Snowboarding Etiquette

Illustration by Catherine Baumhauer

Here at Surf Like a Girl, we want to do everything we can to encourage women in whatever board sport they chose to pursue. That said, we feel passionately that all our readers should practice good etiquette in the ocean, on the streets, and on the mountain. Hey, everyone is allowed to make mistakes, but following these simple rules will help keep you — and those around you — safe.

The National Ski Areas Association has their own list (in fact, should you break any of these rules, you will be asked to leave the mountain).

RESPONSIBILITY CODE by the National Ski Areas Association:

  • 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. (Snowboarders use a leash that goes around their boot and connects to the board.)
  • 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.

Other rules for good etiquette:

1.  Know before you go. On almost any mountain, beginner runs are clearly marked with a GREEN CIRCLE, intermediate runs with a BLUE  SQUARE and advanced runs with a BLACK DIAMOND. Don’t head up a lift on a run that is more advanced than you can handle.  You will only get yourself or others into a bad situation.

2.  Take yourself out. Take yourself out before taking out someone else. If you know you are heading right towards the five year old doing “pizza pie/French fries” at high speeds and you can’t turn in time, you better hit the ground before you hit her.

3.  Keep your cool on the chairlift. Should you fall off the chairlift (and you will) move, scoot or crawl as quickly as you can out of the way so that the person behind doesn’t fall over you, or, God forbid, they stop the chairlift and everybody gets to see what a kook you are.

3. No tea parties. Don’t take a break with a group of friends in the middle of a run. Wait until you get to the bottom or into the lodge.  If you are helping someone or need to stop for an important reason, move off to the side.

4. Don’t sideslip a line.  Sidesliping a line means you go down on your edge scooting yourself carefully down the run and wasting that good powder for a more advanced boarder. If you find yourself in a situation where this is the only way you are going to get down the mountain stay over to the side. (Don’t worry about this on the beginner runs as this is the way your will learn to board, but don’t head up to a more advanced run if the only way you can get down is on one edge.)

5. Rock out. Wearing earphones while boarding is like wearing them while driving (which is illegal, by the way).  If you can’t hear someone coming down behind you yelling at you to stay to the right, you could have a big accident on your hands.  Leave your iPod at home or keep the volume low enough that you can hear others.

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