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Dangerous straight-lining

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thinking back to the times when I’ve seen people straightlining it down a piste I’d argue that it is just as often the better skiers who do it. The number of times I’ve seen instructors do it is countless. Now, they may be fully in control but all too often they pass at speed far too close to slower skiers IMO. I.e. possibly not dangerous due to their skill, but often inconsiderate and disruptive/unsettling.

My point is that it’s obviously inappropriate speed rather than just speed/straightlining that is the issue. If an intermediot wants to straightline a piste at speeds beyond their control, and they do so away from everyone else then that’s largely a matter for them.
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Quote:

that’s largely a matter for them.


It can also give piste patrol good first aid practice*

*or totally waste their time on a totally preventable call out.
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I guess it's an age thing too. When we were young we drove and skied too fast. Now we're older we moan about others doing it.

Interesting someone mentioning better lifts leading to crowded pistes. Europe spent a.decade getting their lifts up to North American Standards. Perhaps, in the next ten years they ll do the same with piste patrol.

The problem with piste patrol is the traffic warden/politician syndrome. The people who'd seek such a job are exactly the wrong person you'd want doing the job
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I guess it's an age thing too. When we were young we drove and skied too fast. Now we're older we moan about others doing it.

Interesting someone mentioning better lifts leading to crowded pistes. Europe spent a.decade getting their lifts up to North American Standards. Perhaps, in the next ten years they ll do the same with piste patrol.

The problem with piste patrol is the traffic warden/politician syndrome. The people who'd seek such a job are exactly the wrong person you'd want doing the job
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This came with unsolicited email from Fatmaps this morning
https://journal.fatmap.com/how-to-xv-part-2-straightline-with-xavier-de-le-rue-dcc2f2c1d085
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http://youtube.com/v/UG6o1IsLvz4&feature=youtu.be
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@On the rocks, @Onnem, I love the fact that he specifically recommends doing it when hungover!
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:
...Now we're older we moan about others doing it.... The problem with piste patrol is the traffic warden/politician syndrome. The people who'd seek such a job are exactly the wrong person you'd want doing the job

Good points, except the last - in my experience the patrol (actually the speed cops: they're different in Whistler at least) are basically ski bums and they understand what it's about. They don't have a problem with people who ride fast in control. It helps if you make sure they understand that's what you're doing and at least acknowledge that they exist.

I think it's like speeding... in my experience the people who garner speeding fines are not the fastest people, just the ones who think they are.
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I had a terrifying experience in Tignes earlier this year, we were skiing down the black toviere run - as you get to the last steep section we waited for all the unsure looking people to go far enough ahead that we couldn't catch them up, and we could gauge their ability (likeliness of spontaneous fall etc), so, I went first and picked a line of the opposite side of the piste, totally in control, not going overly fast, getting a good carve on and had nice even turns. Whilst Mr Extremophile was waiting for me to go ahead a little 2 boarders stood at the top and said to each other 'F it, lets straight line' this was unbeknown to me. So I'm about 1/3 of the way down now... when I hear 'Sh*******!' and a boarder comes so close to me I really don't know how he didn't run over the backs of my skis, I scream, shout out 'F***' and prepare to fall heavily on a steep piste... he goes off, his friend catches up, joined later by Mr Extremophile. Once I get down after having the literal life frightened out of me I go to town on this guy.

He just did not understand that as the down hill skier I have the only priority, his friend tried to argue that we both have priority and he's allowed to turn where he likes... no, just no! he even argued 'Would you rather me kill myself just to avoid you?', 'yes' I scream - 'Why should I be killed because you are choosing to ski so dangerously!?', I think he may have realised at this point that he was in the wrong, and I made sure by saying he would have been responsible for either Manslaughter or worse if he'd have intentionally abandoned his responsibility and killed me! I like to think he learnt his lesson, but more than likely he got in the gondola and thought 'what a crazy b****!'
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I always think that the pass office could do more, like making people sign to acknowledge the FIS code when buying their pass. Then if the person is involved in an accident of their own causing and legal proceedings are brought, then any abandonment of responsibility can be proven. They go to all the effort to print the piste maps, then the code is on the back... the only people who read the backs of things are people who are interested, if they make accepting the FIS code compulsary, MAYBE more people would bear it in mind
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I think we have probably been lucky up until now, and usually avoid the busiest pistes, but today we were skiing Skiroute 4 at Zauchensee. It had had one run of a piste basher overnight so was nice and smooth and soft, it starts with a gentle bowl, then narrows and steepens onto a black-run angle ramp. On this section there was a skier fallen in front so JanetS slowed - as I turned towards the outer edge of the ramp a lunatic in semi-snowplough hurtled through at huge speed, causing me to turn short, and about a half second later a second lunatic also in semi-snowplough straight lined the other side of me, hitting the tips of my skis at great speed propelling me down the slope at speed, I had just enough time to get my skis sideways before wiping out Janet, leaving my skis and flying over the top of her, and the fallen skier before landing head first down the slope on my right shoulder. Janet had managed to break her fall by hitting the fallen skier. Result - scrapes and bruises, six skis and poles scattered everywhere, and the culprits skiing away at about mach 2. Guess the silly season has arrived!
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I head to the mountain and ride to have fun. I don't really see any need for skiers or boarders to straight-line, if they're on piste they'll just end up in a lift queue quicker. When on piste, I'd rather just make some decent turns. Although, there are a few times when I get frustrated and think, nah stuff it, I'll make it through a narrow gap:

(1) skiers stopped perpendicular to the piste in a line on the top of a steep rise - "picking their line". I'm thinking to myself: I need to maintain speed to get over the hump and continue. Cool head usually prevails and if I don't make it up, I just walk up the rest of the way.

(2) boarders or skiers stopped in a narrow flat section.

(3) when I am five metres behind a very slow skier on a packed (with people) narrow section and I am following their line continuously speed checking, I get a dirty look because the "sound" is freaking them out. I usually just ride off to the side and wait out the back log.
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I was at Hemel on Sunday morning and saw two guys in their late teens basically straight-lining with only a few very short turns down the side next to the side lift. These guys are sharing the slope with very young novice skiers and in my mind, it's the wrong place for this sort of thing.

None of the Hemel patrol guys said a word. (But did advise me very quickly at the top of the slope that I needed a helmet when I didn't realise it was compulsory)

My wife suggested that indoor skiing might be the only place they can get their adrenaline rush and that's fine. But perhaps the snow domes should assign specific times for different mentalities. Skate parks have different sessions for scooter riders / skateboarders / bmx so they don't get in each others' way.

They also need to fence off the drag lifts from the main slope. Scary watching out of control skiers coming straight at you not knowing if their next turn could be your end.

Ski resorts could assign specific pistes for straight-liners. A by-product of this would be an understanding that it is not appropriate elsewhere.
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 You know it makes sense.
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@TopGooner, similar experience at Cardiff dry slope a few years back. Daughter was nicely picking her way down the slope, but being nagged by one of the staff to add some more turns to stay in control (which was a bit daft because she was barely moving). Only for some muppet to do five or six runs straight line top to bottom, using the up-slope at the bottom to slow down. It took a "FFS, why don't you have a word with her, too?" from me for the staff to tell said muppet to ski properly.
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SH's is unfortunately awash with its own brand of nutters if this thread is to be believed. http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=75819
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
TopGooner wrote:
I was at Hemel on Sunday morning and saw two guys in their late teens basically straight-lining with only a few very short turns down the side next to the side lift....
None of the Hemel patrol guys said a word. ...
Ski resorts could assign specific pistes for straight-liners. ...


On the first, that's why I don't go there. I just can't take the risk that some wally will crash into me. Their staff don't police the slopes, in my experience. They presumably don't think they'd have any liability should there be a compensation claim. The helmet thing... that's a simple rule to apply, much easier for their staff than asking punters to ski in control.

On the last... I'd just make sure that you don't have easy pistes which useless people can go fast on. Of if you do, then you need a speed patrol, like Whistler.
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Right place, right time, is fine.
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philwig wrote:
TopGooner wrote:
I was at Hemel on Sunday morning and saw two guys in their late teens basically straight-lining with only a few very short turns down the side next to the side lift....
None of the Hemel patrol guys said a word. ...
Ski resorts could assign specific pistes for straight-liners. ...


On the first, that's why I don't go there. I just can't take the risk that some wally will crash into me. Their staff don't police the slopes, in my experience. They presumably don't think they'd have any liability should there be a compensation claim. The helmet thing... that's a simple rule to apply, much easier for their staff than asking punters to ski in control.

On the last... I'd just make sure that you don't have easy pistes which useless people can go fast on. Of if you do, then you need a speed patrol, like Whistler.


I have to say the last few times I have been to Hemel I have seen the "patrol" taking people off the slopes and/or warning them when they were out of control or not up to the required standard
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Solution: The lift system measures the time from when you got on the lift to when you try to get on it again. Subtract the time you spent on the lift and what remains is the time it took you to do the run. If you exceed the speed limit then the system bars you for say fifteen minutes and lets all the guys you nearly killed on the way down go past and wish you a pleasant day.
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They are really gonna hate me!
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@Steilhang,

i know you aren't serious but its a stupid idea - it's the peak speed that matters not the average
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@jedster, oh well. I'll withdraw my patent application then.
This is what they do in tunnels in Germany and Austria though.
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@Steilhang,
Quote:

Solution: The lift system measures the time from when you got on the lift to when you try to get on it again. Subtract the time you spent on the lift and what remains is the time it took you to do the run. If you exceed the speed limit then the system bars you for say fifteen minutes and lets all the guys you nearly killed on the way down go past and wish you a pleasant day.


Fun idea, but I don't think that would work at all. It relies on zero lift queues and if the straight-liner was to pause for just a few seconds at any point in the run then their average would return to normal. It's not like average speed cameras on a motorway where the drivers are rushing to get from A to B. The straight-liners we are talking about wouldn't mind waiting for a while at top and bottom while they chat to friends. All they are seeking is the adrenalin rush of a few seconds of speed. It's also too blunt an instrument. There are plenty of places on a mountain where high speeds are perfectly safe (wide, empty piste in good vis). It's inappropriate speed that is the issue. I'd probably prefer it if someone was straight-lining it down the side of the piste as opposed to some of the high-speed carvers who may use up much more of the available space and possibly come into conflict with many more skiers. It also doesn't take into account the degree of control that the skier may/may not have. An out of control skier at 30mph is far more dangerous than Aksel Svindal at 50mph.

[Sorry, boring, serious response to a humorous suggestion!]
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@foxtrotzulu, @Steilhang, ....grief...in the sports I like to do there's heaps of objective danger to self and others and I feel that it's best to self-regulate one's own behaviour rather than have a drift to total external surveillance by technology....but in so many aspects of life, that's the way which we seem to be going...John Stuart Mill meets Steve Jobs....
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There would also be issues in that it's actually not the speed which is the issue, it's the fact that the people doing it don't have a great deal of control. The piste "speed cops" (who are just ski bums like the rest of us...) at Whistler are flexible enough that if you're riding fast and in control they won't hassle you, which would be hard to achieve with a machine.

Glad to hear they have been known to evict people from there; one day I'll see them do it. I could of course just take the people on directly, but that's my car parked outside...
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@valais2, I was agreeing with you. I would hate it for skiing to become much more regulated.
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Steilhang wrote:
Solution: The lift system measures the time from when you got on the lift to when you try to get on it again. Subtract the time you spent on the lift and what remains is the time it took you to do the run. If you exceed the speed limit then the system bars you for say fifteen minutes and lets all the guys you nearly killed on the way down go past and wish you a pleasant day.
snowHead



Actually I think they already do it. I am not sure if it is enabled on all the lifts but it is on the one in the centre of town in Alpe d'Huez, the signal slope which is a steep blue next to the slalom training slope. Or at least it was on it 2 years ago when it was still served by draglifts because I was on a night skiing session there and bailed off the drag to help someone who had fell over, she did not need much help so I shot straight back to the lift and the barrier would not let me through. The liftie on duty, who I know to speak to and don't think he was kidding Smile , told me it was because I had returned too quick.
It's never happened under normal circumstances though because I am not a dangerous straight liner Little Angel
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The lifts have a time limit for a different reason actually - not to stop you skiing too fast, but to make sure that everyone in the group buys a pass and you do not share one Smile
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@WindOfChange, Yes you are probably right. The liftie was still impressed though, until I told him I had got off at the 2nd. pylon Laughing
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http://youtube.com/v/y8iukJojlAc

This was from my first day in La Plagne last week. We were on the Tunnel run (blue). We had just stopped to regroup, set off and as you can see a flying Frenchie comes past me at speed on the left. He was either going A, too fast B, not paying attention or C, a mixture of both to avoid hitting a skier from a different group.
The crash looked nasty. I slowed down but it appeared that both were uninjured and I knew his group were behind me so I carried on, not wanting to "inflame" the situation I did however let him know what I thought of him on the way past. (Had he been prone on the floor or apparently injured then yes, of course I would have stopped).

PS: I know he was French as he caught up with us just after the Tunnel to chat to his friends. Not that it matters, as I would have been just as annoyed if it was an British/Austrian/whatever skier.
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Sack the Juggler wrote:
@peter w, Hopefully they deserved it, but I now have an image of two Italian cops relaxing with their skis on at the side of the piste drinking espresso before taking off after said speedsters with flashing blue lights on their helmets Laughing


No flashing light on their helmet....but they do have flashing lights on their snowmobiles!! Cool
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Is this an example of irresponsible skiing on an open piste? Seems to be early morning and the skier seems to be in control but there are people pootling on the piste and blind crests. Looks out of order to me - perhaps I am just old or it’s the go-pro angle.


http://youtube.com/v/eniLYYUFQ1s
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^ Not really he is well clear of everyone and in fact slows over crests and puts in turns when there is traffic in front of him. I don't get the attraction at all of trying to straightline as much as possible but I suspect that that guy isn't really the problem cf less skilled muppets.

(I also think GoPro has a bit of an effect in that a good naked eye can probably resolve people further out than the camera does)
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@Dave of the Marmottes,

Glad it’s the go-pro and not my age Smile. I looked at it again - I mostly agree other than around the 50 sec mark where it gets a bit busy.
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@Ozboy, seems rather irresponsible to me. What happens if someone comes out of no-where and he can't stop in time.
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@Ozboy, quite a nice run that, he seems well in control, aware of where everyone else was, turning where necessary and slowing for crests, etc, so not really straight lining, more fast and controlled
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82 mph seems a bit quick on a piste open to the ordinary public - though I agree that the skier does act to mitigate risk.
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Sack the Juggler wrote:
@Ozboy, quite a nice run that, he seems well in control, aware of where everyone else was, turning where necessary and slowing for crests, etc, so not really straight lining, more fast and controlled
Broadly speaking I agree, although IF he was indeed going at 133kmh at times then that really is too fast. There are moments when he would have struggled if other people had done something erratic / foolish. However, 133kmh is 82mph and I struggle to believe it was as fast as that. I would have thought most of that run was closer to half that speed.
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Sack the Juggler wrote:
@Ozboy, quite a nice run that, he seems well in control, aware of where everyone else was, turning where necessary and slowing for crests, etc, so not really straight lining, more fast and controlled
Broadly speaking I agree, although IF he was indeed going at 133kmh at times then that really is too fast. There are moments when he would have struggled if other people had done something erratic / foolish. However, 133kmh is 82mph and I struggle to believe it was as fast as that. I would have thought most of that run was closer to half that speed.
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130km/h is pretty slow on a speed course, but you still can't turn, and stopping takes hugely longer than that. It doesn't look anything like that speed, but still I'm sure they could easily kill at least themselves. I can't see the point: if you think you're good, then race.... anything else is just willy waving.
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@foxtrotzulu, I'm guessing that his youtube comment indicates that the quoted speed was reached in the section after 2 minutes into the video, though I'm unable to translate it. There also seems to be a very fast section early on but I would agree with you that at other times his speed appears to be much less.

There is one point in the video about 52 sec that makes me think that I could be wiped out by someone like this, as there is no guarantee that I would continue on my planned course if I glimpsed this missile flying from above!

It still feels too risky even with so few people on piste.
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