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Ski Etiquette: Top Ten Ways to Be a Polite Skier

Have a Safe, Enjoyable Day on the Slopes

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Ski Etiquette: Top Ten Ways to Be a Polite Skier

Staying off closed trails keeps you safe and keeps your ticket from getting pulled, too.

Copyright David Lok
Everyone knows that there’s always an impolite skier somewhere on the mountain – whether they’re cutting the lift line or cutting in front of you on the slopes, there’s going to be someone who’s just being rude and isn’t using common sense. You don’t want to be this person – not only can rude behavior get you stuck in dangerous situations, but it can get your expensive ticket or valuable season pass pulled for the day, too. Here are the top ways to be a polite, safe skier.

Don’t ski on closed trails. Ducking under the barrier that sections off closed trails doesn’t make you look cool, and it doesn’t make you seem like a daring skier who’s ready to face anything. When mountains close trails, it’s because the trails aren’t safe enough to ski on, no matter how advanced you are. Whether you’re showing off for a buddy or trying to prove something to yourself, taking on closed trails isn’t worth getting your ticket pulled and it certainly isn’t worth getting hurt.

Keep your speed in control. No one likes a speed demon whizzing past them. If you want to ski fast, make sure you do it in control and use common sense to judge the situation – is a crowded beginner trail really the right place to test how well your new skis handle speed? There is a time and a place for skiing fast, and the best place might be a NASTAR course or your ski resort’s designated trails. However, skiing too fast can make for a warning by the ski patrol, so make sure you always stay in control and keep your speed in check.

Don’t cut lines. A part of your day on the slopes requires patience. Waiting on the lift ticket line, the ski lift line or even the lunch line may be boring, but in the end it’s all worth it. Cutting lines should be an obvious “don’t,” so be patient and wait your turn.

Ski on trails that match your ability level. If you’re a beginner skier, don’t try and impress your friends by taking on the black diamonds when you’ve just began to comfortably manage the blues. Meanwhile, if you’re an advanced skier, don’t be afraid to enjoy the gentler terrain, but keep it in control and remember that you’re skiing with novices and beginners who may be slightly set off by quick turns.

Determine times to meet families or friends in advance, and carry a phone in case you’re delayed. If you’ve decided to meet someone at a certain time, do your best to maintain that agreement. However, things do happen that can prevent this – lift lines can be long or lifts can stop for a few moments, falls can happen, or trails can take longer to ski than expected. In case of a delay, carry a cell phone or a walkie-talkie so you don’t cause anyone unnecessary worry.

Practice good etiquette in the gondola. Whether a gondola is an 8-person or 12-person box, spaces can be tight, especially during busy weekends when lift attendants jam as many skiers as possible in one gondola car. So, make it your goal to be polite in this situation. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is how essential it is to refrain from smoking. In such a close space, secondhand smoke is extremely irritating to others and not only is smoking rude, but at the majority of ski resorts, it’s often against the rules. Other things to keep in mind include respecting those around you – carry on a conversation but don’t use foul language or have personal conversations, for example.

If you’re a new skier, refresh yourself on basics with a lesson. If it’s your first time skiing or you haven’t been skiing in a long time, taking a lesson is always a good idea. It will set you off on the right foot and you’ll learn basics like how to get on a chair lift, which will simplify your ski day.

Respect those who aren’t as comfortable on the trail as you are. Even if it was many years ago, don’t forget the time when you were a beginner. Having more advanced skiers whizzing past you or trying to catch air while giving you little room would have unnerved you and certainly made you uncomfortable. So, if you see a skier struggling, do your best to give them a lot of room.

Be aware of skiers who are having lessons. Whether you see an instructor trying to manage ten little toddlers or demonstrating a turn to a small group of intermediate skiers, be aware of them and try your best to stay out of their way.

Remember that a skier in front of you has the right of way. Whether you’re crossing a trail, making a turn, or stopping, remember that it is your responsibility to avoid the skier in front of you.

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