The responsibility code
Being out on the mountain sliding around is a blast! But just like being out on a highway with other cars, there are rules that help keep everyone safe. Red lights mean STOP and green lights mean GO. Those yellow triangle signs that say YIELD mean that other cars, trucks, trains, herds of rampaging elephants and such get to go first.
There are also rules for being safe and having fun out on the mountain. Those rules are called The Responsibility Code. Everyone on the snow is expected to learn and live them. What about you? Do you know them? Do the members of your family know them? More importantly, do you live them?
Here's the code.
Be smart. Learn it. Share it. Live it.
1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
That means you can turn when you want to turn and stop when you want to stop.
Can you crash into someone or something when you are going really slowly? Yup!
If you are going fast and you need to stop or turn to avoid someone or something, can you do it? If you can you are in control. If you can't, then you are not in control. Period. No excuses. If you ever crash into someone or something that's in front of you, then you were not in control.
2. People ahead of you get to go first. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
People downhill from you cannot see you coming up on them. It's your job to avoid them. So stay in control! If you need to pass them, give them and yourself plenty of room. It's nice to call out "On your left!" or "On your right!" as you get near them. Slow down to pass just in case you need to turn or stop quickly. If someone stops suddenly in front of you and you crash into them, it's your fault—you were too fast and too close—you couldn't turn when you wanted to turn or stop when you wanted to stop.
3. You must not stop where you block a trail, or are not visible to people uphill from you.
So, stop on the side of a run where others can see you easily. Never just sit down in the middle of a run and expect others to ski or ride around you. If you fall, get up quickly. People can see you more easily when you are standing up. People who just sit in the middle of a run are sometimes called "goobs." Calling people names isn't nice, but being a goob is both unsafe and not nice.
4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
People who are already moving have the right of way—they get to keep going without having to worry about others sliding out in front of them from the side of the run or from side run that connects with a main run. Whenever two runs connect, always assume that someone might be coming and slow down enough to be in control in case you need to turn or stop.
5. Always use ski brakes and pole straps to help prevent runaway equipment.
Make sure your gear stays with you. Run away skis and snowboards are dangerous. Keep them on your feet, in your hand, or standing up in a safe place out of the way of others.
6. Obey all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
Those signs and ropes are there to keep all of us safe. Falling off a cliff, getting stuck in an area with no exit or getting buried in an avalanche is not a good idea. Closed means CLOSED and slow means SLOW!
7. Before using any lift, know how to get on and off safely.
If you are not sure how to ride a lift, watch others do it first, and ask for help if you want it. The lift operators are a friendly, helpful bunch. You can ask them to slow the lift down when you get on. If you drop something (like a pole, ski, glove, etc.) while getting on stay calm. The thing will be sent up to you on the next chair. Once on the chair sit back and stay still. Put the bar down Enjoy the ride. Sing songs. Tell stories and jokes. Don't clack your skis together to knock snow off—you could cause a ski to release and, well, that's not good. Don't drop things on others from the lift. That's both dangerous and mean. Riding a lift is pretty simple if you just sit back and stay still. Horsing around on a lift and falling off is very dangerous. You could be hurt very badly or killed. So, sit back and stay still. Did I mention to sit back and stay still?