What Pisses You Off.

Last spring, we asked a provocative question in our annual SeniorsSkiing.com Subscriber Survey. We asked, “Thinking back on the 2018-19 season, tell us what pissed you off the most about the following…” Then we listed “On the slopes”, “In the lodge”, “Tickets and passes,” “Restaurant”, “Other skiers”. We also asked what delighted skiers the most, but let’s look at the opposite first. Based on the language in the responses, it is certainly where the passion lies.

We were surprised that so many respondents made comments like the following sample of many more:

Rude and dangerous skiers and boarders
Inconsiderate skiers and snowboarders
Lack of ski etiquette
Out of control skiers
Dangerous skiers
Beginners on advanced trails
Careless riding and skiing
Skiing too fast and too close to other skiers
Not skiing in control
Some are dangerously fast and reckless
Skiing and riding too fast
A few jerks skiing dangerously
Not following safe skiing rules
Risk takers who don’t turn on groomers
Straight-lining on easy slopes
Complete disregard for slower skiers

Respondents also mentioned high lift and pass prices, lousy cafeteria food, long walks from parking lots, and other grievances. However, the out-of-control skier situation is the most disturbing. Why? Because you probably thought that the Ski Patrol would be enforcing the Skier’s Code of Responsibility. Or that the resort’s Ski Ambassadors would be chiding characters acting dangerously. As we have learned from your comments, that apparently isn’t happening much.

Let’s be clear. There is a difference between skiing fast in control and skiing fast out of control. We know many of our readers like the former, but, as we have seen, many are intimidated by the latter.

As a result, SeniorsSkiing.com believes we have shone a light on a key area of ski resort management that needs improvement. The chain of consequences that dangerous, out-of-control skiers brings is significant: the risk of injury from collisions, turning off beginners, seniors returning to skiing, or the occasional skier who spends several hundred dollars for a once-a-season ski weekend, and creating anxiety in grandparents who fear for their grandchildren.

This week, we hear from SeniorsSkiing.com correspondent Roger Lohr about his own close encounter with an out-of-control skier and his thoughts about what to do about the situation.

Let’s hear from you. What can be done to slow down the jerks who can potentially ruin a senior skier’s season? What can we do to influence the industry?

Also This Week

SeniorsSkiing.com correspondent Don Burch offers a clever “Analogy Test”, that challenges your skiing knowledge and your ability to figure out analogies. Be advised, this is not a creme puff test; pay attention.

Herb “The Skiing Weatherman” Stevens follows up last week’s debut article as a SeniorsSkiing.com correspondent with a clear explanation of how the Northwest got whammed with a mega storm at the end of September.

Finally, we are reprising the third in a series of articles on shaping up for the season. This final set of exercises raises the challenge level. Remember, the key to fitness is a consistent routine. Dashing around the gym once a week, pumping as much iron as you can ain’t gonna do it.

Next week look for our first Mystery Glimpse feature of the new season. If you have story ideas or would like to comment, please scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your thoughts in the comment box.

We hope you’re getting ready to go to the ski shows. We know we are. See the discount for SeniorsSkiing.com subscribers at the top banner ad or click below.

Remember to please tell your friends about SeniorsSkiing.com. As usual, there are more of us every day, and we aren’t going away.


  1. Donald MacKay says:

    Ski Patrollers are now only Rescue Squads. They need to patrol and enforce ski etiquette. They can educate as well as enforce. Pulling over skiers and explaining the use of “on your right/left”, explaining downhill right of way, giving wide berth to other skiers, not popping blindly out of the woods onto a trail, not stopping in the center of a trail, etc. AND not being afraid to clip the ticket of offenders, and a few other things.

    • Thomas Rogers says:

      I agree that they ned to actually “patrol” as they go. If they passed out a few warnings and removed a few tickets, it might just make a real difference. Couldn’t hurt to try!
      Maybe y’all, as an organization, could share these responses with the heads of the ski patrol departments at the ski areas that are on your list and inform them as to the safety concerns of this group. It might just get some of them thinking.

  2. Sherm White says:

    One tool might be a program involving the snowsport school. Hand out vouchers for a free coaching session on appropriate terrain. The session could emphasize safer practices, other for your own safety and enjoyment, as well as others. Unfortunately, many resorts promote their schools as “teaching you how to ski” rather than how to perform better and have more fun, so only beginners go to lessons. Both Patrol and other mountain personnel could hand these vouchers out. For disclosure, I am a working PSIA ,level 3 alpine instructor, who also trains with our ski patrol

    • You paint too broad a brush. PSIA ski instructors don’t only teach people how to ski. Teaching safety while skiing goes hand-in-hand with teaching skiing. I bet you teach that! I know I did.

      There is a misunderstanding about ski patrol’s function by a lot of people. Yes, some of the patrol do ski around the resorts, but there are those who are strategically placed, able to respond quickly, in emergencies.

      What else can be done? Vail has people in yellow jackets, slowing people down on green runs and family areas. Being serious about “yanking” lift tickets is another.

      There are also things we can do to keep ourselves safe. Always look uphill before resuming skiing. Don’t make sudden turns. Keep your skis tuned and de-burr the edges daily. And, make sure you start the season with a binding check and strong legs. Wishing everyone a great and safe ski season.

  3. Out of control skiers and riders need their pass privileges suspended for two weeks, on the first offense. Second offense, three weeks. After that, permanently. Then post a a information board of the number of passes yanked this season.

  4. George Sparks says:

    Punch a hole in the ticket of the reckless skier as a warning. On the second or third punch, pull the ticket for the day.

  5. Connie Grodensky says:

    Regarding skiers who do not pay attention to ski etiquette: during the recent ski season, my friend and I (both of us 65+) had skied down a major slope that, unfortunately, has several cut-across runs where people notoriously don’t pay attention to the fact that downhill skiers have the right of way. After we skied down halfway and made the left turn, a ski patroller stopped my friend and let her know that SHE had failed to look uphill! We were coming from uphill! OK, so some people DO need to be reminded, but we were the downhill skiers! It is nice, however, that our ski patrol is constantly visible and always asking, when we stop safely to take in an incredible view, if we are all right. Kudos to the ski patrollers!!!

  6. Peter Barrett says:

    My wife and I have skied for over 70 years and season pass holders at Whistler/Blackcomb. One would think that as part of the Vail galaxy W/B would set a standard for ski safety but we could write the same list there on a daily basis. This is in spite of what appear to be a significant number of area personnel whose responsibilities would seem to lie in that area. (Ski Patrol, Mountain Safety and “Hosts”) Their roles in the enforcement process is unclear and not often observed and their visible presence especially in those places on the mountain where the behaviors on the list are most frequently seen is too infrequent.

  7. Four years ago, Park City Mtn introduced the Safety Patrol, 20 employees in bright yellow and black jackets who, in addition to 150 Ski Patrollers and 25 Host/Ambassadors, work the mountain daily to ensure guest safety. These Safety Patrollers engage in 1500-2000 incident events each season, from friendly cautions to full-on arrests, and have significantly reduced the kind of on-mountain behavior described in your article. Although the behavior continues, as evidenced by the continuing number of incident events, it is much safer to ski/ride the mountain than ever.

  8. Norm Reynolds says:

    1. Stop grooming runs that lead to and from terrain parks.
    2. Consider letting portions of long groomers that people tend to straightline go to short stretches of bumps, enough to slow the bashers down. It would be possible to have ways around the bumps for people who absolutely can’t get down them.
    3. More visible explanations of rules. I have been hit by people coming from behind who say I cut right in front of them, not realizing no one has eyes in the back of their heads, and if the person they are passing suddenly turns in front of them, the collision is their fault, not the one in front.
    4. Enforce the rules.

  9. Andre Lacouture says:

    price of the skiing day in the us it s getting ridiculous, I am 80 yrs old i have been skiing for the last 70 yrs> this year i will go to europe for the price of one week in the us i can ski 2 weeks in France, at 70 it s free in most skiing resort in france and up to 65 it s between 50 and 65 euro .

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Andre: There are many ski resorts in the US and Canada that offer free skiing for 80+ year olds. Even some of the big name destination resorts offer a free ticket or season pass. We are preparing our annual listing of resorts where seniors can ski for free or at really big discounts. Either wait for that or search on your own. Be advised, a lot of “name” resorts don’t advertise free skiing for 80+. You have to ask.

  10. John Walkowiak says:

    It couldn’t hurt if ski area’s placed more signs stating the rules of the hill on lift poles, in the lodges, etc. Most skiers don’t know the etiquette.
    They used to be all over the place, now it’s rare to see them.

  11. John Christiano says:

    The real world. If you are a ski patroller used to hanging out on the top of the mountain bonding ,training, and relating to other patrollers in a room that has no window in the door. Why on earth would you go for a run and probably not find a reckless skier. Over and over again. The people who responded about the things that bother them (reckless skiers) did not mention that those events happen rarely but never less do happen. It is better to have a patroller on top of the mountain where he can grab a sled and get to you just like when one of the patrollers did that for me. While I was laying in the snow and starting to get seriously cold with a broken and dislocated shoulder. I was happy to know that he did not have to stop along the way to read the riot act to some dweeb. Keep the patrollers where they belong and grab the Monday to Friday admin guys and let them give out speeding tickets. From a skier who lives at a ski resort (Sugarbush) and has been skiing 70-120 days a year You want that sled fast because the cold will be scaring the he’ll out of you.

  12. cansnowplow says:

    Although I am late in my reply, my first inclination is to have ski area personnel be given the ability to scan the dangerous downhiller’s RFID (automated lift ticket) right on the mountain trail without the pass needing to be presented physically; as this becomes a pissing match, as most people cornered will refuse to cooperate. Employee can issue the verbal warning to the hazardous person and electronically document the declared violation to this specific RFID. After say 1 or 2- 3 accumulative violations documented, have the administration disable the pass, prohibiting this violator from triggering the control gate when trying to get on the lift. Have the lift operator team member who controls the gate inform that the person the pass was flagged a hazard and that the person has to visit the adm. or security office to possibly reactivate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *