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When is a Run CLOSED?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
In the mind of UK skiers, what defines a run as being closed or off limits? Is it considered ok to duck under ropes?

Backstory: Sunday at A Basin (Colorado), my daughter competed in her first "Big Mountain" comp along with about 200 skiers/boarders ages under the age of 16. The comp took place on the Nose which was completely roped off on both sides with a closed sign up top. Competitors were send down 1 at a time with 2 judges (and a number of parents) at the bottom of the run. As my daughter started her run, a group of UK skiers/boarders cut under the ropes about half way down the run with 1 traversing across and stopping in her intended line near a jump next to a tree.

I caught up with him, a middle aged skier, and had the following exchange-

ME: This is a closed run.
Him: How were we supposed to know that?
ME: You had a to duck a rope to get onto the run, didn't you?
Him: People duck ropes all the time.

Its been almost a decade sine I skied in Europe...in the US, a rope typically means a run/area is closed. What does it mean in Europe?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It means exactly the same. You get pistes that are closed for racing training/ competition but they usually have the netting all the way down to stop anyone from ducking under. Closed pistes usually just have netting at the entrance saying closed usually for avalanche risk, no snow cover or the lift at the bottom isnt operational. I dont think youre insured on these runs. Probably not much you can do about it though.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
"Him: People duck ropes all the time."

Is true. People do.
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Ropes mean a variety of things in Europe. A rope can mean that a run is closed. In this instance there will usually be netting and extensive signage. It may be physically quite difficult to get past. A rope can also denote the limit of the controlled area. So the resort may be looking to keep skiers on the piste but is not actually forbidding then from ducking the rope. Indeed, rope ducking may be necessary to access commonly skied off-piste routes. In some resorts, I might expect to duck a rope multiple times a day. The resort is expecting you to know why the rope is there and what the consequences are of going past it.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If it was a roped off marked trail, I wouldn't have ducked it without speaking to someone first (a marshal or similar). Same if there were gates up.
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Rope ducking is generally fine in Europe - it's your own risk. Sounds like comp organisers should have posted it better.

Still doesn't mean the Brits weren't asshats for not knowing and following local practice.
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Before ducking under a rope, look up and downhill, just like you are obliged to do when entering a piste from off piste.
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I would say this is linked to the insurance 'cultural' difference between the US and Europe.

In Europe, if you ski off or away from a marked run you have to have off-piste insurance to claim if you have an accident (not saying that many do!). This means that its completely normalised (and becoming more so) for people to ski side country, down closed pistes etc - effectively no one takes the rules very seriously. In the US its my understanding that the whole area is fair game right (from insurance purposes) until you reach the area bounds? So when runs are closed, they are really closed, and people take these rules much more seriously.
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I'd expect the run to be netted off if being used for a competition and/or marshalled. I think most Europeans if cutting in from an off piste area onto a piste would duck a rope without any other signage, etc. Although I would be careful not to impeded any uphill skier whilst doing so.
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Funnily enough when I was in Les Contamines in mid January a piste was closed as it was being used for a Super G course (looked fun, the British Army used it on a couple of days as evidenced by some really ropey skiing!). The Piste in question was at the far skiers right of a bowl. Skiers left of the piste was fenced )not just a rope - a full mesh fence) all the way down (quite a long way on a Super G). Skiers right was only partly fenced (sections missing). We tried to skate past the top of the piste to access the off piste terrain past the closed piste (no rope ducking required, had no intention of going back onto the piste - you can get to the lift entirely off-piste) and were stopped by an ESF instructor. He was not interested in our plans - he clearly just wanted to be certain that there was no way someone could wander back onto the Super G course while it was in use. A bit frustrating but understandable.

So going back to the original question - a rope seems more like a recommendation than a definitive "you shall not pass!" - probably need a mesh fence for that.
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dogwatch wrote:
"Him: People duck ropes all the time."

Is true. People do.


A number of them for the last time, like the ones in Les 2 Alpes last year.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I would suggest that if the resort authorities have roped off a run then they do not intend people to ski / board it so stay off.
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jedster wrote:
Funnily enough when I was in Les Contamines in mid January a piste was closed as it was being used for a Super G course (looked fun, the British Army used it on a couple of days as evidenced by some really ropey skiing!). The Piste in question was at the far skiers right of a bowl. Skiers left of the piste was fenced )not just a rope - a full mesh fence) all the way down (quite a long way on a Super G). Skiers right was only partly fenced (sections missing). We tried to skate past the top of the piste to access the off piste terrain past the closed piste (no rope ducking required, had no intention of going back onto the piste - you can get to the lift entirely off-piste) and were stopped by an ESF instructor. He was not interested in our plans - he clearly just wanted to be certain that there was no way someone could wander back onto the Super G course while it was in use. A bit frustrating but understandable.

So going back to the original question - a rope seems more like a recommendation than a definitive "you shall not pass!" - probably need a mesh fence for that.


One of the best runs I've ever had, was closed for racing by the French Army (bottom 2/3 of OK into La Daille)...I was having a lesson with one of the organizers. We had a freshly prepared track all to ourselves.....truly amazing. We did it twice!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@MEfree30, Doesn't matter how many layers of fences you put up around a competition area, somebody will still manage to get tangled up in the final one. They will then deny that they have seen any of the earlier closed signs and fences.

Another argument that I have heard many times is "I have paid for my lift pass so can ski any run in the resort".
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

(bottom 2/3 of OK into La Daille)


The OK is a great run - must have been brilliant when it was closed! Especially if it was just the bottom 2/3. As I remember the full racing start looks a bit bloody scary!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
assuming you are going to "point it" of course Toofy Grin
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Still doesn't mean the Brits weren't asshats for not knowing and following local practice.


I think that's the salient point, isn't it? If you are used to a culture in which the rope may mean "here's where the good skiing is" then the onus is on you to understand what it means somewhere else.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
IMO the guys ducking the rope should have been aware of the competition and the faces being used, as such common curtosey dictates that they should avoid the faces in use.
Generally its good to have a plan if you are off piste, so they should have been aware. just skiing anything without local knowledge is a little reckless.
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Usually in the US the ropes are there to stop folks entering an area, they have gates, or open sections along the ropes to allow access.
Consequences of rope ducking can range from a talking to by the patroller to loss of lift pass and escorted off the ski area.

The ropes aren't just for your safety but for others as well - there would have been signs too at some point, its just what they do - and IIRC its mentioned on the back of lift tickets/trail maps and at the base area usually.

Of course folks don't generally stop and read or pay attention to these warnings/ rules.
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Rightly or wrongly I've seen that in the 3V that there is a bit of an unwritten rule . . . . . . if it's a bit dodgy but actually OK then there is a half ar5sed attempt to rope it off and you can get by easily . . . . . if it really is not the place to go then it gets properly roped of so you have to go very much out of your way to get around the rope.

Am i misinterpreting the code?
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jedster wrote:
assuming you are going to "point it" of course Toofy Grin

We sort of Super G'd it.
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jedster wrote:
Quote:

(bottom 2/3 of OK into La Daille)


The OK is a great run - must have been brilliant when it was closed! Especially if it was just the bottom 2/3. As I remember the full racing start looks a bit bloody scary!

Not as scary as when they went from up where the old cable car used to be.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
In Europe, you would usually assume that a rope/gate was there because someone thinks it's a bad idea for you to proceed, or the piste is being preserved for competition etc. But you'll usually get signage of some sort even if it's just 'piste closed' - thus, if you came across a rope with no other information, you'd be a bit uncertain about what it meant, if anything. Personally, I'd assume that a rope even with no signage might indicate a hidden danger - one area where I ski I've also walked in the summer and there's a band of salt rock with massive sinkholes in it between two pistes. In the winter, their depth isn't obvious but you'd just disappear if you dropped-in. These are marked with big red poles and a rope, but no explanation.
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Snow = open.
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@Old Fartbag, think I
Meant the old cable car start - been ages since I e been there
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In Europe a simple rope often means "at your risk". I agree it's up to the skier to learn local conventions though
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I've never really paid a huge amount of attention, other than seeing pistes closed for races or training. In those instances it seems to always be full netting top to bottom.

In a few instances in Livigno there have been lessons on slalom courses (not race training, general lessons) that are on pistes you need to traverse to get to an uplift. In those cases they tend to be roped and you can cross with a good deal of checking up the slope.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
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When I worked on the racing, esp on the super G and the down hill we put up enough C Net and B Net to catch an elephant. Or as we called it P net for its ability to trap punters... Even with a 6 foot high C net covering the piste it was amazing how many people tried to ski through it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
rope across the top means piste closed for some reason.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@lordf, How long does it take to put up and properly secure 1 km of netting? At Copper Mountain, it seems that they put in a LOT OF MAN HOURS to put top to bottom netting (over 2,000 feet vertical, maybe 3+ km of netting total) when they host the Nor Am races (right now for about 2 weeks) or US & International ski teams (at the beginning of the season).

The comp at A Basin Sunday was only for 1 day and netting is not needed to protect athletes from sliding off into the trees during a fall (like at the Copper Speed Center). The Summit Foundation, Team Summit and A Basin are very generous in hosting this event at no cost (including lift tickets if they don't have season passes) to the local kids...Colorado locals know that you are not suppose to duck ropes, and my guess is that the resort may opt not to host the event if it required putting up netting instead of ropes top to bottom on both sides. As far as I know, this group of UK skiers was the only ones all day to duck the rope and traverse the slope. There is a video at https://www.facebook.com/skischoolpros/videos/1924375994458456/ but it is hard to see details or the ropes on both sides of the un-groomed run that is surrounded by un-groomed runs on both sides.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Are ESF instructors allowed to ski closed runs with clients without avi gear as observed on lachenal ( Cham )?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Wallski, anybody is allowed to ski closed runs (unless closed for competitions). Your point is?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I was shooed off a closed piste in Serre Chevalier a while ago, by an ESF instructor who had a couple of private clients with him...

'Piste closed' he said.
'What about these' pointing at the two clients.
'Private lesson'.

I ignored him of course.

It was amusing to see him start to chase me, then stop after he realised he had his clients with him. He would have caught me easily, and I'm sure I would have lost my lift pass for the week!
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In Colorado, it is against the law to duck a rope and ski an area that has been closed by the resort. Trust me, I know, I was arrested once. This is very clearly defined in the Colorado Ski Safety Act which includes the Skier and Snowboarder Responsibility Code as defined by NSAA (National Ski Areas Association).
http://www.nsaa.org/safety-programs/responsibility-code/ specifically:
6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
Back in the days of paper lift tickets the Code was printed on the back of every lift licket.
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Quote:
in the US, a rope typically means a run/area is closed. What does it mean in Europe?

It doesn't matter what it means im Europe. What matters is what it means in the US! Because that's where the ropes were.

I bet the guy knows US blue pistes means red of Europe. He has the duty to know what the rope means in US too
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