The Code: Know it, love it, don't get drunk and forget it

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You're skiing along, reveling in the crisp mountain air and distinct absence of your cubicle walls, when "WHAM!" -- you're knocked onto the snow.

"Sorry dude, I didn't see you," someone says from above you, an earbud hanging down from his ear. He (or, yes, she) quickly takes off, leaving you dazed on the snow. It's a snowboarder or skier who wasn't in control who has possibly ruined your season with their stupidity.

During early-season skiing, large amounts of skiers and snowboarders get funneled into a small area. Too often means you wind up on your ass.

On-hill collisions can ruin a day, if not a season. Realistically, collisions shouldn't happen, especially if people follow the skier responsibility code. According to the Colorado Ski Country website, the code was developed in 1966 by the National Ski Areas Association to help mitigate the dangers in skiing.

And it goes a little something like this:

  • 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.

The code is printed on every trail map at every resort, but too often, it seems that in the desire for speed, skiers and snowboarders don't pay attention to their surroundings. So every once in a while, take a second while riding the lift to look at the code on the trail map and think about what it means, and remember to ski or snowboard in control. You don't want to be the guy saying, "Sorry dude!"

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.