingled. But when he approached me, and the two or three people in front of me he did the same thing to, he raised his pole and shook it swiftly from side to side making significantly louder noise. It was no doubt a "get out of my way" noise, hence my reaction - generally I'm pretty laid back about behaviour of other skiers around me, but I thought his attitude to other people sharing that bit of piste was quite disgusting.
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Bodeswell wrote:
And it only really ever happens on cat tracks.
Cowbell Man, who I referred to earlier, did it to me on a 40m wide piste.
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Old Fartbag wrote:
@Dave of the Marmottes, I don't use Pole Clicking...but I see it like the Horn of a car is supposed to be used, as in simply making other people aware of your presence.
In what way should the recipient of that positional information act on it? Bearing in mind that to actually hear a pole click you need to be very close to the skier in front for them to be aware of your presence.
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rob@rar wrote:
Bodeswell wrote:
And it only really ever happens on cat tracks.
Cowbell Man, who I referred to earlier, did it to me on a 40m wide piste.

Yep, there's always one. It's not ideal.

To be fair though skiing ain't like waiting in a supermarket queue. You put on a couple of planks and get out on some steep ice, if it all gets a bit too alarming maybe try something else.
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Bodeswell wrote:
To be fair though skiing ain't like waiting in a supermarket queue. You put on a couple of planks and get out on some steep ice, if it all gets a bit too alarming maybe try something else.
I'm a fairly experienced skier so I wasn't alarmed (although the unusual noise made me look around, which for many skiers would cause them to veer slightly), just disgusted at his behaviour, to the point of expressing that disgust as he passed me. Sure, this was an especially egregious example, but the principle remains the same: the only reason for giving some sort of audible warning when overtaking is to expect the slower skier to act in a particular way. As they have the right of way it seems to me that providing that audible warning is, at best, disrespectful to the people you are sharing the mountain with.
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We can all argue this round and round, but at the end of the day we ALL know that @rob@rar is correct here.

Just don't do it. Those in front have RoW period. Those above MUST ski accordingly.

I'm a very average skier and I really appreciate better skiers giving me the space and respect. I also offer the same to those that are less experienced than me.

It's like being in a traffic queue and there's someone trying to join the flow from a side road, you just let them in, or you're a gentleman's appendage!
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@rob@rar saying "I'm a fairly experienced skier" is like saying Ronaldo he's quite good at football!!
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Pole tapping is like flashing your headlights in the outside lane of the motorway. To me it smacks of I'm more important than you get out of my way.
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@gazzaredcruiser, Laughing
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pieman666 wrote:
Pole tapping is like flashing your headlights in the outside lane of the motorway. To me it smacks of I'm more important than you get out of my way.
or, mind you don't get in my way. In my time I've given way in both scenarios on cat tracks, whilst wondering if I'm not skiing considerately.
I am nevertheless sympathetic with dp's thoughts regarding obligations on piste. There can never be an expectation of the skier below.
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@motyl, in other words, @rob@rar is right. Toofy Grin
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Snowploughing is how our ski instructor got us past other groups, or sliding down a steeper bit of the piste that they were avoiding. If they start to turn into you, a quick ‘Woo!’ Works. Snowboarder did that to me yesterday. Stopped us from crashing even though we were on a really wide piste crossroads.
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I think a lot of this could be resolved if people simply considered other slope users rather than simply pushed on with the line / course they want. Passing can be tricky esp if the person in front is nervous but if you are considerate and watch the other slope users, you can gauge that. Of course, we all make mistakes on occasions but if we consider others and not just bullish then it is easier for people of all abilities to share the slopes.
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rob@rar wrote:
Old Fartbag wrote:
@Dave of the Marmottes, I don't use Pole Clicking...but I see it like the Horn of a car is supposed to be used, as in simply making other people aware of your presence.
In what way should the recipient of that positional information act on it? Bearing in mind that to actually hear a pole click you need to be very close to the skier in front for them to be aware of your presence.

That is up to the person in front.

If they are completely unaware of your presence behind them, it "may" give them options to react (or it may not). IMO. You are usually better knowing, than not knowing, that someone is reasonably close behind.

What I do have an objection to, is using it like the flashing of lights on the fast lane of a motorway....as in "Get out of my way!".
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I'm ambivalent about it - I can see both pluses and minuses to letting people know you are there- some people will be dicks and attempting overtake unsafely no matter what, some people are simply attempting to alert to presence. Some people will hear and panic, others with be grateful. Such is life, and thank goodness, we are all different.

Of course it all goes Pete Tong when the idiot* in front in wearing headphones and can't hear anyway.

* I consider ANYONE on the mountain who deliberately reduces their available senses while participating in a fast moving sport to be an idiot
(And anyway, thought it was about time this thread went in a different direction... wink )
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Arctic Roll wrote:
I'm ambivalent about it - I can see both pluses and minuses to letting people know you are there- some people will be dicks and attempting overtake unsafely no matter what, some people are simply attempting to alert to presence. Some people will hear and panic, others with be grateful. Such is life, and thank goodness, we are all different.

Of course it all goes Pete Tong when the idiot* in front in wearing headphones and can't hear anyway.

* I consider ANYONE on the mountain who deliberately reduces their available senses while participating in a fast moving sport to be an idiot
(And anyway, thought it was about time this thread went in a different direction... wink )

I think that pretty much sums up my position.
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