The Alpine Responsibility Code
We all know it or we should! It is there for everyone’s safety and planted all over resorts for everyone to see. On posts, in parks, on wall’s in the toilet, it really is quite a difficult thing to be unaware of. Sometimes the numbering is slightly different and number 3 can be a lot of different rules, but rules they are.
Hey, look, don’t get me wrong, I love that people want to learn how to ski and board and we have all been there at one point. I remember the days when most of my day was taken up by giving lift line hugs, gracefully falling on my face whenever I stopped and apologising about a hundred times for doing some numpty thing to anyone within a 5 metre radius.
I do not go to and will avoid at all costs, places like Death Valley (Front valley, Perisher) and Frightening Flats (Friday Flats, Thredbo). I value my life and limbs and these are two places on the slopes that I feel sure I am putting both of these things at risk.
As I was navigating my way through the 300 people gathered halfway up the hill at the bottom of Frightening Flats a couple of weeks ago I got about a quarter of the way through and a runaway snowboard took me and a couple of other people out. Flat on my face. The lovely attendant who helped me up politely asked me if I’d had any lessons. He obviously missed the rouge snowboard plough into me and the other unassuming passer by’s and only saw the carnage and yard sale I was having (Skis and stocks everywhere). I wasn’t hurt, luckily, well maybe my pride and innocently pointed to the culprit. He just shook his head and sent me on my way. I guess it’s a regular part of his day.
8. Use care to prevent runaway snowboards
I can ski all day, black runs, moguls, fast groomers a bit of park and the only place my spidey senses heighten is on the beginner and green runs! I am not blaming these folk as I have said, I have been there myself. But man, now that I can control myself, that stuff is terrifying!
1. Stay in control and avoid other people and hazards
2. It is YOUR responsibility to avoid and give way to people below and beside you.
We all appreciate how beautiful it is up there, the trees, the views, it’s stunning and breathtaking and well deserving of a lot of oohhhing and ahhhing, but hot tip, if you are moving forward, make sure you are looking where you are going! How many times have you seen a snow plougher end up in a pile with others because a) they couldn’t stop and b) they just weren’t paying attention!
I was hurt pretty badly twice last season, both times, I was standing still OFF the track – literally, way off (because I know the code and was practicing number 6) and twice newbies took my skis out from under me and twisted my knees.
Super frustrating and just bloody dangerous.
If I am going down on a stretcher it could at least be for something fun! Not standing still waiting for my snowboarder mates!
Which leads me into:
6. Do not stop where you are not visible from above OR WHERE YOU OBSTRUCT A TRAIL
What is the go with the traverses??? I completely understand it gets busy on a weekend and you have to stop and do up your bindings, but here is a hot tip! When it IS busy and there are people trying to move through a 5 metre wide space, let’s not stop there for a chill and chat!
Let’s not stand with our heel edges dug in at the entrance, let’s not take that selfie or snow shot on the traverse … get the hell out of there as soon as you can!
On the way to those beautiful green runs, there are traverses full of snow ploughers and heel diggers galore. Don’t stop, keep moving, if you can’t? Shuffle, get out of the bloody way mate, it is no fun for anyone if we can’t get through. Once again, I have been there, I am fairly patient, but seriously there is a code for a reason and everyone has to live by it.
Lastly and by all means not the least
9. Do not ski, snowboard, ride chairlift or undertake Alpine activities if your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol!
This is my all time favourite rule... but really? Where is the fun in that?
I ALWAYS have a giggle as we ride up Cruiser after being at Merritts for lunch (Corona Buckets) or Schnappy Hour ($5 shots). Apres Ski is mostly done midway through the day and I am pretty sure, I am not the only person at the bar (think 5 deep lines on the weekend).
We mostly have lunch at Black Sallies because there are some fun little black runs right in front of the window. It is without doubt my favourite thing watching old mate Jerry after his 2 x 500ml CC’s, that were on tap gather up his Dutch courage and head on down through the shoots and moguls. Tree hugging and rolly polly’s galore and they just get up and keep going – it’s great to watch!
I do say this as I sit here with a fairly ruined shoulder… yeah, I had 2 vodka Redbulls that day and guess what? No wings! Hehe
But seriously folks, The Code is there for a reason and we should all try our best to share and know it. I know most of you are the converted, but for newbies it’s always good to have a read.
Ski patrol are amazing, put the number in your phone, follow the rules and just be safe out there. Nothing is worse then wasting all those dollars you spent getting there because you got hurt for doing something avoidable. Learn the code. Be Aware. Ski and Ride with Care.