Skier and Rider Responsibility
When you step onto the mountain at a ski resort, you are doing so with fellow guests looking to enjoy their mountain experience. You will be making decisions about where you go, how fast you go, and how you descend. These decisions not only affect you, but also others around you. Your responsibility when you make these decisions is to show courtesy and respect to others by using common sense and good judgment. To ensure you are fulfilling your responsibilities as a skier or rider, you must ensure that your conduct complies with all of the following:
Your Responsibility Code
“Your Responsibility Code” is a universally accepted code of conduct throughout the United States and applies to everyone on the mountain. It is designed to ensure that everyone has a great mountain experience. KNOW THE CODE. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
- Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
Collisions with fixed objects (e.g., trees, rocks, snowmaking equipment, lift towers) are the number one cause of serious incidents in skiing and riding. The first four items in Your Responsibility Code all relate to not running into things or people. Here are some tips for avoiding collisions so you can #RideAnotherDay.
Tips for Avoiding Collisions
1. Be ready to slow down to avoid objects or other people at any time. Ski and ride in such a way that you are always able to control yourself regardless of conditions.
2. Stay alert to what’s going on around you, especially other skiers and riders. Being aware of those around and changing conditions will help you have a fun and safe day on the hill.
3. Plan Ahead by easing up at blind spots, checking uphill when merging onto trails, and giving other skiers plenty of room when passing. Look out for spots on the run where traffic merges or you can’t see what’s coming next. If you are unfamiliar with a run, take it easy the first time down it and make note of places where you’ll want to slow down, such as cat tracks and rollers. Also, give other skiers and riders lots or room (15 feet is a good number), especially if you are passing them. There’s plenty of space out there, so there’s no need to crowd each other.
Collisions with People
Although it is your responsibility to stay in control and avoid collisions with other people, accidents do happen. If you are involved in a collision, you have legal responsibilities. The law requires any person involved in a collision to remain at the scene of the incident. California Penal Code section 653i and NRS 455A.170 state that any person involved in a skiing accident must not leave the scene knowing or having reason to believe that any other person is in need of assistance, except to notify authorities or obtain assistance.
Skiing and Riding in Closed Areas
Responsibility Code No. 6 above is not just part of your responsibility; it is the law. California Penal Code section 602(r) makes it a misdemeanor in California to enter a closed area. Nevada Revised Statutes 455A, Washoe County Code section 50.246 (Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak), and Douglas County Code section 9.08 (Heavenly) have similar laws in Nevada. Several other counties have similar ordinances.
A closed area is one that the ski resort has closed either within the resort’s boundary or an area that is private land outside the ski resort’s boundary. Ski resorts on public land have resort boundaries, but access beyond the boundary is generally permitted to the public. Most ski resorts in California and Nevada operate on public land under a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. Ski resorts may close areas within their permit boundary due to hazards, but the Forest Service does not allow them to limit access to public land outside the border of their permit area. Areas outside of any resort boundary, however, are not patrolled or maintained. In short, if you choose to ski or ride beyond a ski area boundary you do so at your own risk for any consequences that may result, which include serious injury or death.