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A warning to all , so sad , accident in Flaine

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
In sailing, it is the responsibility of an overtaking boat to keep clear - just as it is the responsibility of a boat on port tack to give way to one on starboard tack. The "stand on vessel" should maintain their course and speed or make their intentions clear, but the avoidance of a collision, if a close quarters situation develops, is the responsibility of both boats. That can lead to a lot of "protest" hearings (or in the sort of sailing I do, noisy arguments in the bar). In skiing, there must also be situations where the downhill skier is deemed to have contributed, by their negligence or inattention, to a collision. Like a car driver who decided to stop just round a blind bend to pick primroses.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If the Racing Rules of Sailing could be condensed to a single sheet of paper, then there would be no protests.

I think FIS is way ahead on this point.

If there is any analogy it is that the fast sailors avoid close interaction, those at the back are what I would refer to as the “luffers and stuffers” and tend to be involved in “incidents”.

More significantly racing sailors rarely die due to the ignorant behaviour of others.
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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 have to say that I have read this thread with increasing levels of disappointment and anxiety. The lack of regard for those who have just as much right to be out enjoying a day on the slopes, as those who think they are 'expert' skiers, just makes me very sad. I have skied Flaine/Les Carroz for more than 16yrs. My children started on Serpentine when they were a similar age to the victim. It is a BLUE and accessible for pretty much anyone after a few days. If you are that much of an ace and want to go fast, off you pop to Jade or Diamant Noir. I am saddened that even on a forum like this, of supposedly liked-minded ski enthusiasts, we have people seeming to criticise beginners and the slower/nervous skier and arguing solely for their right to go fast.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 19-01-22 19:47; edited 1 time in total
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"we have people seeming to criticising beginners and the slower/nervous skier and arguing solely for their right to go fast"

I must have missed that bit
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I must have missed it too. I don't think that's a reasonable inference from the contributors to this thread.
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GreenDay wrote:
"we have people seeming to criticising beginners and the slower/nervous skier and arguing solely for their right to go fast"

I must have missed that bit
I used the word 'seeming' intentionally. That is how it 'seems' to me as a self-confessed nervous skier and parent of children who have grown up skiing that slope.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Cheesie168, I'd suggest you'd reread for what people have actually said.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

That is how it 'seems' to me as a self-confessed nervous skier and parent of children who have grown up skiing that slope.

That must be an awful way to feel, and I'm sorry that you do. However, it will do nobody any good - especially the children of "nervous parents" faced with constant forebodings of doom - if people convince themselves that resorts are full of reckless skiers bent on mowing down the innocent. It's not the case, and although incidents like this are awful, they are also, thankfully, very rare. Snowheads, being a forum of skiers and boarders, tends to focus a lot of attention on these accidents (just as people focus on the rare but harrowing tales of "stranger danger" or babies shaken to death) but is losing a child to a reckless or careless skier, any worse than losing one to a reckless or careless driver, or to leukaemia? Or malaria?
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
@Cheesie168, I'd suggest you'd reread for what people have actually said.
Oh I have. Just because I do not agree with your reading of the thread does not invalidate my opinion. This thread is about a child that was killed. Someone has been charged and from the reports it would seem he was travelling too fast. My friend was taken out in that area by just such a skier, who came off a roller at high speed and wiped her out. She is a much better and faster skier than me, but that made not a jot of difference as he was going too fast. Luckily our young children were further ahead but it could so easily have been a different story.
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

That is how it 'seems' to me as a self-confessed nervous skier and parent of children who have grown up skiing that slope.

That must be an awful way to feel, and I'm sorry that you do. However, it will do nobody any good - especially the children of "nervous parents" faced with constant forebodings of doom - if people convince themselves that resorts are full of reckless skiers bent on mowing down the innocent. It's not the case, and although incidents like this are awful, they are also, thankfully, very rare. Snowheads, being a forum of skiers and boarders, tends to focus a lot of attention on these accidents (just as people focus on the rare but harrowing tales of "stranger danger" or babies shaken to death) but is losing a child to a reckless or careless skier, any worse than losing one to a reckless or careless driver, or to leukaemia? Or malaria?
How lovely - being patronised now as well. I do not state that resorts are full of reckless skiers. I simply pointed out my disappointment at the tone of some of the posts, criticising instructors and children in lessons in 'snakes'.
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@Cheesie168, you have claimed that people have argued solely for their right to go fast. Some people have challenged that assertion. If you feel that I was patronising you before, I will challenge you instead, to produce the evidence that anybody has argued solely for their right to go fast. You put forward an essentially emotional argument of how things "seemed" to you and I'm not challenging how you feel. I genuinely feel for you (my daughter is very much the same and horribly tense and scared following her kids down a run) and I recognise that countering an essentially emotional argument with analysis can seem heartless. I get accused of it a lot! But I like analysis, rational argument and evidence..... and it usually makes me feel better about stuff! Coming to a well-founded judgement about risks, of all kinds, can help us reduce anxiety. If my daughter can't get over her irrational fears of the objective risks to her kids of skiing (she has no such worries about taking them out cycling) she is almost certainly going to have to give up skiing with them.
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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.
Cheesie168 wrote:
I have to say that I have read this thread with increasing levels of disappointment and anxiety. The lack of regard for those who have just as much right to be out enjoying a day on the slopes, as those who think they are 'expert' skiers, just makes me very sad. I have skied Flaine/Les Carroz for more than 16yrs. My children started on Serpentine when they were a similar age to the victim. It is a BLUE and accessible for pretty much anyone after a few days. If you are that much of an ace and want to go fast, off you pop to Jade or Diamant Noir. I am saddened that even on a forum like this, of supposedly liked-minded ski enthusiasts, we have people seeming to criticise beginners and the slower/nervous skier and arguing solely for their right to go fast.


+1
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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
Cheesie168 wrote:
I simply pointed out my disappointment at the tone of some of the posts, criticising instructors and children in lessons in 'snakes'.


Do you consider that ski class sizes for kids are always appropriate and that instructors have full control and can readily attend to all class members no matter what happens?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Some posters have expressed some concern that when instructors lead long "snakes" which take up the whole width of a wide piste (which is not unusual) it makes it particularly difficult for even careful skiers to get past them safely. That's fair enough - most of us have encountered that. Yes, of course, you can simply wait very patiently behind them, and that's often the safest way. Like driving behind someone doing 50 mph in the outer lane of a dual carriageway, with nobody on the inside lane, and resisting the temptation to overtake on the inside....
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Dave of the Marmottes, I have seen classes of 12 kids, all v small and all very very vulnerable as the one at the back is a long way from the ski instructor at the front. One of them in the middle falls, the rest follow, and it's carnage. We have stopped to pick up abandoned children and reunited them with their skis, gloves, and instructor. If no-one else assists, instructor may have to get the rest of the class to stop while they climb up to rescue the fallen. Rest of class waiting then fall over, start sliding down the hill, throwing snowballs, and generally being children. Cue stressed instructor and kids no longer enjoying their ski lessons.
There was such a snake on the same part of the mountain as J when he had his accident, although the two were not connected.
However, this does seem to have become less frequent, and larger classes now often have an assistant with them.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hells Bells wrote:
@Dave of the Marmottes, I have seen classes of 12 kids, all v small and all very very vulnerable as the one at the back is a long way from the ski instructor at the front. One of them in the middle falls, the rest follow, and it's carnage. We have stopped to pick up abandoned children and reunited them with their skis, gloves, and instructor. If no-one else assists, instructor may have to get the rest of the class to stop while they climb up to rescue the fallen. Rest of class waiting then fall over, start sliding down the hill, throwing snowballs, and generally being children. Cue stressed instructor and kids no longer enjoying their ski lessons.
There was such a snake on the same part of the mountain as J when he had his accident, although the two were not connected.
However, this does seem to have become less frequent, and larger classes now often have an assistant with them.

Same here.

On a relatively recent holiday, I saw a lone child wearing a Ski School vest, in a heap on the ground, so I skied over. Before I could open my mouth, she said in a matter-of-fact croaky Scottish voice, "Excuse me, can you help get my skis back on and find my class?" I said, "Of Course". I got her sorted out and asked where her Class had gone. She pointed to a connecting path. I stayed with her as we went in the direction she indicated....and after 2 or 3 minutes, was relieved to see a group of other 8 yr olds wearing the same identifying vest, shuffling along like a noisy waddle of Penguins. She re-joined the class as they went on their way. She was remarkably unpanicked through the whole episode.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 20-01-22 12:54; edited 4 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Cheesie168 wrote:
I simply pointed out my disappointment at the tone of some of the posts, criticising instructors and children in lessons in 'snakes'.


Do you consider that ski class sizes for kids are always appropriate and that instructors have full control and can readily attend to all class members no matter what happens?


FWIW I fully agree that at times ski instructors make unwise decisions when leading a snake.
I have some sympathy with Cheesie168 in feeling that any focus on that is a real distraction from what really matters - helping less able and experienced skiers get started in the sport by cutting ski schools all the slack they possibly need. I think getting frustrated by being stuck behind ski school snakes (not something I’m accusing anyone on this thread of ) is in my experience a real “tell” that a person is a bit of a knob.
When I was in my early 20s and working a season i skied the fall line in a section of moguls that finished onto a piste. I was very focused on the next bump and built a bit too much speed. As I came out onto the piste I realised that a ski instructor was stood at one side of the piste and his class where traversing to him taking the whole width. I thought about throwing myself at the snow but though I’d slide through a couple of kids. I JUST squeezed through a closing gap between the instructor and the first child.
I was mortified and very apologetic. The instructor gave me both barrels (understandably). I think the instructor was unwise with how he left an uphill skier nowhere to go. I don’t think that reduces my culpability for what could have been nasty one iota. I’ve never come close to a ski school since and my kids have been brought up to give them every courtesy.
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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?
jedster wrote:
FWIW I fully agree that at times ski instructors make unwise decisions when leading a snake.
I saw a snake at Sun Peaks yesterday and being a sad person I thought of this thread.

The Canadians had one instructor at the front, one at the back, and 5 kids in a fairly tight coherent line in between. It was a wide (beginner grade) slope so they took up about 20% of it at worst. The maximum group size is standard: it seems obvious that a snake's easier to manage and overall safer the shorter it is. Having a "tail gunner" seems like an obvious educational feature as well as safety. If the instructor's at the front then she can't be teaching much. Like car parking, I reckon Team France could pick up a trick or two from observing how the rest of the world manages this.

Oh, and at Sun Peaks all the beginner runs are "slow skiing zones". In practice that doesn't mean you can't ride fast, just that you can't ride fast near other people, which works really well.

I didn't notice if those kids had trackers on them, which is what the ski school kids in Whistler are all kitted out with to help the instructors shepherd them,
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Quote:

The Canadians had one instructor at the front, one at the back, and 5 kids in a fairly tight coherent line in between

That's obviously ideal. But expensive. Group lessons for kids in France are pretty cheap - from only about 10 euros per child/hour. You are not going to get 2 instructors for 5 kids at that price.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I am far from being a nervous skier, or a nervous parent for that matter.

But I agree with @Cheesie168, to some extent. There are a lot of people, some of who have posted here, that display an attitude of having some "right" to be able to ski past/faster than ski school snakes. The complaint being that it is the fault of the ski instructor when the snake takes up most or all of the piste. There is simply an unwillingness for some to accept no one has any "right" to maintain a particular speed or line from an uphill position. If you cannot pass in absolute safety, which means allowing for ANY voluntary or involuntary movement by the downhill skier, then you should not pass. But I see a lot of equivocation on this point, especially by those who point to very extreme examples to try and demonstrate that sometimes the downhill skier is at fault. I dislike the attitude and challenge it when I see it.

I have to say that it often the British holiday skier that I find the most dangerous. A combination of not much skiing, not great technique, over-confidence and desire to look for who is at fault rather than what they could have done to reduce the risk. It was interesting skiing in (albeit quite quiet) Brit dominated resort in Italy this year as opposed to the Swiss dominated resorts we usually ski in. Much more dangerous behaviour than I am used to.

An example from that holiday. A short red steepness cat track (two sharp turns), skiing with my three sons. We slowed right down as there was an instructor coaxing a small kid slowly down the cat track, it would have been inappropriate to pass and the track was short anyway. 13 year old at the back of our group cut up by a "good skier" cutting in between our group, to the extent my son had to put the brakes on to avoid a conflict. I stopped the "good" skier and challenged him. He insisted he was a very good skier, allowed to pass, we were going slowly, and he didn't come anywhere near my son. Not only was the maneuver dangerous and against the rules, but the attitude was even more disturbing. He just could not accept the feedback from my sons (my 17 year old was next and saw it too), that he had made a bad choice, and was clearly not quite good enough to effect that maneuver safely. I had to get very robust with him before he really thought about it and eventually had to apologise (at this point he was shaking and voice quivering) - I suspect only because I am reasonable but also very comfortable in a confrontation. To give some context I am an instructor and my son is a racer. We saw this guy later on from the chairlift and my kids actually laughed at the "good skier" self description - he could clearly get down a red and had probably being doing so for years but on the tails on skis with little control. I saw a lot of similar that week.

If everyone skied within their ability (real ability not imagined), and gave consideration to those downhill of them in ALL circumstances there would be a lot less injuries. I do not understand why there would be any argument or even discussion of that.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 9-03-22 18:10; edited 1 time in total
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@zikomo, Don't know why you're intent on raking up an argument but what the hell I'll play. Surely the point is that skiing safely/considerately and skiing for self protection are not entirely separate issues and both can mitigate against accidents?

As for passing snakes - yep I'll try to pass as swiftly and cleanly as I can - not because I have any god-given right or attitude but mainly because I don't want to be in the same situation as your son and vulnerable to attacks from behind. Because everyone skiing within their ability is just a fantasy. And in some circumstances as an "ahead" skier it is certainly very unwise to exercise your "right" to do whatever you damn well please even if it weren't simply discourteous.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I hope you did not mean it, but it is interesting you chose the words "as swiftly and cleanly as I can". Surely you mean you pass IF and WHEN is is entirely safe to do so? You then go on to say that you pass as swiftly as you can so you are not compromised from behind. Surely you agree that your primary responsibility is to not conflict with the snake below you, worrying about skiers from behind is the secondary, and passing swiftly is a long way down the list of priorities?

I do not like the attitude that I often witness. Especially the immediate leap to defensiveness and apportioning blame, rather than reflecting and examining your own behaviour. I shoot a bit, which has inherent risks. The basic rule is that anyone who does not first react with self-reflection when given feedback is someone you should never shoot with again. I take the same approach to those I ski off-piste with.

I sort of agree with your point that self-preservation means you should not rely on those uphill of you to avoid you if you do something daft. My children have always been taught to keep a predictable and smooth line where possible, check uphill before any direction changes (e.g. leaving the piste, changing line to avoid conflict with downhill skiers) etc. That is just common sense. And we are generally faster than the average as able to maintain a higher speed while still being in full control. Both those things help. As does a real rather than perceived understanding of their actual ability, gained from good instructors and race coaches. But none of that absolves you from your responsibility towards the downhill skier.

Frankly I do not really understand why you are arguing with my original point.
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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!
pam w wrote:
...Group lessons for kids in France are pretty cheap - from only about 10 euros per child/hour. You are not going to get 2 instructors for 5 kids at that price.
I'm sure that's correct.

But if one wished to fix this specific risk, then parents paying more money will do it.

Alternatively parents may whine about the risk whilst their kids are in ski school and when someone gets hurt,
whilst most likely spending the rest of their skiing career contributing to that very same risk. wink


--
On the argy-bargy...

I think the judgemental aspect of @zikomo's approach is unhelpful. That may be the internet distorting the message. By analogy, when I cycle I'm fully aware of the protection the law provides, and the "rules" the Highway Code describes, but the last thing I'd ever do would be to assume any driver would follow those rules and obey those laws at all times. Manifestly that's not the world we live in. Hence I ride defensively, mostly assuming that if I give you an opportunity to murder me, you'll do it. I minimize your opportunity to do that, and try not to whine about how appalling most of your road manners are almost all the time.
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@philwig, I would rather say that it is important to do both. Assume everyone else on the piste (or the road) is an idiot and ski (and drive) accordingly. But do not become an idiot yourself by not taking your responsibility within the rules. Which in this case means always giving enough time and space for the downhill skier to make any voluntary or involuntary movement. Ski within your actual level of control. And always take an approach of self-reflection and examination when things go wrong.
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To keep things in proportion; serious accidents to kids in ski school (or out of it) are thankfully very rare. Many hobbies - certainly including horse riding - are more dangerous. Globally road accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injury amongst children. Kids drown in poorly supervised pools, or the sea, comparatively frequently.

I don't think parents do "whine about the risks" of ski school and manifestly those who are too worried can take some different sort of holiday. We all choose what risks we take, and allow our kids to take. We need to be aware, do what we can to mitigate risks, and then accept that nothing is entirely "safe".

On the other hand, discussions which suggest that loads of skiers are hooning around in complete disregard of the safety of others will cause a huge amount of the "anxiety" which appears to be crippling so many. If that anxiety is going to lead to mitigating risks - e.g. skiing at quieter times, or in quieter places, paying for small group lessons. ensuring that kids obey orders on the piste - then it's good to be aware. But if it just leads to fretting and constantly harping on about the dangers - it is entirely negative and destructive. It is because accidents like the one reported in this thread are so vanishingly rare, that they strike us all so hard.
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@zikomo, By cleanly I mean safely and considerately; by swiftly I mean as soon as possible not at turbocharged speed. No need to play semantics to paint me as an evil doer. I'm basically arguing with your pomposity (& @cheesie168's mis comprehension) re what people have said in this thread and your attitude of "You're no good unless a race coach has certified you".
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Dave of the Marmottes, of course your dangerous, you pesky British holiday skier you. wink
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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
@Dave of the Marmottes, you should read what I actually said. Which was I am sure your choice of worlds is not what you really meant.

You are now the one being a bit pompous. Which is frankly not really in character. I have said before I am sure you are a safe abs good skier. Many are not. Especially from these fair isles, which I find embarrassing.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The average holiday who insists on travelling at speed very often has very limited skiing skills, types of turns they make are skidded with pressure to the rear of the ski
I see it on a daily basis, speed combined with crowded slopes over holiday periods plus lack of common sense cause the majority of accidents
Everybody seems to be in a rush to get down no idea why when they could work on improving their poor std of skiing
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zikomo wrote:
I am far from being a nervous skier, or a nervous parent for that matter.

But I agree with @Cheesie168, to some extent. There are a lot of people, some of who have posted here, that display an attitude of having some "right" to be able to ski past/faster than ski school snakes. The complaint being that it is the fault of the ski instructor when the snake takes up most or all of the piste. There is simply an unwillingness for some to accept no one has any "right" to maintain a particular speed or line from an uphill position. If you cannot pass in absolute safety, which means allowing for ANY voluntary or involuntary movement by the downhill skier, then you should not pass. But I see a lot of equivocation on this point, especially by those who point to very extreme examples to try and demonstrate that sometimes the downhill skier is at fault. I dislike the attitude and challenge it when I see it.

I have to say that it often the British holiday skier that I find the most dangerous. A combination of not much skiing, not great technique, over-confidence and desire to look for who is at fault rather than what they could have done to reduce the risk. It was interesting skiing in (albeit quite quiet) Brit dominated resort in Italy this year as opposed to the Swiss dominated resorts we usually ski in. Much more dangerous behaviour than I am used to.

An example from that holiday. A short red steepness cat track (two sharp turns), skiing with my three sons. We slowed right down as there was an instructor coaxing a small kid slowly down the cat track, it would have been inappropriate to pass and the track was short anyway. 13 year old at the back of our group cut up by a "good skier" cutting in between our group, to the extent my son had to put the brakes on to avoid a conflict. I stopped the "good" skier and challenged him. He insisted he was a very good skier, allowed to pass, we were going slowly, and he didn't come anywhere near my son. Not only was the maneuver dangerous and against the rules, but the attitude was even more disturbing. He just could not accept the feedback from my sons (my 17 year old was next and saw it too), that he had made a bad choice, and was clearly not quite good enough to effect that maneuver safely. I had to get very robust with him before he really thought about it and eventually had to apologise (at this point he was shaking and voice quivering) - I suspect only because I am reasonable but also very comfortable in a confrontation. To give some context I am an instructor and my son is a racer. We saw this guy later on from the chairlift and my kids actually laughed at the "good skier" self description - he could clearly get down a red and had probably being doing so for years but on the tails on skis with little control. I saw a lot of similar that week.

If everyone skied within their ability (real ability not imagined), and gave consideration to those downhill of them in ALL circumstances there would be a lot less injuries. I do not understand why there would be any argument or even discussion of that.


Agree with all of your post, except the generalisation about Brits.

In 40 weeks skiing the aggression I’ve witnessed came from a French middle aged skier who wanted to physically fight because a family snake going down a green run p@ssed him off, and in Austria from an belligerent Austrian who took umbrage on a very wide blue run with a snake of confident skiers on a ski clinic coached by a highly regarded ski teacher. The said (multi-lingual) coach went after the aggressor and gave him a reminder of piste etiquette.

Aside from that, I’ve seen ‘Kamikaze’ skiing from youthful continentals on greens packed with novices/kids, France and Italy stand out, wannabee Hermann Maier’s almost using the ski groups as Super G gates.
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I was crashed into from the back by a French skier who was racing his wife on the other side of the piste. My husband was a bit further uphill and saw the guy try to cut past me as I turned left, on the right hand side of the piste. He misjudged it badly and, rather than go off the piste, crashed into the back of me. I was carrying a thermos of coffee, amongst other things, in a backpack. Which got smashed. His wife was laughing from the other side of the piste. My husband was livid. I was not injured, apart from bruised by the thermos flask. Smelt of coffee all day. The worst accident I know of personally, in terms of injury, was caused by an out of control Austrian boy. There are stupid skiers of all nationalities, but perhaps because I've mostly skied in places with few British skiers, I've not been aware of Brits being any more idiotic than others.
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Weirdly, in CH we had a year (around 2017) of young people on fully rockered twintips straightlining the whole resort at Warp Factor 11, sitting on the tails of the skis in a semi-butter. It was just constant. And lethal. They were skilled, no two ways about it, and looking down from the chairlift you could see them carefully select their line through the crowded choke points and finding a way to straight-line through.

It ended in tears for one, who had to bail from their chosen line on a narrow section, nearly hit someone at speed from behind, narrowly avoid them and hit a piste pole, and then catapult into a tree. The tree was below the level of the side of the piste, so it was a reasonably soft landing. It was fortunate that it was snow-laden, and he ended up with only his ego seriously damaged.

From being endemic, it all stopped the next season....no idea why the mass behaviour came and went as it did....
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@valais2, I recognise that behaviour! Strange that it seems to have largely disappeared. I can't remember what conditions were like that year but could be there was some lack of snow parks or something then? Of not much easy off-piste? Or a short lived trend before people remembered that stiffer skis are more fun when hooning hardpack?

In general in Swiss dominated resorts I find the standards of skiing and politeness to be relatively high. Definitely more safe than the somewhat Brit dominated resort we went to this year - as usual it is always a small minority and they are the ones that stick in your mind. Nevertheless there were a lot of people on runs they were clearly struggling with, creating choke points at any narrow or slightly steeper sections. And skiing at speeds clearly beyond their ability on easier slopes. And that in a resort where my 11 year old complained about the lack of challenge, the runs in general were very benign with lots of reds that would be blues in Switzerland. As usual also the helicopter activity started around 3pm every day, you could almost set your watch by it! On the Friday though it was near non-stop, I lost count after hearing or seeing 12 helicopter landings, lending credence to my diagnosis of over-estimation of ability/over-confidence.

I do not ski much in France and never at peak times, largely because I have found the cost/quality equation less good than in Switzerland and I prefer real villages to purpose built. Some with more experience of France have commented here that they see similar behaviours there, I wonder if it is the same problem of lots of 1 week a year holiday skiers who over-estimate ability.

I have skied quite a bit in Austria where I found the standard of skiing was generally very high. But they do ski quite aggressively, are comfortable with close passes and there is quite a bit of drinking on the mountain.
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@zikomo, …indeed thank goodness it seemed to be a temporary behaviour…although it was not linked to a specific group of people since it went on all season. I think perhaps there was an ‘overlap’ thing…people arrived seeing existing people doing it, and so started when they arrived…and so on. And then came the end of the season and it all evaporated.

I agree re the small Swiss resorts. The standard of skiing generally is high and the behaviour generally good…partly a cultural thing but also because they select their days and know the resorts inside out. Lunchtime drinking is not a common thing.

But France always shocks me. The last time I went over Forclaz and did the long slog through Usines to meet friends at St Martin I was taken aback at the mayhem. The behaviour in the queues to get back to the right valley at the end of the day was terrible - semi-fights breaking out, people pushing and shoving, and weird things like ‘…let me through!…let me through!…my friends are at the front of the queue….’. Very odd.

And certainly lots of ‘excessive speed in relation to competence’ all over the hill. The Grom, at 3 years old, would tend to straightline. I worked hard on both cognitive and behavioural stuff to stop that in its tracks, which worked. He became very turny. Yet I coached a 40 year old British skier who did the same straightlining and just would not change. I decided to turn him over to Carole at SMS for a day and pointed out the challenge. She can induce people into anything. At the end of the day we all met for a coffee at Grand Signal and I asked how it had gone. She immediately grimaced and said ‘He is very fast….’ And he grinned. Hopeless.
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Quote:

Having a "tail gunner" seems like an obvious educational feature as well as safety.

Agreed - one of the things we always liked about going with Ski Esprit was that they always send out a 'Ski Ranger' with kids lessons to be Tail End Charlie and make sure the group stayed coherent, pick up/encourage fallers, wipe noses, reseat goggles, put on mittens, pick up lot kit etc etc, while the instructor instructed.
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Quote:

Yet I coached a 40 year old British skier who did the same straightlining and just would not change. I decided to turn him over to Carole at SMS for a day and pointed out the challenge. She can induce people into anything. At the end of the day we all met for a coffee at Grand Signal and I asked how it had gone. She immediately grimaced and said ‘He is very fast….’ And he grinned. Hopeless.


Not just hopeless - shocking. An instructor faced with someone like that should send them a formal note, refusing to teach them any more and warning them that their behaviour is unacceptable and dangerous. One shudders to think how he drives.
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@valais2, so your straightlining freind is not only an idiot but a proudly crap skier?

Voted "leave" I presume?
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You can tell the good skiers and boarders by how slowly they go, not how fast they go.
They only go fast when there's no one around - so you don't see them doing it.

These accidents are really terrible and have devastating impact on families.

No one thing, gender, nationality or tracking app is to blame.

Things which make this more likely are:
Better equipment enabling poor skiers to ski faster
Grooming of the pistes enabling poor skiers to ski faster
Poor teaching : like teaching somebody the carve like Chemmy, but not teaching them to look before setting off, or not to stop in the middle of the piste, or under a brow, or do a motorbike shoulder check before committing to a radical change of direction.

Anecdotally a french neighbour friend goes out and first lifts Les Gets, does all the runs and is back home by half 11.
He only goes on piste with his Mega-Carve-Turbo 3000s, but has some Fat Boy Powder-O-Matic Hoon-Dog 3250s for off piste.
I went off piste with him twice (last season when everything was closed, so everywhere was off piste), and he could barely turn, and fell over lots.
Mrs WoC went out for a ladies ski with his wife and some other ladies, all they wanted to do was go straight down blue runs fast without even bothering to look at the bumps or other fun stuff at the sides.
Over lunch she said that her husband had clocked 120 KMH on his skis, which is terrifying as he is 6'2" and 130 KG.
After lunch the snow became softer, and the other ladies decided to stop as the snow was "bad".
There's no such thing as bad snow, but there is bad technique meaning that soft and choppy snow made skiing harder without adapting.
I'm afraid I see so much dangerous stuff that it just washes over me now. ( I still sometimes shout abuse at them, but only in a half hearted way)
The first week of the first year I worked as a driver I saw so much crazy and dangerous driving - maybe 3 a day, that by week 2 it no longer made me angry - I just drive defensively now.
Same goes for skiing and boarding.
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You know that this guy has a story he tells his friends about some really crap ski instructors he had once who he was so much better than...
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@Richard_Sideways, Which guy are you referring to?

And as a matter of fact personal ski ability is not the only skill on which instructors should be judged. I have certainly been coached on some aspects of my skiing (particularly biomechanics) by very capable instructors who for sure I would beat down a GS course. Does that mean I could not learn from them, that they had no business teaching me, or that I should have less respect for them? Absolutely not, and it would be ridiculous to suggest so. I continue to coach my daughter who is definitely a better piste skier and racer than I will ever be. But I am qualified, have studied a lot and spent time shadowing lots of race coaches. So my technical understanding, ability to diagnose, ability to explain desired outcomes, and ability to select the right tools to improve her skiing are much greater than her own. Which she respects and benefits from
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