Letters: Skier safety tips for Vail
Vail CO, Colorado
There has been some talk about collisions on our mountains, lately.
While the law states that the downhill skier has the right of way, there are some things that downhill skier can do to help minimize the risk of a collision.
For most of us on the mountain, there will always be someone faster than you, and someone slower than you. You should expect to be passed. When I make an erratic turn, or decide to traverse across a slope, I like to look up to make sure I am not going to be hit by someone. When I am on a catwalk and want to slow down, I use a wedge so that I take up less area and that it is obvious to the person behind me what I am doing (same goes for the lift mazes.) When I am in a confined area or busy slope, I do not make wide turns to the edge of the run. I leave a little lane in case someone is cruising up behind. I don’t “rip big GS turns” much at all because I realize that making such a wide turn interferes with more traffic, and may result in a collision from the side.
When I pass a snowboarder, I try to pass on their facing side, not their backside, so they can see me. Clicking poles or announcing a pass also helps.
I always look up when entering a new slope.
While these are common-sense basics that I have learned over my 20 years and some 1,500 days on the mountains here, they may not be to everyone. I have been in one accident, 1989, knocked out of my skis while standing near the upper Mid Vail entrance! I’ve also never been “forced” to sue an 8-year-old. I am not arguing against the law, just passing along some stuff that has helped me stay healthy.
Keep skiing, and look around up there!