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Snow Ski Etiquette: Manners Matter on the Slopes

Skiers, snowboarders push the envelope of fun every time they head down the mountain, making it important for them and others to practice courtesy and safety
BY Bill Lindsey TIMEAugust 18, 2022 PRINT

Ski season will be here before you know it, so here are several suggestions on ways to ensure that you and yours have a great time carving up the powder.

Take It Easy

Be patient if the lift lines are long or the rental shop doesn’t have exactly what you want. Take a breath and enjoy the scenery. If it’s been a while since you were on skis, take a refresher lesson. Even if your friends insist “You can do this!” resist the temptation to do runs that are beyond your skill level.

Be Respectful

Be understanding with the locals working in shops, restaurants, and on the mountain; they are there to take care of you, so be respectful and courteous. Don’t cut lines, even if a group of friends waves you up—it’s rude to the people you pass. Yield to other traffic, looking before you push off. Downhill traffic has the right of way, so don’t be a speed bump. Get out of the way if you need to stop for any reason.

Be Helpful and Safe

Safety and courtesy go hand in hand on the mountain. Help the new skier ahead of you who’s nervous about getting on the lift, offer to adjust another’s loose helmet strap, and stop to make sure someone who just crashed is OK. As you make your way down the mountain, maintain a safe distance from other skiers and snowboarders. Not everyone is an expert, so be careful passing slower traffic, and stay far away from anyone who’s snowplowing their way down.

Respect Boundaries

While there may be times you’re tempted to duck under ropes to ski in areas that are off limits, there’s a reason those trails are closed. Stick to the open runs; there’s no need to test the ski patrol’s response time if you get into trouble. Stay far away from areas where lessons are underway. Buzzing past new skiers is rude and could result in a collision. It also could, and should, get you kicked off the mountain.

Pay Attention

Make sure you get on the correct lift. If you’re new to skiing and lifts, watch to see how others board the lift and how they get off, as it can be a bit tricky at first. If you make it off the lift unscathed, only to realize you’re on a run clearly beyond your skills, get out of the way of traffic and flag down the ski patrol.

Bill Lindsey
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
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