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Piste Rules

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
foxtrotzulu wrote:
panaga52 wrote:
@Jonpim You did miss it.

Canadian Code: Do not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
Australian Code: Do not stop where you are not clearly visible from above.
FIS (Europe): Un­less ab­so­lute­ly ne­ces­sary, a skier or snow­board­er must avoid stop­ping on the piste in nar­row places or where vis­i­bil­i­ty is re­strict­ed.


I’m not remotely advocating stopping in the middle of the piste, but none of those rules really suggests you can’t do it. If the piste is wide enough that you aren’t obstructing it and visibility is good then all three rules suggest you can stop wherever you like. Maybe it boils down to the difference between ‘rules’ and ‘best practice’.


It boils down to consideration for others which applies equally to the skier in motion AND the skier at rest. It is a two way thing. Consider the guidance in the UK Highway Code and the statement about liability:

"Although failure to comply with the other rules of the Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see The road user and the law) to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’."

I know of at least one case (in Italy) where a skier who failed to apply the "Code" caused serious injury to a 12 year old, was found "Liable" and then prosecuted successfully for causing Actual Bodily Harm. Also consider the ongoing Gwyneth Paltrow case in the US where she is being sued for causing injury to another skier when not applying the Skiers Code. You can pretty much take it as read that your insurance will suddenly become invalid if you are found liable too.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It is all well and good knowing this stuff, but in the real world, people do strange things.
Case in point- Sunday 11AM, beautiful conditions in Les Crosets.
The visibility is perfect the snow starting to soften up.
It's all going swimmingly until it isn't.
The big, wide, not-too-steep black, turns a corner, becomes a bit narrower ( still 20m wide) but there is a ridge where the gradient changes ( steeper).
As we sweep around the corner, there is a line of skiers ( may be 16 people) all across the piste from one side to the other completely blocking the piste where the gradient change occurs.
So we swing off to the LHS into the off-pistey bit go around and rejoin. About 5 seconds after we had rejoined the skiers all start off at once.
This then means that they do not really all have the room to make the turns required to arrest their descent, and as one of the less controlled guys barrelled down the slope in the back seat getting closer and closer as he tried unsuccessfully to scrub off speed with turn after turn.
After about 5 of these turns, he narrowly missed me & clipped the back of my sons board (binding released), and he bounced off my sons back protector, other binding released and slid down the slope ski-less on his butt.
Luckily nobody was hurt (my son stayed on his feet the whole time, but he plays D-Line so can handle a bit of a buffeting).
Even though we all know about not stopping in the middle of the piste, leaving room for everyone, setting off when it is safe etc..
I can understand how this came about.
When the gradient changed, the party thought "Blimey Charlie" and stopped to survey what lie beneath - albeit across the piste as they were skiing as a herd not a group.
To be fair they stopped atop the ridge where they could be seen from 30m away when you swung round the corner, far worse would have been if they had stopped 10m further down, where they would have been invisible from above.
Once they had got their courage / breath one of them said "lets go", and so they did.
I do not think they were being deliberately obtuse, simply that the elation of such a great start to the holiday had got the better of them and was over-riding some of the common sense reflex.
The issue really comes because they were skiing as a herd, not a group.
The key differences are that a group is smaller, normally somebody who knows the terrain will go in front, the rest will follow in a 10m corridor and the best skier will be the tail gunner.
Between the leader and tail-end Charlie, they will manage where the group stops, find routes which are suitable for everybody, and be aware of what's going on around them.
The herd skis side by side in 2 or 3 rows so you cant safely overtake it.
The size also means that you get a bigger range of abilities, but because people do do want to be left out often find themselves out of their depth.
Being Sunday, it would have been the first day of the vacation, and so they did not necessarily know everybody's abilities and no pecking order had been established.
No harm done in this instance, but it is a bigger accident waiting to happen.

The collective nouns for groups of 3 of more people stopped in the middle of the piste are a douche of skiers and a scuzz of boarders.
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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?
Ahh this old chestnut.

@panaga52, pretty much spot on. I was going to say same but less verbose.

Stopping (on purpose) in a blind spot = stupid.

Skiing fast over a blind crest feeling entitled to have a clear piste below = stupid.

Mostly this situation occurs on blue intermediate runs with vast degrees of experience and abilities. Personally I have more issue with the Mr Entitled who can ski a bit thinking the piste should be clear for speed than the less experienced not following rules. But there are knobs in both camps.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@WindOfChange, great post, and it’s good that you are so understanding. Glad your son was ok
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Nice writing 'windofchange' ... Have screen grabbed your short story to pass on for beginner / low intermediate class instruction !!
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