How close is too close?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Mikey, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Jacob

    Jacob CerebralVortex Skier

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    Luton, innit?
    Let me know the kind of places and dates you tend to ski so that I can make a list of what to avoid.

    The closest I come to seeing this kind of problem is if I ski in Val d'Isere/Tignes around the first week of December, which is apparently a public holiday in Spain. Some of the Spanish holiday skiers seem to be a bit out of control, but still not as bad as you're describing.

    Other than that, my experience of skiing in Europe has been very different from yours. That said, I tend to avoid public holidays, so I rarely see much in the way of crowds.
     
  2. AlpsSkidad

    AlpsSkidad Getting on the lift Skier

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    @Jacob We notice this behavior consistently during the weeks of Christmas, New Years and certain weeks in February.
    You are right that outside of these times, it is not as bad most places we've gone in Europe.
     
  3. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I only really noticed poor behavior when I went to Breckenridge. I haven't noticed that kind of stupidity elsewhere before that trip. Small sample size but there you have it.
     
  4. Wasatchman

    Wasatchman over the hill Skier

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    Weird. I mentioned on another thread I've noticed an uptick in aggro behavior this year in Utah. I had mentioned a couple liftline examples but I've also seen this with respect to buzzing and close calls on the mountain. I'm wondering if higher crowds are partly responsible? More people but extra frustration sets in and they take more risks because they figure if they are safer they will be hung up all day with the crowds?

    When Great Western opened up on a pow day at Brighton last week, people at high speed were buzzing past people to get to the fresh. I thought I better hold my line as if my life depends on it, because I'm going to get clipped otherwise. Sure enough I got buzzed a few times. I was traveling fast myself with no warning shouts of on your right, etc. I expect this at Snowbird, but not at Brighton so much. But that's changing. I think with the extra crowds, a lot of people take the idea that anything now is fair game (especially on a pow day, especially if you are skiing advanced terrain).

    The other thing I realized is the better skier you are, the more important it is to hold your line. People behind you see the way you are skiing, conclude your skill level and then figure you're safer to pass. I am guilty of doing this myself but I still try to have a solid margin for error when passing someone.

    I'm seeing some terrible behavior on the hill that has no excuse. But I had a wake-up call a few years ago when I got tired and suddenly broke my line to the side of a run to rest on what I thought was an empty groomer. As I was doing that, someone flew past me way too close for comfort and scared the heck out of me. I realized I can't do stuff like that, as I could see how the person above me would have a problem with what I did.

    So I guess it was a warning and got me thinking the better you are, the more important to hold your line as people inherently assume you are safe to pass and are assuming you're going to be predictable.
     
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  5. Jacob

    Jacob CerebralVortex Skier

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    Understandable. One more reason to avoid public holidays whenever I can.
     
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  6. Wolfski

    Wolfski Getting on the lift Skier

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    IMO too close is if they are close enough to touch or hit you. I'll actually comment to my group or Family if they are in a bad spot or do something stupid on the hill.
    Now with that said I know accidents are accidents but if I'm parked in a safe place, I will defend my position and protect the well being of myself and family.
     
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  7. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    I suggest that if you are getting buzzed often maybe it's your choice of stopping location that is the problem? In particular, if you notice this a lot on the same run in nearly the same place, I think it may actually be something about where you stop that is not good.

    I do notice that people tend to form herds when stopping. If I see a large group of people parked (usually where pitch changes from flattish to steep) and I am wanting to stop myself, I will either stop well ahead of the others or well below. Why make a chokepoint even worse with my own body? You may think that there is safety in numbers, but I think it actually makes your individual safety worse. It becomes harder for someone to notice 1 person moving in a pack of 30 stopped people vs 1 person moving on an empty slope.

    If you stop among a bunch of other 'stoppers' and choose near the trees, I think it's likely you will be passed on the tree side, since that is the safest place for someone cruising through to go. Cruising through the middle of the pack of people is a bad choice.

    Sometimes it is the parked people and the manner in which they park that makes them the jerk in the situation. Just because you stopped moving doesn't make you 100% correct in the situation. There are the jerks on the mountain that will use you as a gate, but I think those are usually the exception.
     
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  8. sparty

    sparty Putting on skis Skier

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    True, if the skier ahead is a skier and not a stationary object. As soon as you stop, it becomes your responsibility to look uphill and verify that you have room before moving out, just as you'd need to verify that you had room entering a trail from the woods or pulling out of a parking space onto the road. That should mean looking far enough uphill that someone traveling at a higher rate of speed doesn't need to take evasive action because you decided to move in front of them, but using the car analogy, it should also mean I don't need to jump on the brakes when you pull out from the ski shop driveway onto the 55-MPH roadway. Assuming that things will happen as they should in either case is likely to result in an undesired outcome.

    And while I agree that the first example is far too close, but if you're stopped, I shouldn't need to give you nearly as much room as I would if you're in motion.

    I've gotten more and more accustomed to close traffic during the season this year after moving back to New England. I've seen a lot of close passes that would have probably raised eyebrows at the smaller Montana area I'd been at for the past few years, but that didn't seem to bother anyone here. I think skier density has a lot to do with it.

    I'd also say that the overall level of skiing—especially hard-snow skiing—is higher here, which tends to "mask" some of the skiers who are capable of handling a moderately high speed (35-45 MPHish) as long as nothing goes wrong. Since there's a higher number of people traveling at that speed, many of whom actually know how to ski, the ones who don't have any margin of safety left to react to the unexpected don't stand out as much.
     
  9. falcon_o

    falcon_o Putting on skis Skier

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    Never be surprised by skier stupidity:

    - This season skiing 3 ski lengths off left side of Skylark at Killington with open slopes to my right taken down by a passing snowboarder who turned into me before completing his pass. He told me he thought I was going to turn left onto a cross trail ahead.
    - Last season 1st run at lift opening on lower Wildfire at Killington several ski lengths off left side passed on the left by high speed skier. No one else on the trail. Had words at the bottom and the skier said he was in control and I was in his line.
    - Four seasons past standing stopped on edge of cross trail, again at Killington bottom of Northstar , waiting for friends to come off of connecting trail. Tails of my skis were actually off the trail into the woods. A small boy crashed into me and bounced off as if I were a tree. Fortunately not hurt but his mother came up and screamed at me saying it was my fault and I should have seen him coming and moved out of his way. This time a ski patroller had witnessed the incident and after the mother began demanding he take action he clipped her and her son's ticket.
     
  10. jzmtl

    jzmtl Intermidiot Skier

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  11. Thread Starter
    TS
    Mikey

    Mikey Putting on skis Skier

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    I totally agree and that's *exactly* what we do. As you said, we treat starting out after stopping on trail just like pulling out into street/freeway traffic but then we also treat coming up on people just like we do with street/freeway traffic... anticipating people doing stupid things (because they are oblivious to what is happening around them) and giving appropriate room (or slowing down if no room) regardless if it is "our lane".
     
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  12. Coach13

    Coach13 Out on the slopes Skier

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    You would think driving etiquette would be a good clue but I’m not so sure with many people. You ever go to Costco? All those clueless tools that drive their carts into the side of you or your cart, up your heels, etc. They all drive there and sadly, some ski too. Total lack of awareness as to what’s going on around them.
     
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  13. Started at 53

    Started at 53 You can call me Jay Skier

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    There is no need for anyone to ski close to a person or group that is stopped in plain view from above. I would have ZERO problem using my pole in a jousting manner if I saw a person coming in my direction in a dangerous manner. I doubt many would be interested in impaling themselves. I don’t listen to music, so I can typically hear them coming.

    Interesting, @Tricia posted this morning (the “hit and run” thread has been locked for some reason) about nearly being taken out but a 4 year old power skier in CO recently. I am not sure if Tricia was stopped or just being overtaken, but either way it is disconcerting. Patents of kids should teach their kids proper etiquette
     
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  14. Thread Starter
    TS
    Mikey

    Mikey Putting on skis Skier

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    Tell me about it. We shop at the busiest (pretty sure that is still the case) Costco in the US (Iwilei/Honolulu).

    It's all about


    Actually...kind of like skiing, I've learned to park way away from the horde going for the best line/parking space :)
     
  15. slowrider

    slowrider Out on the slopes Skier

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    At one point in my carrer I hauled livestock. We used a hotshot to help the stubborn critters to move. It would work for other animals as well. Pain is a good teacher.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  16. sparty

    sparty Putting on skis Skier

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    Younger kids simply don't have spatial awareness. You can tell them to spread out or give other people more room until you're blue in the face, but they usually can't figure it out; watch any group of nine-olds in the lift line for a low-speed example

    Not saying that the responsible adults shouldn't be trying their best, just that there are limiting factors that seem to be developmental, rather than lack of training or supervision.
     
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  17. Wolfski

    Wolfski Getting on the lift Skier

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    Wife was almost hit by a young child who then proceeded to crash into a different person of their own group. Nothing but laughter from their group.
    Twice we had riders jump out of the woods right before and after us as we were skiing along the side of the trail. There's no way they could've known if it was clear or not, just lucky
    We were passed not closely mind you but at a very high rate of speed by a person in their Red Helly Hansen outfit. You know, the one with the big "I" on the back
    I did stop to wait, behind a yellow Slow Zone fence and overheard a couple of other "Information" suits talking and I asked if their coworker was skiing too fast, the response I received was they were going to report him.

    All of the above happened yesterday while skiing in the "Slow Family Zone" trail Bonanza, at Breckenridge

    Place all the suits you want out there but without any repercussion for violators why bother, as the only people slowing down in those areas are the ones in danger

    I also subscribe to the jousting/spearman method that @Started at 53 and @jzmtl mentioned and have been doing so for years.
    Boy do they flinch when they see the pole staring at their chest and you'd be surprised as to how much room you're given when being passed on catwalks
     
  18. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator

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    Skiing behind @Tricia at Mammoth today when a boarder zipped by on her right. He was within 2 feet of her with huge wide open area around everywhere. 2 feet is not safe even if there is no collision. One or both skiers/riders can make a move that results in an individual crash. No way this tool could have not seen the both of us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  19. Jack skis

    Jack skis Ex 207cm VR17 Skier Skier

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    I was following a guy down a pleasant groomed Blue run today, making sure I didn't overtake him as I was pretty sure he was a visitor and didn't want to ruin his day. We were alone on the trail as his companions had paused at the entrance to the trail. After the mid-trail steep face he slowed considerably, waiting for his group?, and I passed him far to his left, on a wide fairly flat section of the slope. I was making linked turns towards the bottom of the trail when I saw him out of the corner of my right eye, just barely missing my right shoulder as he blasted past me. We were all alone on the slope and I really wondered about his skiing judgement, and yeah, it gave me a start, close call. He stopped at the upcoming trail junction, but I skied by without comment. I didn't want to get into a discussion with a sharp looking guy who skied with his feet too close together.
     
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  20. slowrider

    slowrider Out on the slopes Skier

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    Yep usually it's lower skilled bombers that are the culprits. If a good carver arches around me at a sane distance. No biggie. Had a clown cut by me the other day while I was stopped off the run. He got the end of a ski pole at his chest. Now I don't like doing that, it bothers me. But I will protect myself to my best ability.
     

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