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Why are there so many idiots on the slopes?/Pole-tapping

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zikomo wrote:
Yes if course I have overtaken people on a cat track. No, I have never come even close to hitting someone. Even when they make a sharp turn. Yes it would be your fault, not for passing but for not making allowance for the downhill skier to make any voluntary or involuntary movement. It is actually very simple. If you have space and the tecnical skiing ability to pass someone safely you should do so. If you lack either, you should not. By default any close shave or indeed collision you have when doing so is because you lacked one or the other (or both). Safer for all of us if people could just accept that and not make excuses.
+1
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zikomo wrote:
dave_3 wrote:
The issue of passing people on cat tracks is a good one. Most people reading this have at some point had to overtake people on these tracks. So if your passing a slower skier and stick to the other side of the track and they take a sharp turn into you then it's your fault for passing?

I can recollect a few occasions where I've been sqeezed up against a wall of snow and rock. These days I just cough


Yes if course I have overtaken people on a cat track. No, I have never come even close to hitting someone. Even when they make a sharp turn. Yes it would be your fault, not for passing but for not making allowance for the downhill skier to make any voluntary or involuntary movement. It is actually very simple. If you have space and the tecnical skiing ability to pass someone safely you should do so. If you lack either, you should not. By default any close shave or indeed collision you have when doing so is because you lacked one or the other (or both). Safer for all of us if people could just accept that and not make excuses.


When you are driving a car you are responsible for the driver in front of you. What can you do if you're overtaking a person on a dual carriage way and when you're along side they just change lane and crash into you?

This is why I simply cough as a polite way to tell a person I'm close by. When I am skiing cat tracks I am forever looking behind me to see who's coming
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:

I bet the instructor is claiming her PPI?
I wonder if French daytime TV has adverts all summer long saying 'Injured by somebody else on the ski slopes?


No, because it is a different country with different legal customs. It is very difficult to claim anything in terms of personal injury compensation, the sums that are awarded are chicken feed compared to the UK.
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Quote:

Pole tapping is both pointless and rude

hear hear
this one's been done to death on other threads, and definitely belongs there, and nobody will deviate from their ingrained personal points of view
all it tells me is there's an impatient sod that wants me to do something that give up my right of way
but not as impatient a git shouting "on yer left mate!" in pure Kentish chav accent (yes I have heard that, in France, and was well impressed that they could tell that I was not only an Englishman, but also a native Kentish Man, purely from my skiing style on a cat track!)

if you want to come past... just do so, you got the skills, and the knowledge of the FIS code that explains in simple language exactly how one should go about that. pole clicking, and saying on what side you're passing do not feature in those words at all.

dunno what I was sposed to be looking at in the OP vid though. got bored and skipped forward, so must have missed the 2 seconds of controversial action.
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@dave_3, Sorry but I just don't get it. If you have been "squeezed up against a wall of snow and rock" you lacked either the space or the skiing ability to pass safely and would have been better off not attempting to do so. It is literally that simple.

There are no "lanes" in skiing. You are responsible to only overtake in such a way that it makes allowance for the skier below you on the slope to make any movement, voluntary or involuntary (including just plain stupid). The driving analogy does not at all work, as there is no concept of right of way or lanes in skiing at all. The only way to make that analogy work is to imagine you would NOT be able to overtake on a dual carriageway as you suggest, as you would not be able to allow for a car in the adjacent lane making a movement into your lane. But as I said it really does not work anyway as an analogy, particularly pertinent is that lanes do not exist (although many people seem to think they do, and ski as if they do) on the piste.

That is not to say it is impossible to pass safely on a cat track, it is absolutely manageable to do so in a safe manner. And when it is not absolutely safe to do so all you need to do is slow down and have a little patience (and perhaps a little understanding for those of lesser ability).

I do not at all understand what your cough is for, now why you are always looking behind you. Perhaps these contribute to the problem? I.e. confusing skiers in front of you while not being fully focussed on what is in front of you?
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Nothing wrong with pole tapping used correctly. If I'm going down a narrow piste with someone using the whole piste ahead, I will try to judge the right moment to pass them, i.e. when I expect them to be on the opposite side to where I have positioned myself. I will then overtake using the gap, but I'll tap poles to make them aware (in case they decide to do something different) that I'm there. It reduces the risk of collision which is in the interest of both parties.

What I don't do is tap poles in the belief that this gives me an excuse to proceed without consideration for others. That would clearly be incorrect.
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dave_3 wrote:
The issue of passing people on cat tracks is a good one. Most people reading this have at some point had to overtake people on these tracks. So if your passing a slower skier and stick to the other side of the track and they take a sharp turn into you then it's your fault for passing?



In the situation of passing on flattish tracks both skiers' speeds are likely to be sedate and similar, so it's unlikely to be a case of 'belligerent 40mph speeder slams into pootling 5mph snowboarder'.

Nevertheless, the skier ahead has priority, and that means the overtaking skier has the responsibility to avoid causing a collision in the process of overtaking the skier ahead.

This responsibility ends as soon as the overtaken skier becomes sufficiently aware of the overtaking skier, that they then have responsibility for avoiding collision with the skier that has just overtaken them (now ahead of them). So, anything that assists such awareness (but not to startle or shock) will be helpful.

Even so, skiers should expect others will wish to overtake them on flattish and narrow tracks, in a safe manner, and therefore should accommodate such overtaking - if possible to do so safely.
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I see it as the same as when a cyclists comes up behind me. They ring their bell I step aside and allow them to proceed. By rights I could just stay as I am and make it their problem to pass but I'm too considerate to do that.

I would like you to educate me on the correct procedure to pass a slower skier on a ski track. They are far left you are far right as you come along side them they hook a sharp turn. Most of the time my reaction time is sufficient to slow and avoid any incident. But with tracks being narrow it certainly does make it more challenging.
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crosbie wrote:
dave_3 wrote:
The issue of passing people on cat tracks is a good one. Most people reading this have at some point had to overtake people on these tracks. So if your passing a slower skier and stick to the other side of the track and they take a sharp turn into you then it's your fault for passing?



In the situation of passing on flattish tracks both skiers' speeds are likely to be sedate and similar, so it's unlikely to be a case of 'belligerent 40mph speeder slams into pootling 5mph snowboarder'.

Nevertheless, the skier ahead has priority, and that means the overtaking skier has the responsibility to avoid causing a collision in the process of overtaking the skier ahead.

This responsibility ends as soon as the overtaken skier becomes sufficiently aware of the overtaking skier, that they then have responsibility for avoiding collision with the skier that has just overtaken them (now ahead of them). So, anything that assists such awareness (but not to startle or shock) will be helpful.

Even so, skiers should expect others will wish to overtake them on flattish and narrow tracks, in a safe manner, and therefore should accommodate such overtaking - if possible to do so safely.



Sounds good to me. Can't argue with any of that
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When I hear someone tapping behind me on a narrow cat track I usually respond by introducing as many movements and shape changes as possible.

I see no reason why I can't reply in semaphore if they are using morse.
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I'm one of those people that finds pole tapping quite rude, and not particularly useful. Much prefer an "on your left/right" - lets me know exactly where they are so I'm not turning into them (granted it would be their fault but seems in both our interests to not collide).
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crosbie wrote:
In the situation of passing on flattish tracks both skiers' speeds are likely to be sedate and similar, so it's unlikely to be a case of 'belligerent 40mph speeder slams into pootling 5mph snowboarder'.


More likely the other way round, as the snowboarder will be trying to keep speed as long as possible to get them over the flat
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Pole tapping is like the indicator being left on when overtaking on French motorways. You either get it or you don't.
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anarchicsaltire wrote:
When I hear someone tapping behind me on a narrow cat track I usually respond by introducing as many movements and shape changes as possible.

I see no reason why I can't reply in semaphore if they are using morse.
Happy

Last winter a skier behind me had some bells attached to his ski pole and shook them vigorously as he came up behind me. I took great exception and used a word my grandmother would not be proud of as he skied past. Turns out it's recognised in other languages as well as English. This was not on a cat track but a very wide, flat piste were two pistes join, one slightly slower than the other. In order to pass me he had to move to one side, which probably meant he lost a fraction of is speed, so I guess the jangling of the bells was a bit of a "get out of my way, I'm coming through". I did not take kindly to such rudeness, so let him know what I thought. He continued to jangle his fecking bells at other skiers in front of him. It's confusing and discourteous, and shouldn't be done.
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@anarchicsaltire, Laughing Laughing

If it is a flattish cat track everyone will be straight lining or making long turns, they are not going to break into short sharp turns that will cut their speed and leave them poling.
On a steeper cat track, if you get caught up behind a slower skier, there is no harm in practising slower controlled turns behind them until It is safe to pass.
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Hearing a pole tap from behind just translates as "incoming". Not helpful, esp. For a nervous skier.
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zikomo wrote:
...there is no concept of right of way or lanes in skiing at all...

Agree with you on lanes. But effectively a (moving) downhill/ahead skier DOES have a right of way over the uphill/behind skier; and any skier moving on the piste has a right of way over those who are either stationary or entering from off-piste. In both cases one skier is obliged to "give way" to the other.
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dave_3 wrote:
I see it as the same as when a cyclists comes up behind me. They ring their bell I step aside and allow them to proceed. By rights I could just stay as I am and make it their problem to pass but I'm too considerate to do that.

I would like you to educate me on the correct procedure to pass a slower skier on a ski track. They are far left you are far right as you come along side them they hook a sharp turn. Most of the time my reaction time is sufficient to slow and avoid any incident. But with tracks being narrow it certainly does make it more challenging.


Before I overtake, I always ensure I have collision-escape options available:

a) An ability to slam the anchors on (usually precluded by a lack of space, but sometimes by icy conditions)
b) Ski up or down the bank on the side if the skier ahead suddenly crashes in front of me or converges into me (often precluded by rocks, trees, or cliff on that side)

If neither option is available, one must wait.

I have never collided with anyone on a narrow track. However, I have sometimes been diverted up/down hair-raising roller-coaster detours in the process of avoiding collision.

As a cyclist I ring my bell to avoid pedestrians in front being startled as I approach/pass, and also to abstain from sudden lateral movements until after I've passed. I appreciate that some people interpret the ringing of a cycle bell as "Get out of my fricking way!".


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 30-01-19 7:39; edited 1 time in total
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dave_3 wrote:
I would like you to educate me on the correct procedure to pass a slower skier on a ski track.
If you can safely pass them then do so, if not pause for a short while until it is safe to pass with enough space to ensure you don't collide with them.

I generally aim to pass someone in front of me on the opposite side to the direction if they have just turned. So if they are about to start a turn to the right I will aim to pass them on the left. That way as you get close to them the gap between you is getting bigger not smaller. Passing people on cat tracks or very gentle pistes is a good test of awareness, anticipation and the ability to gently roll your skis from edge to edge. Most people who are turning will be skidding their skis a bit, or running on both inside edges in a small, subconscious snowplough. If you simple roll your skis from edge to edge rather than twist to turn you are going to have have a bit more speed than them so passing should not be difficult, but awareness that you might have to scrub off some speed, gently or quickly, in order to maintain enough of a gap between you and the skiers in front is important.
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crosbie wrote:
As a cyclist I ring my bell to avoid pedestrians in front being startled as I approach/pass, and also to abstain from sudden lateral movements until after I've passed. I appreciate that some people interpret the ringing of a cycle bell as "Get out of my fricking way!".


Yep, people who have no idea about cycling. That is what cycle bells are for in the Netherlands. And pole taps in the Alps.
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Any noises from behind me usually get a reply of "so what - downhill skier" - on a good day that is.

I classify this behaviour similar to a car driver waving me out before them, even though I have no right of way - I always heard that can end badly insurance wise even though well intentioned.
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dode wrote:
Not helpful, esp. For a nervous skier.
This. I spend a bit of time with nervous skiers and they are way too concerned with what's behind them, and any unexpected noise (scraped skis or boards on ice, shouts, pole taps, etc) can freak them out completely. I think it is respectful to avoid this if possible. For me an important question is "what do you expect the skier in front of you to do with this information you are giving?" (which I am sure is mostly meant in a helpful manner). If the answer to that question is anything other than "nothing" then surely you are expecting the person in front to behave in a particular way to make it easier for you to ski in the manner you want, which to me seems to contradict your responsibility to the skier in front/downhill of you. If the answer is "nothing" what point is there in providing that information?


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Tue 29-01-19 23:28; edited 1 time in total
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So you don't turn out when a driver has stopped the traffic for you? - seems pretty rude.
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boarder2020 wrote:
I'm one of those people that finds pole tapping quite rude, and not particularly useful. Much prefer an "on your left/right" - lets me know exactly where they are so I'm not turning into them (granted it would be their fault but seems in both our interests to not collide).

On the contrary, I quite welcome someone coming up behind giving a few pole taps, particularly on a busy track where it isn't easy to look around and there is plenty of noise. It lets me know they are there, and that they might be coming past; much rather that than giving me an unexpected shock when they come past only a metre away...

And the trouble with "on your left /right" is that I don't speak Russian / Spanish / Hungarian or many of the other languages now heard in European resorts, so if someone shouts something from behind it could mean anything!
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All this comparison with pedestrians and cyclists is utter rubbish! Pedestrians are expert walkers. They've been doing it for many years and are not wobbly or nervous. Upon hearing a bell, they can turn round, look behind and move in a controlled manner without falling over.

Now instead of pedestrian, think about a one year old toddler, just learning to walk ..... rolling eyes
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ecureuil wrote:
On the contrary, I quite welcome someone coming up behind giving a few pole taps, particularly on a busy track where it isn't easy to look around and there is plenty of noise. It lets me know they are there, and that they might be coming past; much rather that than giving me an unexpected shock when they come past only a metre away...
Sure, so you like to be provided with some information in order to determine how you ski when a faster skier comes up behind you. But I'd argue that the skier coming up behind you doesn't know that, and it could easily be a skier who would be freaked out by this unusual and unexpceted sound coming from behind them which clearly indicates they are about to be crashed in too. While you might like to modify your behaviour to make it easier for the skier behind to pass, I'm not sure that's quite in keeping with the FIS code which says that the skier behind has the responsibility to pass safely, not the skier in front.

While you might like to modify your behaviour

ecureuil wrote:
And the trouble with "on your left /right" is that I don't speak Russian / Spanish / Hungarian or many of the other languages now heard in European resorts, so if someone shouts something from behind it could mean anything!
I agree that in many ski resorts the spoken word of warning could be very easily unrecognised, making the warning rather pointless. But in what way is a pole tap any more enlightening?
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@maggi, can't agree with that analogy. It's more like learner drivers. Some things may spook them but they need to get with the programme or find another track.
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Bodeswell wrote:
@maggi, can't agree with that analogy. It's more like learner drivers. Some things may spook them but they need to get with the programme or find another track.
Analogies in this area are mostly inappropriate in my opinion, but to stick with yours, in this particular case "the programme" is that the skier behind has the responsibility to pass safely. Shouted or tapped warnings do not meet that responsibility.
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@rob@rar, sorry, will just have to agree to disagree. Pole tapping is generally considered a safe way of letting the skier in front know you're overtaking. And on a narrow track it is often essential. Should be mandatory in ski lessons to be honest.
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"waving out" in car traffic gets messy when there's a 3rd party, that one or other was not expecting to be there or do something. Guy A flashes Guy B, Guy B raises hand to thank A, proceeds to manoeuvre, and Guy C spacks right in to B. Who's wrong? All 3? A for doing what's not in the Highway Code (OK different countries may differ there), B for not looking, C for not looking either. The guy trying to be helpful is at least guilty of an "ah B****ks".
I never flash or wave anyone out on purpose.

The only bells that belong on a piste are those for visually impaired skiers. I will quite happily give them space.

"On yer left/right" is fine if it's between mates and you're messing about together. Same on MTBs with mates. Anyone else it's rude, and what language should one speak, given that we're probably all foreigners? might work in Scotland/US/Canada, but in continental Europe, you could pick one of 7 languages and still not get the right native one for the guy you're barging past Wink I've only ever heard it spoken in English, so from that I deduce that either (a) only Brits are impatient sods, or (b) other skiers have used French, Czech, German, Dutch, Russian and I've never noticed, because it never registered.

If someone coughs, I just assume it's the dry air at altitude, and they could use a drink or suck a boiled sweet to ease the tickly throat Wink

Just follow the rules. They're not hard. Use eyeballs, leave some space, and don't be a dick. Can't make it any simpler.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Tue 29-01-19 23:52; edited 1 time in total
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rob@rar wrote:
dode wrote:
Not helpful, esp. For a nervous skier.
This. I spend a bit of time with nervous skiers and they are way too concerned with what's behind them, and any unexpected noise (scraped skis or boards on ice, shouts, pole taps, etc) can freak them out completely. I think it is respectful to avoid this if possible. For me an important question is "what do you expect the skier in front of you to do with this information you are giving?" (which I am sure is mostly meant in a helpful manner). If the answer to that question is anything other than "nothing" then surely you are expecting the person in front to behave in a particular way to make it easier for you to ski in the manner you want, which to me seems to contradict your responsibility to the skier in front/downhill of you. If the answer is "nothing" what point is there in providing that information?


If a skier is catching up with what appears to be a novice/nervous skier then presumably that slightly faster skier wouldn't even consider pole-tapping, precisely because they'd recognise it would be counter-productive - would cause more distress than it would avert.

As a snowboarder, I imagine that pole-tapping is reserved entirely for the purpose of preventing the skier ahead being startled by someone overtaking them - overtaking in a manner that is safe even if the poles weren't being tapped.

Another possibility is to alert a skier ahead that there is a skier behind who is intending to overtake when safe to do so - but absolutely accepts that the skier ahead should in no way feel pressured to accommodate them.
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Bodeswell wrote:
@rob@rar, sorry, will just have to agree to disagree. Pole tapping is generally considered a safe way of letting the skier in front know you're overtaking.


Is it? Generally? Not on here! It's just your opinion, isn't it?
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Bodeswell wrote:
@rob@rar, sorry, will just have to agree to disagree. Pole tapping is generally considered a safe way of letting the skier in front know you're overtaking. And on a narrow track it is often essential. Should be mandatory in ski lessons to be honest.
Fine, I have no way of compelling you to agree with me, but it seems clear that such behaviour is out of line with the FIS code.

Quite rightly in this and many other threads over the years on snowHeads the frustrations (and much worse) that we complain about with a minority of other slope users stems from a lack of respect to the people they share the mountain with. Pole tapping, shouts of "on your left", etc, seem to me to be just one manifestation of this lack of respect for the people around you. I think it's a great shame, and it's not something I can condone.
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Quote:

Pole tapping is generally considered a safe way of letting the skier in front know you're overtaking


But how does that help? Should I try to move out the way? Should I continue my normal turns? I don't really know as an experienced rider, so how do you expect an inexperienced or nervous skier to react?
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crosbie wrote:
If a skier is catching up with what appears to be a novice/nervous skier then presumably that slightly faster skier wouldn't even consider pole-tapping, precisely because they'd recognise it would be counter-productive - would cause more distress than it would avert.

As a snowboarder, I imagine that pole-tapping is reserved entirely for the purpose of preventing the skier ahead being startled by someone overtaking them - overtaking in a manner that is safe even if the poles weren't being tapped.

Another possibility is to alert a skier ahead that there is a skier behind who is intending to overtake when safe to do so - but absolutely accepts that the skier ahead should in no way feel pressured to accommodate them.
You've taken three paragraphs to explain the possible meaning of a pole tap. I think that illustrates the problem quite nicely. Why not omit the pole tap and just pass in a safe manner?
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@rob@rar, As it happens I agree with the point on lack of respect on sharing the mountain. i just don't see a cultural aspect of ski etiquette (pole tapping) as being in the same league. And in fairness the only time I've ever had to do it is in resorts with a lot of beginners where everyone is at risk due to issues with your point at question. In answer to the other point you raise, the lesson is if you hear a pole tap hold the line as there are a number of reasons why you could be at risk - whatever the FIS code says.
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brokenbetty wrote:
More likely the other way round, as the snowboarder will be trying to keep speed as long as possible to get them over the flat


A good point. On flattish tracks boarders will aim to maintain maximum speed for as long as possible in the hope this gets them across any extended stretches of flat or even slightly uphill sections. Whereas skiers can pootle confident in the knowledge their poles will keep them progressing wherever necessary.

However, at least snowboarders are more readily able to take excursions off-track to avoid attempting to squeeze around/between groups of slow or stationary skiers at dangerous speeds.
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if there's space, pass
if there's not space, don't pass
if there's not enough space, don't use methods to make space, because there's not space
if you think there's space and pass, but have to use methods to make me hold my line, then there's not space (edit: and means you've broken points 1. 2. 3. and 4. of the FIS Code Wink )

unless you're medical staff or carabinieri or something on a shout, in which case they are also people I'll happily move to one side for


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 30-01-19 0:18; edited 1 time in total
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Bodeswell wrote:
@rob@rar, As it happens I agree with the point on lack of respect on sharing the mountain. i just don't see a cultural aspect of ski etiquette (pole tapping) as being in the same league.
I agree that it is not in the same league as the behaviour that we often comment on, but at its core I think it reflects the same basic point: a lack of respect for the people you share the slope with IMO.

Bodeswell wrote:
In answer to the other point you raise, the lesson is if you hear a pole tap hold the line as there are a number of reasons why you could be at risk - whatever the FIS code says.
That's exactly my point, the skier behind expects the person in front to behave in a certain way in order to overtake in a safe manner. That directly contradicts the FIS code, and in my book is disrespectful. That fact that some skiers think that pole tapping in order to overtake is acceptable is what creates this risk, not the behaviour of the skier in front who has every right to be able to ski their own line unimpeded by audible warnings from behind them.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
rob@rar wrote:
You've taken three paragraphs to explain the possible meaning of a pole tap. I think that illustrates the problem quite nicely. Why not omit the pole tap and just pass in a safe manner?


Well, I omit the pole tap because I have no poles.

I'm just trying to suggest a reasonable basis for it.

Perhaps, as a snowboarder, I have to be more careful to avoid startling the skier in front (or careful to cater for the consequences of startling them) than if I were a skier with poles I could tap?

Maybe we agree it has marginal utility/benefit, but some skiers reckon it's helpful and makes them feel good to be helpful to the skier in front?

Even though we both recognise that it really rubs some folk up the wrong way.

Confused
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