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View Full Version : I almost got nailed by two skiers this weekend....



grouseking
02-05-2007, 04:05 PM
When it happened, I was not amused. In fact, I was ready to turn around and go home because I was so ticked off. Right where the Tecumseh hiking trail parallels the closed section of ski trail, there were a bunch of skiers that decided to come down the trail and a very high speed. They almost crashed into my hiking parter and I, and all could have been VERY badly injured. Think Sherpa Kroto injury.....

In my opinion, skiers sking down a busy hiking trail is the equivalent to hikers walking across the middle of the skiing slope. Its dangerous, not courteous, oh and did I mention it was dangerous? In fact, out of the 12 (yes 12 skiers that came down the trail), 2 took some serious spills.

I have cooled off about this but still will never hike this trail again in winter as long as the resort is open. These people put lives in danger. Its almost as ignorant as going above treeline without any gear.

Is there a law against skiers using popular hiking trails like this? They have glades, I don't understand why one would risk getting hurt by using a hiking trail. Anybody had any experience like this??

grouseking

marty
02-05-2007, 04:16 PM
I don't know the law, but the same thing almost happened to Ray and me last year, while hiking the Monroe Trail up Camel's Hump. There were two skiers. I saw them and jumped off trail to avoid getting hit. I yelled to them that there was another hiker just around the corner. The first said OK, but did not slow or stop and then had to do a forced wipeout to avoid hitting Ray. Just like you, we narrowly avoided serious injuries.

Marty

bikehikeskifish
02-05-2007, 04:23 PM
A law? No. BUT when you buy your lift pass, you agree (you do read the fine print on the bottom half, right?) to stay within the ski boundaries. I'd bet the hiking trial is outside the official boundaries. If you could have reported them, they would (could) lose their lift ticket. They broke 2 rules (at least) of the Skiers Code Of Conduct.

I would call WV (don't e-mail, they don't read it.... in my experience) and say something. Perhaps they had a orange out-of-bounds marker that was destroyed, or simply ignored.

People ski off the edges of trails all the time... and usually right back in bounds. In this case perhaps they got stuck on that trail, thinking it came right back. Likely they were ignorant, rather then belligerent.

Tim

Amicus
02-05-2007, 05:36 PM
grouseking,

Did your near-miss occur Saturday? I happened to spend the day skiing there (except for the time spent watching my kid take a pair of slalom runs for a race). I started my skiing at 8:30 by taking the little (and low-speed) double chair that runs from the top of the main quad to the true summit - the only motorized access to about 450 vertical feet of open slopes that were heavenly untracked powder for a few hours Saturday morning. As I recall, orange ropes cordoned off the hiking trail, as well as some of the ski trails, since they had little natural snow before the half-foot or so that fell overnight Friday. As usual, I saw some skiiers ski the closed ski trails, and might have seen tracks on the hiking trail - I wasn't focused on that.

Like me (and Tim), most skiers I know are law-abiding and not reckless. (I had my hands full with the trails were open and never go off-trail at a downhill area.)

forestgnome
02-05-2007, 05:56 PM
Its almost as ignorant as going above treeline without any gear. grouseking

No, far more ignorant, IMO. You risk your own life by going without proper gear, but skiing down a hiking trail where people are known to hike involves risking injury to others. I consider it criminal negligence. Glad you're OK. Hope they grow up before they hurt someone. Too many cool people.

Happy Trails :)

Tim Seaver
02-05-2007, 07:00 PM
I don't know the law, but the same thing almost happened to Ray and me last year, while hiking the Monroe Trail up Camel's Hump.

Yup, it's a big problem on that trail. I still have fond memories of snowshoeing up a rather narrow part of the trail when a skier came shooting down. Not having anywhere to go, I just stared at him blankly as he crashed into the woods. Then his buddy came down right behind him, crashing into the other side of the woods.

They didn't sound too happy as they picked the spruce branches out of their teeth. And I certainly didn't apologize. In fact, I believe it was all I could do to contain a serious case of the chuckles as they tried to regain their composure as bad-ass skiers. :D

I have seen parties do it more responsibly, using a spotter at the bottom of each run to make sure the trail is clear of "those *&%$*@ hikers" before the next skier launches.

bikehikeskifish
02-05-2007, 08:39 PM
This is a forum for hikers, therefore we know that hiking trails exist, and that we actually hike on them in the winter.

I'd bet a lot of money that most skiers at Waterville Valley can't name the mountain (Tecumseh) let alone do they realize there may be hikers on some trail that is accessible from the lifts.

Their transgression is ignoring the boundary markers. I'd bet it's not personal, so don't take it that way. Again, I'd send a note to Waterville Valley, perhaps they can add a sign to the top of the hiking trail warning skiers of the additional dangers of skiing down the hiking trail.

Tim

David Metsky
02-05-2007, 10:21 PM
This is a forum for hikers, therefore we know that hiking trails exist, and that we actually hike on them in the winter.
It's also a forum for skiers. :)

Their transgression is ignoring the boundary markers.
Actually it's not usually a huge problem going outside of ski areas boundries. They may not like it, but it happens all the time. Skiers access out of bounds terrain from lifts all over New England, but those trails rarely have lots of hikers. In fact, if I were skiing down some of those trails and there were hikers coming up, I'd be pretty upset since I really wouldn't expect that.

I often encounter this on trails like the Carriage Road on Moosilauke, which has skier, hiker, and snowmobile traffic up and down. You have to keep this in mind at all times up there. Same with any trails that have frequent skier traffic, such as Snapper, Gorge Brook, or Garfield. Hikers and skiers have managed to make it work out.

Being right next to a ski area, and knowing that skiers sometimes come down that trail, I've kept an eye out when hiking up. And I've also boot skied down the ski trails and the skiers were pretty nice about it.

This clearly was an unpleasant experience, and a potentially dangerous one. Skiers also have rights to the trails, as long as they take care to use them safely. It's a two way street, pardon the pun.

-dave-

Lawn Sale
02-05-2007, 11:08 PM
Two years ago my brother and I were ice climbing out of Tucks, to the right of right, and looked up to see some insane skiers coming down the chute. I thought it was hilarious, as did my brother, and we still talk about it to this day. There isn't much you can do to stop a free-fall.

I'd love to be able to ski like that, but for now will have to watch in awe as others do it.

Mattl
02-05-2007, 11:08 PM
Being right next to a ski area, and knowing that skiers sometimes come down that trail, I've kept an eye out when hiking up. And I've also boot skied down the ski trails and the skiers were pretty nice about it.- Metsky


There should be no reason why skiers should be going down on a small rocky trail which is used for hiking and offers little way of getting out of the way. I was with phil on this trip and we litteraly had to go into the trees to avoid them. This isn't a wide carrage road that offers passage for both. I am a big backcountry skiier, but I still show courtesy because I am even more of a hiker. There is plenty of terrain they can go on at Waterville, and if anything they can go through some of the more open woods at the near the bottom. When it becomes dangerous for the hiker, which is what that trail was made for, then they just shouldn't do it. If they want glades, then they can find them at places like Bretton Woods, or Wildcat, who have just opened up a lot. Phil and I felt threatened by them coming screaming down the trail without even watching who was below. I know some people are careful if they ski down, but why not just not ski on that trail? It really should better managed and kept off-limits. -Mattl
ps: I screwed up trying to quote

forestgnome
02-06-2007, 04:46 AM
This clearly was an unpleasant experience, and a potentially dangerous one. Skiers also have rights to the trails, as long as they take care to use them safely.

The essence of the issue is safety and control. I believe the only difference b/w users of the trail is what's on their feet (and speed, of course). However, it is negligent and uncouth to conduct yourself in a way that endangers others. It is reasonable to expect others to be on a hiking trail, be they hikers or even another skier who has fallen in the trail. If you ski around a curve in a trail at a speed that leaves you unable to avoid crashing into someone else on the trail, then you are negligent. Same goes for glissading.

I wouldn't want to prohibit skiing or glissading or sledding on trails, but everyone needs to conduct themselves as civilized, free citizens, so that prohibitions are unnecessary.

Grumpy
02-06-2007, 07:56 AM
The essence of the issue is safety and control. I believe the only difference b/w users of the trail is what's on their feet (and speed, of course). However, it is negligent and uncouth to conduct yourself in a way that endangers others. It is reasonable to expect others to be on a hiking trail, be they hikers or even another skier who has fallen in the trail. If you ski around a curve in a trail at a speed that leaves you unable to avoid crashing into someone else on the trail, then you are negligent. Same goes for glissading.

I wouldn't want to prohibit skiing or glissading or sledding on trails, but everyone needs to conduct themselves as civilized, free citizens, so that prohibitions are unnecessary.

Right on the money, from the first word to the last!

It's also important to remember that we're all out there to have some fun, and derive some enjoyment from what we're doing. If our own fun and enjoyment in a shared venue comes at the expense of someone else's, that just isn't right.

G.

Tom Rankin
02-06-2007, 08:04 AM
And then we have this:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070206/ap_on_fe_st/deer_skier_collision;_ylt=AivHAsR5zMt9cHNS4kvpTRLt iBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

Chip
02-06-2007, 08:23 AM
And then we have this:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070206/ap_on_fe_st/deer_skier_collision;_ylt=AivHAsR5zMt9cHNS4kvpTRLt iBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--
"When he told her he had just run into a deer on the slope her first question was, "Is the deer all right?" " :rolleyes: Nice !

David Metsky
02-06-2007, 11:16 AM
There should be no reason why skiers should be going down on a small rocky trail which is used for hiking and offers little way of getting out of the way.

Sure there is a reason, it's fun. Now, it should be safe as well, and it is possible to be safe on trails like that if you ski in control. But we all get different enjoyment from different things. I find skiing on narrow trails (with enough snow cover) to be a blast.


This isn't a wide carrage road that offers passage for both.
Neither is Snapper or Gorge Brook, and both of them were designed and built as combo hiking and skiing trails. There are places on both where you must be wary of your surroundings and be able to stop in time, since there isn't always room to get by a hiker. But I've skied both many times and never had a major problem.


Phil and I felt threatened by them coming screaming down the trail without even watching who was below. I know some people are careful if they ski down, but why not just not ski on that trail? It really should better managed and kept off-limits.
The problem was bad skiers, not all skiers. There are places where skiing downhill on trails is specifically excluded, such as the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. There is a parallel ski trail there specifically because of the traffic concerns with hikers and skiers going up Tuckerman. But elsewhere in the Whites there hasn't been enough of a problem to require the rule. You can make the case that the Tecumseh Trail should have this restriction, but I would argue against it in this case. A little education would allow different types of users to share the trail.

-dave-

psmart
02-06-2007, 11:27 AM
Call the ski area and make sure they are aware of the problem. If the skiers had lift tickets, the ski area is partly responsible for their behavior, as well as proper signage, etc. "Real" backcountry skiiers (like the folks on VFTT) would be more careful! Since we hike and ski in some of the same places, we've learned to share the trail.

Frosty
02-06-2007, 03:15 PM
There should be no reason why skiers should be going down on a small rocky trail which is used for hiking and offers little way of getting out of the way.

Sure there is a reason, it's fun.

I find skiing on narrow trails (with enough snow cover) to be a blast.

You can make the case that the Tecumseh Trail should have this restriction, but I would argue against it in this case. A little education would allow different types of users to share the trail.

-dave-Well, this is the attitude of those yahoos on the trail. The two hikers had to jump into the woods to avoid being hit, and their complaints are met with one guy saying "don't be upset, it wasn't personal" and you saying it's fun. No mugging is personal, and no amount of education will overcome laws of physics.

The only education required is for you and the other yahoo skiers to learn not to fly down trails where there is little opportunity or time for others to scramble out of the way. It's enough that you require them to vacate the trail for you. At least give them the opportunity to do so.

Crap like this gives skiers a bad name.

Getting along is pretty simple. Hikers shouldn't posthole their way along XC ski trails and skiers should not fly down out of control on hiking trails.

You may see this as fun, but someday the wrong hiker will have to dive into a snowbank head first, and he return to the trail with a long wooden hiking staff for protection, and then someone will be seriously injured or killed.

All it takes is a small amount of consideration for another's person's safety. I don't think it is too much to ask.

dug
02-06-2007, 03:33 PM
I ski on some hiking trails, but not all. I personally am not a qualified enough skier to make my turns in some of these trails that have been tramped out in a U-Shaped trough with snow shoes. The person I go with is much more skilled, and can handle that. I don't go much faster on skis than on foot...it's most just standing there snowplowing, making a few turns when necessary. Take Cedar Brook Trail for example. That is a GREAT, long ride out.

It sounds like a skier (non-hiker) caused the problem. Most skiers that are hikers have a different take on what the trail conditions and safety is. "Flying" down the trail doesn't mean skiing in general. It is possible to ski, and still be in control. I've seen Dave ski, I don't think you can lump everyone into the same bucket here.

I have been run over by a butt-slider before...

woodstrider
02-06-2007, 03:40 PM
I am a strong apponent to mixed use trails of any kind- I just do not trust that people will responsibly use the trails and abid by the rules- or even bother to know what the rules are.

Like, on trails that horses and hikers use, do hikers know that they must yeild to the horses?

Once on a back pack in the Catskills a mountainbiker came ripping up behind me and did not even bother to let me know

king tut
02-06-2007, 05:40 PM
I have to agree w/ Metsky on this one. I love to hike and I love to ski. I think we all see the world through our own tinted visual lenses based on who we are and what our experiences have been. Maybe the yahoos could not ski well and were out of control, but soon enough if they are that bad they will hit a tree. Call it Karma!

On the other hand, when I was skiing this weekend, I saw a guy skinning up the mountain on his skis, and not even on the edge of the trail. It seems a matter of time before someone was going to come around a corner and cream him. Should we outlaw hiking on skiing trails if we are going to outlaw skiing on hiking trails?

NYBRAD
02-06-2007, 05:56 PM
With all the hiking trails available, I'd find a different trail to hike if skiers can be a problem............. :confused:
It is winter the last time I checked.

una_dogger
02-06-2007, 06:06 PM
I am glad no one was hurt, and I'm sure no one meant any harm.

I have to agree that if a trail is mixed use, then there is no argument here.

Its my hope that everyone who enjoys the outdoors, no matter what form that takes (hiking, skiing, hunting, whatever), does so responsibly and without lowering the quality (or endangering) the experience of others.

grouseking
02-06-2007, 06:36 PM
All I can say is, if the Mt Tecumseh hiking trail was called the Mt Tecumseh hiking/skiing trail, I guess I wouldn't have had so much of a beef. I will be calling Waterville Valley, and letting them know, because no matter how much a skier might hate this, one person can ruin it for all.

I'll write more later when I'm out of work......and I actually have more thoughts formulated.

grouseking

MikeM
02-06-2007, 07:16 PM
I Like hiking the long trail up to Mount Mansfield and the Chin in winter. The LT is very close to Stowe ski area and when the snow gets deep you will see many more skiers than hikers on the trail. The long trail is a hiking trail that sees alot of skier use in the winter. After many years on this trail I have fine tuned my senses. When I hear schuss, schuss, schuss I realize a skier is coming down the trail and I step to the side, behind a tree if possible. In the spring the skiers even throw in a bunch of wahoos! and cowabunghas! when the conditions are really great. You can hear them coming, just step aside instead of standing in the middle of the trail. I don't downhill ski but when I hear them coming I still give them the right of way.

skibones
02-06-2007, 07:18 PM
I was curious about who would be held responsible if you had been injured? Could the skiers be held liable for your medical bills if you were injured?
I was hit on the ski hill this weekend. An out of control skier who couldn't turn slammed right into my back and knocked me down on my face, and tore my rotator cuff. Afterwards I thought I should have asked for her name and number so I could send her the doctor's bill. Not sure if anyone has ever tried that. (Lucky for me though I was wearing a helmet and a mouth guard!)

bikehikeskifish
02-06-2007, 07:32 PM
...their complaints are met with one guy saying "don't be upset, it wasn't personal" ...


That's not what I said. I said I'd bet it's not personal, so don't take it that way. I did not mean you shouldn't be upset, just not in a personal way, and by personal I mean "The skiers did not have it in for the hikers". And I suggested that the complainants contact Waterville Valley, rather then simply venting here where it will do nothing to improve the situation.



I'd bet a lot of money that most skiers at Waterville Valley can't name the mountain (Tecumseh) let alone do they realize there may be hikers on some trail that is accessible from the lifts.

Their transgression is ignoring the boundary markers. I'd bet it's not personal, so don't take it that way. Again, I'd send a note to Waterville Valley, perhaps they can add a sign to the top of the hiking trail warning skiers of the additional dangers of skiing down the hiking trail.


I also suggested what "rules" they had already broken -- skiing out of bounds -- which is grounds for revocation of their lift pass. They also were (presumably) skiing out of control, which goes against the skier's code of conduct.

I further suspect that they did not anticipate encountering human obstacles. Recall the OP said "2 took some serious spills". I.e., they did not only not know they were endangering hikers, they did not know they were endangering themselves.

Further discussion has led to the possibility that this was the Sosman WVAIA Nordic trail, which is (apparently) a ski trail. If this is true, then one shouldn't be surprised to see skiers on it (This was grouseking's own post: http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=15723&highlight=wvaia to which I refer.)

Finally, I am a three-sport user of trails. I bicycle (mostly on road, where I really wish I didn't have to share my nicely paved bicycle trail with those pesky SUV commuters tossing butts out the windows) sometimes on trails (like Livermore Road), I hike on trails (like Livermore Road), and I ski on trails (like Livermore Road). Unfortunately, there simply isn't enough space in the world to reserve each trail for a specific user group, and so we must all learn to play nicely together in the sandbox.

How you treat others on the trail will reflect on your user group, rather than on you personally -- rarely are you personally identified. I never flip off cars when they anger me (while road riding) because while they may not take it out on me, they may take it out on the next cyclist they encounter (and by proxy, that may be some poor bastard like me on his way home to his family.)

To be perfectly clear, I do not condone these actions, nor am I defending irresponsible skiers. I am a bit put off by one particular user group's perception that they have privileged use of a public resource, or the perceived implication that one group is irresponsible.

Tim

grouseking
02-06-2007, 09:51 PM
Many have weighed in on what appears to be a very controversial topic. I was under the assumption (assumptions are bad) that since I was on a narrow hiking trail and skiers have a perfectly good ski slope that I wouldn't have to worry about negligent people coming down the trail. If I hadn't been with another person, I might have been badly hurt, because I was fatigued at the time, and wasn't looking up. Another reason not to hike solo in winter i guess...but back to the topic.

To clear up where it happened....just above where there is the viewpoint of the Tripyramids. This was where I saw the first skier. It wasn't up on the Sosman trail...in fact that trail was unbroken. We saw up to 10-12 people ski down the hiking trail, some were being "safer" than others. The first two that came down were the most wild, for two reasons. One was because they completely took us by surprise and made us jump out of the way within a split second notice. Secondly, both of them crashed pretty hard after they hit a nice rock. I might not be a skier, but it appeared they were both out of control. Out of control skiers on hiking trails are not a good thing.

I was was extremely unaware that it was "ok" for a skier to ski down a busy hiking trail. I really liken that to a hiker walking out across a busy skiing trail. No common sense there.

If people want to ski the backcountry, why can't they go somewhere where the risk of hitting a hiker is extremely low, or better yet, nil! No matter how safe you are in letting people know if you're coming down the mountain on skis, its never totally safe because freak accidents can happen.

My whole gripe is that my safety and Matt's safety was put in danger because of people who for whatever reason, whether it be a blast or what not, decided to not ski the ski trail and use the hiking trail. It is one thing to put yourself at risk, but it is another to put others at risk by skiing down the hiking trail.

I think that Moosilauke is a very different story. While the Snapper trail is narrow in parts (I don't think its safe for skiers to take that), the Carriage Rd is plenty wide enough (http://grouseking.phanfare.com/show/external/166696/211684/9743266/file.jpg) for both skiers and hikers alike. Its much wider than the tecumseh trail (http://grouseking.phanfare.com/show/external/204974/267884/12065765/file.jpg). This pic I took was as wide as it got.

Bottom line, I'm calling Waterville Valley to let them know of this extremely serious issue. They'll take it seriously because if someone gets injured badly enough, knowing this country there might be a lawsuit involved. I'm not lumping all skiers into one bad package. On the other hand, I do firmly believe that the hiking trails should be for hikers, and ski trails and glades should be for skiers. They're called hiking trails and ski trails for a reason. Sometimes there is too much of a safety issue to have the "let's all play in the same sandbox" mentality. You can play in the same sandbox, but sometimes it needs to be sectioned off a little for the well being of all.

grouseking

Edit: I started this thread for three reasons...one because I wanted to see others opinions on if it was really worth calling up Waterville Valley, two because I was pretty ticked off. Plus I wanted to hear if others have had the same experience as me.....

David Metsky
02-06-2007, 10:14 PM
All I can say is, if the Mt Tecumseh hiking trail was called the Mt Tecumseh hiking/skiing trail, I guess I wouldn't have had so much of a beef.
I think that, unless otherwise specified, all trails in the Whites are multi-use. You can hike, bike, and ski on most of the trails in the Whites if you like. Most of those are excluded for practical reasons, but people make some odd choices. I've seen skiers and bikers on trails that I wouldn't have chosen, but for the most part people are allowed to make those choices. (Obvious exceptions are Wilderness Areas, Tuckerman Ravine, and designated ski trails.)

I will be calling Waterville Valley, and letting them know, because no matter how much a skier might hate this, one person can ruin it for all.
Are you sure that WV doesn't allow skiers to go Out of Bounds? It's certainly commonplace at Wildcat and Cannon, which both have excellent backcountry terrain close by. I don't think it's against their policies, but I'm not sure about WV.

-dave-

grouseking
02-06-2007, 11:06 PM
I need to clarify something first. I don't have a problem with cross country skiing these trails because in general, it is much easier to see one coming, and usually you are on as flatter trail anyways, which increases the reaction time and decreases the risk.


I think that, unless otherwise specified, all trails in the Whites are multi-use. You can hike, bike, and ski on most of the trails in the Whites if you like. Most of those are excluded for practical reasons, but people make some odd choices. I've seen skiers and bikers on trails that I wouldn't have chosen, but for the most part people are allowed to make those choices. (Obvious exceptions are Wilderness Areas, Tuckerman Ravine, and designated ski trails.)

Are you sure that WV doesn't allow skiers to go Out of Bounds? It's certainly commonplace at Wildcat and Cannon, which both have excellent backcountry terrain close by. I don't think it's against their policies, but I'm not sure about WV.
-dave-

They could be for all, but I have never heard of that before. There are special snowmobile trails, ski trails and hiking trails...and they're on that waterproof map that I love. I thought it was common sense for skiers to avoid hiking trails and for hikers to avoid skiing trails. For example, on Moosilauke, I probably wouldn't take the Carrigage Trail down because I wouldn't want to take any risk of being hit. Same thing with the Al Merril Ski Loop....I wouldn't even think of hiking on that in winter. Summer is a different story.

The fact that an entire "bible" has been made to highlight the hiking trails in the White Mtns led to my assumption that downhill skiers would not use the trails.

I don't have a problem with skiers going Out of bounds....but why on a hiking trail? I feel very strongly that if a ski trail parallels a hiking trail there should be signage stating that the hiking trail is off limits, because of the safety issues. To me it has more to do with safety than anything else, and seeing what can happen first hand really scared me. As everyone preaches on this site and while hiking.....safety first!

grouseking

Mattl
02-06-2007, 11:51 PM
As it is not illegal, it actually becomes a safetly threat when they use that section. Dave Metsky in no way can compare the Tecumseh Trail to the Carriage Road for width..It's not even close to the same thing. The Carriage Road is about 4 times the width. The other thing is that the entire trail isn't a common ski trail like Carriage, instead, there is a small section that is steep and winding that skiers are bombing down and catching people off guard. Its not at all common knowlege like other multi use trails. By the way..if there was another trail going up Tecumseh we would had taken it, besides hiking miles along Tripoli Road. It is the only option people have for hiking it in the winter besides (Tripoli). -Mattl

forestgnome
02-07-2007, 06:02 AM
Going by my AMC map (never been on Tecumseh), I think a few little signs would go a long way toward avoiding problems.

I'd put one at the top of Sosman Trail, warning of hiker traffic. Same thing if there are places on the ski slopes to access the Tecumpseh Trail. I'd also put signs warning hikers of ski traffic at the trailheads.

Food for thought: some hikers have impaired hearing and others hike with headphones listening to music :eek:

Happy Trails :)

Grumpy
02-07-2007, 07:05 AM
... Should we outlaw hiking on skiing trails if we are going to outlaw skiing on hiking trails?

Of course.

I don't advocate this at all. Yet, if we decide it is necessary to do one then it probably is equally necessary to do the other. When children simply cannot exercise sufficient individual self control to play together civilly, then there is little choice but to separate them.

G.

trailbiscuit
02-07-2007, 07:08 AM
Out of bounds policies at ski areas vary widely, but what is universal is their inability to enforce them. Many ski areas allow skiers to ski everything, whether it be a cut trail or not, that is within the boundary of the ski area. The boundary is generally defined by the outermost edge of the outermost trail(s). Anything beyond those boundaries is "closed." Skiers are not allowed to ski beyond those boundaries and risk losing their lift passes if they do so.

Now, that being said, it is impossible for any ski area to post a ski patroller at the "entrance" to every out of bounds access point to enforce the closed policy. Often you will see a sign, a rope, bamboo or a combination of all three. All of which are easily ignored. This sounds exactly what the skiers you encountered did. (Believe me, every ski area has "secret" out of bounds options. The trail up Tecumseh isn't very secret.)

Here's the real issue: I'm certain there are skiers that have the experience and ability to ski the trail you were on. (I've skied things as narrow as hiking trails.) The skiers you encountered did not. But, they could easily access this trail because of the lifts. Basically, they hadn't earned their stripes, so to speak, but still had access. Like I said, this "extreme" out of bounds option isn't very secret, so a couple of yahoos gave it a shot.

At Waterville Valley, the situation is a little different because the hiking trail is right there. But, I sincerely doubt that calling the ski area will get you very far. I'm sure they will apologize. I'm certain they are aware of the problem. But if it's out of bounds, it's not their responsiblity. It's the responsbility of the skiers. They are the ones at fault here. Waterville Valley can't control the actions of all of their guests.

All that being said, I'd be just as upset as you. I'm not defending the skiers in this case. They sound like idiots. But don't expect much satisfaction from Waterville Valley.

Rik
02-07-2007, 07:47 AM
All I can say is, if the Mt Tecumseh hiking trail was called the Mt Tecumseh hiking/skiing trail, I guess I wouldn't have had so much of a beef.

grouseking

Is it really called the Mt Tecumseh hiking trail or is it the Mt Tecumseh trail?

Seems to me the real issue is the skiers being out of control. To me it doesn't make a difference whether the person is skiing, running, glissading, butt sliding,... Out of control is out of contol. Am I missing something?

David Metsky
02-07-2007, 08:54 AM
I regularly ski the Gorge Brook and Snapper trails on Moosilauke. Since I helped build them I'm pretty sure that we had skiing in mind when they were laid out. In summer they are hiking trails and in winter the hikers and skiers share them. Carriage road gets hiker, skier, and snowmobile traffic. I've also skied the Asquam Ridge trail, and I've even seen skiers on Beaver Brook. :eek: All but the Carriage Road are pretty comparable to the Tecumseh trail.

I've also skied the Garfield trail, Zealand, Greeley Ponds, Shoal Pond, Valley Way, Randolph Path, and several other low trails in the northern Presies. I know people who've skied the Tripyramids, Osceolas, Isolation, Lafayette, Cabot, etc. There's at least one guy who has skied all the 4000'ers. The fact is that skiing on hiking trails is a long tradition in the Whites, and for the most part, people have gotten along.

This isn't to say that skiers don't have a responsibility to ski in control, be aware of hikers and skiers on the trails they share, and step out of the way where appropriate. Of course they do. Hikers have similar responsibilities, but it is the skiers who need to control their speed.

However, mandating that all trails are exclusively for hikers seems a very draconian measure. I can only think of one trail in the Whites currently where skiing down is not allowed; Tuckerman Ravine. That is due to the volume of traffic that goes up and down that trail during the spring skiing season in Tucks; plus there is a fine skiing trail built right next to it for that very reason. IMO, the Tecumseh trail doesn't get that much use, nor warrants that much protection.

The problem with that trail is the proximity to the ski area. I think that education, some signage, and a bit of enforcement of reckless skiing (ie, yanking lift tickets) would solve the problem. But it would be a huge mistake (again, IMO) to generalize from this incident to any blanket restrictions for skiing in the Whites.

-dave-

SteveHiker
02-07-2007, 08:57 AM
It is the only option people have for hiking it in the winter besides (Tripoli).

bushwhack?

JohnL
02-07-2007, 09:07 AM
Since you have stated that this is only your second winter 4K, you will no doubt see skiers on other ďhikingĒ trails if you keep up this winter game. They are not always downhill skiers but they are skiers nonetheless. Remember, novices are surprised at a lot of things that more experienced hikers take for granted as common knowledge.

People have been skiing down the ďhikingĒ trail on Tecumseh for years now. This is not the first year nor will it be the last. Iíve seen people hiking up the trail with skis (or snowboards) on their packs. Iíve never had an issue with sharing the trail with skiers. A key to that is to be alert to each otherís presence. Itís just something you have to get used to and be aware of. Iím mentally prepared to meet skiers on this trail every time I go. You need to as well.

As others have said, the issue here is the safety of both the skier and the hiker. Both need to be aware of each otherís possible presence. In this case, neither one was aware of that potentiality. Perhaps your surprise and fear exaggerated your sense of their lack of control. Perhaps their surprise at seeing you on the trail led them to be out of control. Perhaps some of both or some of neither.

Keep your head up, your ears open and your headphones in your pack. And be safe.

JohnL

skiguy
02-07-2007, 09:21 AM
grouseking and Mattl I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I don't think anyone here would argue that these skiers were not out of control and reckless therefore no doubt breaking the skier's responsibility code. I would be interested to hear WV's policy as to out of bounds skiing because as trailbiscuit mentioned that policy varies widely from ski area to ski area; some even advocate it. If WV does not allow it then these guys IMO were breaking another rule of the code.
One of the great things about the Whites is that it is a "Land of Many Uses". Also as a multiuser of the outdoors I am sincerely glad that there is a place where one can do this; although it comes with responsibilities. One of the biggest of those responsibilities is understanding the what, where, when and how your using this Land. When I first started hiking,before I started BC skiing I would not even have believed that I would be able to ski some of the trails I now ski on. This has only occured after many years of experience.
The trail you were on can as you did be accessed from outside the ski area. If some one had accessed that trail from the Trailhead, skinned up, and had skied down it in control, which is entirely possible would they still have upset you?
I think it is important here that not too many generalizations be made when it is possible that one may not entirely understand the whole picture. This thread and board has gone a long way to help others in their acquisition of knowledge. Being Outdoor Users I think we can all agree that the learning never ends.

(edited for typos)

grouseking
02-07-2007, 09:50 AM
You could clearly see where the skiers went out of bounds. When we were checkin' out the view of the Tripyramids you could see a big rope further up the slope. As we climbed, you could see where skiers had cut across thru the woods and onto the trail. So it wasn't like they didn't know what they were doing.

I guess if this is widely accepted, maybe I'll start hiking down the middle of ski trails. Better views that way.... :eek: :cool: :D



Keep your head up, your ears open and your headphones in your pack.
JohnL

I will never, ever listen to music while on a hike. Nature is the song playing and I enjoy listnening to it. I was fatigued when the skier was coming down and Matt was ahead of me so he was able to warn me.

grouseking

BLE
02-07-2007, 11:09 AM
I guess if this is widely accepted, maybe I'll start hiking down the middle of ski trails. Better views that way....

No offense, but you really seem to have a chip on your shoulder. You might be surpised to know that the vast majority of people out there aren't even farmiliar with the concept of winter hiking. Sorry you had a bad experience but, as I recall, someone specifically warned you about the fact that this trail is often used by snowboarders in the previous thread you started prior to taking this hike.

peace

Quietman
02-07-2007, 11:10 AM
Are you sure that WV doesn't allow skiers to go Out of Bounds? It's certainly commonplace at Wildcat and Cannon, which both have excellent backcountry terrain close by. I don't think it's against their policies, but I'm not sure about WV.

-dave-

Interesting insight, while skiing Cannon 2 years ago, the lady at the ticket counter specifically warned us that skiing the old Mitersell(sp) slopes was dangerous and not allowed. But by telling everyone, including many who wouldn't have known about them, she was almost encouraging people to check it out. There was no rope on the trail to the short climb up to the old ski trail, and a ski patroller was one of the 5 that were climbing up. So we followed, said hi to the patroller, and had a blast.

While this dosen't directly relate to the debate, it may give some insight to what WV's response might be.

David Metsky
02-07-2007, 11:24 AM
And in VT, it's pretty much standard. I've gone to well established backcountry runs OOB from Jay, Stowe, MRG, Sugarbush, and others. There's a backcountry gate for Big Jay, but that's the only one I know of in VT. Only a few of these runs coincide with traditional hiking trails, mainly around Stowe. I've also skied several of the hiking trails around Camels Hump. You should definitely expect to encounter skiers up there.

But VT has much more backcountry skiing then NH, Tuckerman Ravine excepted.

-dave-

grouseking
02-07-2007, 12:40 PM
No offense, but you really seem to have a chip on your shoulder. You might be surpised to know that the vast majority of people out there aren't even farmiliar with the concept of winter hiking. Sorry you had a bad experience but, as I recall, someone specifically warned you about the fact that this trail is often used by snowboarders in the previous thread you started prior to taking this hike.

peace


The comment simply highlighted the ignorance that the skiers had that day. I wasn't being serious. I would never hike down the middle of a skiing trail. That being said, how could I not have a chip on my shoulder? I could have been hurt really bad, kind of hard not to. My opinion stands....safety first. I was ready to turn around and bushwhack off the mtn if more skiers came down, because, safety first.

Few can disagree with that motto.

grouseking

Stan
02-07-2007, 12:57 PM
I suspect skiers may have used that trail as much as winter hikers for many years and that the popularity of winter hiking and peakbagging has grown in the past several years. This creates a greater potential for conflict.

It would be smart if WV put up caution signs ... maybe at both ends.

What grouseking describes is reckless and I'd be a bit peeved if it happened to me ... did almost get wiped out by a similarly self engaged bicyclist once on Sawyer Pond Road and had a similar gut reaction. Makes you wonder whether you have to fend off such hazards with the sharp end of a hiking pole directed in the soft end of said soft headed hazard. :eek:

el-bagr
02-07-2007, 01:07 PM
I have skied numerous designated hiking trails in New Hampshire and across this corner of the continent, some on mountains with lift-served access and others quite far from machinery.

I have never personally encountered conflict with other users over this issue, whether I was the skier or I was the hiker.

Not to open the mountain-biking-the-WMNF debate, but as we say for bicyclists, "Share the Road".

David Metsky
02-07-2007, 02:37 PM
My opinion stands....safety first. I was ready to turn around and bushwhack off the mtn if more skiers came down, because, safety first.

Few can disagree with that motto.
I don't think anyone will argue with you about needing to look out for our own safety, and that of others. These skiers were probably not doing that and you have every right to be pissed. I hope no one feels otherwise.

But, many of us have years and years of experience hiking and skiing on the same trails and we've managed to find ways to get along in a safe and fun manner. There will be exceptions from people behaving badly. Some responsibility falls on the skiers to be in control, and on the hikers to be alert for skiers and step aside when they are coming down. On trails with a lot of skier use (such as the Tecumseh Trail) it is even more important to remain alert and behave accordingly.

-dave-

Multi-use is a strength.

Tim Seaver
02-07-2007, 02:55 PM
Some responsibility falls on the skiers to be in control, and on the hikers to be alert for skiers and step aside when they are coming down.

I have to respectfully disagree with that, simply because many times it is simply not possible to "step aside". I will do my best to be alert for the presence of skiers, but when a skier chooses to ski down a narrow trail at high speed with short sight distances that is heavily used by hikers, the responsibility lies soley with the person barreling downhill with long metal edged objects attached to his feet, IMHO. And I think if it ever came to a lawsuit by a hiker who was injured by a skier in this example, I can't see how the hiker would be liable in any way for not being able to "get out of the way" in time for an out of control skier.

bikehikeskifish
02-07-2007, 03:26 PM
If you are curious, the following might cover the legal questions:

225-A:24 Responsibilities of Skiers and Passengers.

(http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-XIX-225-A.htm)

I don't see the text "hike(r)" herein, but it does include snowshoes. It is targeted at ski area operators.

I found this, oddly enough, while checking the conditions at Wildcat... ski conditions that is ;)

Tim

David Metsky
02-07-2007, 03:28 PM
I probably didn't write up what I intended, my apologies.

I agree, no one should ever have to jump out of the way of an out of control skier. That is not part of common courtesy. The skier (or biker, or sledder, or glissader) would be at fault in any case where they are unable to stop themselves in a prudent amount of time or distance. When I ski down trails I am extremely careful about going around blind turns, or where my sight lines are poor. There's no excuse for running someone off the trail.

I was talking about situations where a skier is coming down a trail and there is a more pleasant interaction between them and an uphill traveler. If you see someone coming down the trail, who is in control, and their rate of speed allows you to step off the trail to let them by, then I believe you should. If not, the skier should stop so there is no collision. When hiking or skiing uphill and downhill skier comes by, or going in either direction when a snowmobiler goes past I have found it easy to step aside so the skier or biker or rider doesn't have to kill all their momentum. I usually inform the lead rider how many other skiers/hikers are behind or ahead of me so they have know to be alert for them. We occasionally have pleasant chats as well. There are exceptions to the rule, and they give us all a bad reputation, like these guys on Tecumseh.

There's no excuse for being out of control on a tight trail with no sight lines, no matter what your mode of transportation.

-dave-

Stan
02-07-2007, 03:41 PM
The statute Tim links has this very pertinent section:

III. Each skier or passenger shall conduct himself or herself, within the limits of his or her own ability, maintain control of his or her speed and course at all times both on the ground and in the air, while skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing heed all posted warnings, and refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to the injury of himself, herself, or others.

I've taken the liberty to bold two passages which place some onus, in this case, on the skier and perhaps the operator.

bikehikeskifish
02-07-2007, 04:05 PM
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-XIX.htm also points out the more general TITLE XIX: PUBLIC RECREATION which includes 225-A.

I don't have more then a cursory interest myself, so I haven't read through them. A quick scan still does not reveal the word "hike(r)" and so I'm not sure which law(s) cover the interaction between a skier at a DH area and a hiker on a nearby trail.

I have two NH lawyer acquaintances who are avid cyclists and skiers and if I run into them skiing this weekend, as I do most, I'll ask....


Tim

expat
02-07-2007, 04:15 PM
Most accepted (and in some places posted) rules of a hiking trail are that foot traffic has the right of way over any other conveyance (besides horse), and that the uphill hiker has the right of way.

Tim Seaver
02-07-2007, 04:16 PM
I have two NH lawyer acquaintances who are avid cyclists and skiers and if I run into them skiing this weekend

Metaphorically speaking, I take it? ;)

MadRiver
02-07-2007, 05:12 PM
So bikehikeskifish, if I see you coming or going as I hike the Tripyramids on Saturday, I should expect a kind word or a tip of the hat as you pass? I will be the hiker with the Marine K-Bar in his teeth.

MadRiver
02-07-2007, 05:15 PM
[url] lawyer acquaintances

Someone has been reading A Streetcar Named Desire ;)

bubba
02-07-2007, 06:05 PM
From a hiker/skier - the dudes skiing were rude and not conducting themselves in a proper manner. Okay - I've done the same thing!! I was prbly about 18 years old.. maybe 24 and a few pops in me :eek: These skiers were out looking for a good time, and unfortunately it prbly never occured to them that they would run into (no pun) hikers on a ski trail (guarantee that's how they saw it - a ski trail... or a trail to ski on).

As a Jr. ski racing parent and ski race participant, I hike on many a ski slope. It's not dangerous!! It's great exercise. A club member at our ski club hikes up the hill on his first run to stay in shape (a back-country telemark skier). The uphill skier has the responsibility for his direction and control. They've all missed me so far! :D Many other race parents and I have hiked up ski slopes all over the northeast.

As a back-country skier we've all learned the call "TRACKS!" - a kind way of saying "Get the heck out of my way! I'm coming through." The post can't help but remind me of hiking in the ADK's and sharing ski trails - with as minimal elevation gains as Loj to Avalanche Lake. Even on this, there's places that you can pick up speed. I'll kindly disagree with a previous mention that most x/c skiers have better control -- not usually so. They often don't have the skill, much less the metal edge to make a strong turn.

Out of bounds - it wouldn't be fun if it was inbounds!! (Northeast speaking - another thing out west). And, trust me, with liability issues the way they are, those OOB signs limit the ski area's responsibility.

forestgnome
02-07-2007, 06:22 PM
I probably didn't write up what I intended, my apologies.

I agree, no one should ever have to jump out of the way of an out of control skier. That is not part of common courtesy. The skier (or biker, or sledder, or glissader) would be at fault in any case where they are unable to stop themselves in a prudent amount of time or distance. When I ski down trails I am extremely careful about going around blind turns, or where my sight lines are poor. There's no excuse for running someone off the trail.

I was talking about situations where a skier is coming down a trail and there is a more pleasant interaction between them and an uphill traveler. If you see someone coming down the trail, who is in control, and their rate of speed allows you to step off the trail to let them by, then I believe you should. If not, the skier should stop so there is no collision. When hiking or skiing uphill and downhill skier comes by, or going in either direction when a snowmobiler goes past I have found it easy to step aside so the skier or biker or rider doesn't have to kill all their momentum. I usually inform the lead rider how many other skiers/hikers are behind or ahead of me so they have know to be alert for them. We occasionally have pleasant chats as well. There are exceptions to the rule, and they give us all a bad reputation, like these guys on Tecumseh.

There's no excuse for being out of control on a tight trail with no sight lines, no matter what your mode of transportation.

-dave-

I think Dave really captures the spirit of the White Mountains here, and it's a tried and true way of life. Sometimes experience shapes tastes and opinions and we arrive at new ways of looking at things. Many times I have been shocked to learn of certain goings-on and have formed a negative opinion. This was because others recreate in ways contrary to my own taste, and because I learned that reality was different than my expectations. I now value the status quo of the WMNF, and there is little I would actually change. As an avid trail hiking, bushwacking, snowboarding, photographing, nature-lover, there are infinite opportunities for me despite all the others recreating in the forest in all sorts of modes.

Once I was hiking up the hard-packed East Side Road at Lincoln Woods. There were two distinct tracks for xc skiers on either side, with plenty of room for hikers right up the middle. As one pair of well-heeled skiers passed, my friendly hello was met with a cold silence and blank faces. They thought I didn't belong because their expectation did not match reality. Later, as I approached the bottom of a long hill I heard and saw a skier who was starting to pick up speed as she came down the hill with eyes wide open and a terrified look and called for help. I just turned my back to her and jogged in the same direction and stuck out my arm for her to grab, then slowed the both of us down to a stop. She was thrilled and her husband both thanked me as we talked and joked and so forth. That experience was more in line with the multi-use spirit of the WMNF. I then followed the first set of moose tracks that crossed the path and had the whole mountain side to myself for the rest of the day. :D

happy Trails :)

Amicus
02-07-2007, 08:10 PM
. . . so I'm not sure which law(s) cover the interaction between a skier at a DH area and a hiker on a nearby trail.
I have two NH lawyer acquaintances who are avid cyclists and skiers and if I run into them skiing this weekend, as I do most, I'll ask....

Tim

I'm not an NH lawyer and don't even play one on TV, but Sec. A:24 serves only to limit the liability of the ski area operator to skiers, tubers, snowshoers or tram passengers who get hurt (which is why Wildcat posts it). Sec. A:23, in turn, imposes a few obligations on the operator, including some required postings.

Neither, as I read them, addresses the rights of a colliding skier and hiker against each other. The Ancient Greeks and about every reputable civilization since them have regarded litigiousness as a sign of decadence, so my (non-legal) advice to any would-be plaintiff is to fuggedaboutit.

bikehikeskifish
02-07-2007, 08:11 PM
So bikehikeskifish, if I see you coming or going as I hike the Tripyramids on Saturday, I should expect a kind word or a tip of the hat as you pass? I will be the hiker with the Marine K-Bar in his teeth.

I pretty much smile, nod, or say hi to just about everyone I pass out there on the trails. I will certainly not tell you to get off the trail!

Tim

bikehikeskifish
02-07-2007, 08:12 PM
Metaphorically speaking, I take it? ;)

Ha. If I was skiing, I probably won't be running into them, would I?

Tim

Stan
02-08-2007, 08:33 AM
I have two NH lawyer acquaintances who are avid cyclists and skiers and if I run into them skiing this weekend, as I do most, I'll ask....
If you run into them you'd better hire your own lawyer quick ... then call the medics! :D

dvbl
02-08-2007, 12:22 PM
Grouseking, I think the incident described in the original post is a microcosm of everyday society. You're out doing something you enjoy, not hurting anyone, and, snap, just like that, a couple of jerks can ruin (or at least lessen) your good time. It can be an obnoxious drunk, someone blasting his (probably crappy) music, a less than courteous driver, or in this case two ill-mannered skiers. These people think the world revolves around them, and no amount of parsing of legal documents will change their behavior. Whenever these people have their selfish actions challenged, the response is always something like, "...loosen up man, we're just having fun..." They're too stupid/selfish to know/care that their good time is ruining yours. You have every right to be ticked off, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. But take satisfaction in knowing that you had to be with them for only about 5 seconds, but they have to spend the rest of their lives with themselves. Miserable company, indeed.

Next time something like that happens, say/do something nice to the next stranger you see. It will defuse your anger like you wouldn't believe.

el-bagr
02-08-2007, 12:36 PM
Falling is part of skiing.

If I see you on the trails, I promise to smile as I fall past.

TDawg
02-08-2007, 01:51 PM
I guess if this is widely accepted, maybe I'll start hiking down the middle of ski trails. Better views that way.... :eek: :cool: :D

Expect to get sprayed with snow!! (especially if I see you! ;) :cool: )

grouseking
02-08-2007, 04:40 PM
Expect to get sprayed with snow!! (especially if I see you! ;) :cool: )


I weigh as much as a small moose, and am about as agile as one too....so if you run into me, be prepared for broken bones! :)

grouseking

TomD
02-08-2007, 07:02 PM
"I was curious about who would be held responsible if you had been injured? Could the skiers be held liable for your medical bills if you were injured? "
(Sorry, never have figured out the quote thing)

Not to be taken as legal advice, but fyi, many states have "skier laws" that protect resorts and other skiers from liability based on "assumption of the risk" which includes assuming the risk of the terrain and other skiers who may run into you. Unless the conduct is grossly negligent or beyond the scope of normal activity (drinking and skiing, for example), there usually won't be any liability.

A little research on the net should give you a pretty good picture of the law in your state. I am aware of a number of suits where skiers have run into trees, lift towers, or been hit by other skiers and sued the resort or the other skier and lost on appeal based on assumption of the risk. Some states, like Colorado have skier responsibility laws as well that do impose liability for deliberately reckless conduct. Where the skiers on the trail would fit into this picture would be a factual issue. If the trail was closed to skiers, then I would think that alone could be a determinative factor. If not, then the answer would be more situationally based.

Dr. Dasypodidae
02-09-2007, 12:42 AM
Just a heads up if we should ever get some real snow this winter, be careful hiking up the Kinsman Ridge Trail from the Cannon Tram parking lot, as three years ago the State of NH thinned out lots of trees to open up a sizeable portion across the steep section of the KRT for glades skiing. Three winters ago, when we had more natural snow, there were lots of near collisions between skiers and hikers on this section. And, because the State opened up this area to skiing, I doubt that a skier would be held liable for a collision, unless the skier was found to be reckless, just as on any area ski trail.

I guess that I am ambivalent about who is right or wrong, just as I am reluctant to get run over by a speeding car just to prove a point that I had the right-of-way in a cross walk (in Massachusetts, anyway). Watching for out-of-control skiers is just as important to hikers as watching out for falling rocks, avalanches, or any other hazards in the mountains.

bintrepidhiker
02-09-2007, 08:42 AM
While this incident was unfortunate and all you have to remember that it is winter and a lot of people like to use trails for skiing. They are all purpose trails, not just deligated for hiking. Concidering the cost of a ski pass these days, its much cheaper to hike or skin up these trails and ski down. I myself am starting to get into this type of backcountry skiing for the simple fact its free. Unless someone starts marking these trails as "Hiking Only" or something to that effect, then enforcing this rule, they are free to all to use as they please.
Something else i was thinking about, you should have had plenty of warning someone was coming down the mountain ahead of you. Its not like skiers come down silently with the brushing aside of snow. Just a thought....

Kevin Rooney
02-09-2007, 09:07 AM
I have to respectfully disagree with that, simply because many times it is simply not possible to "step aside". I will do my best to be alert for the presence of skiers, but when a skier chooses to ski down a narrow trail at high speed with short sight distances that is heavily used by hikers, the responsibility lies soley with the person barreling downhill with long metal edged objects attached to his feet, IMHO. And I think if it ever came to a lawsuit by a hiker who was injured by a skier in this example, I can't see how the hiker would be liable in any way for not being able to "get out of the way" in time for an out of control skier.I'm with Tim on this - hikers on a hiking trail should not have to 'step aside' for skiers. There's a reason we have snowmobile trails, ski trails, hiking trails, etc. A multi-use area does not mean that all 3 uses are interchangeable on each trail.

Like Tim, I've have multiple near-misses with skiers on the Monroe trail at Camels Hump, and with snowboarders on the Long Trail on the eastern side of Mansfield. There's a section of the LT that boarders use as a half-pipe, and if you're a hiker on snowshoes there's almost no where to escape - consequently, I never hike that side of the mountain in winter any longer.

JohnL
02-09-2007, 10:25 AM
So you mean that if I am walking on a Ďhikingí trail and a cross country skier comes up behind me and wants to pass or if they come down the trail toward me, Iím not obligated to step aside? Iím supposed to stand there and force them off the trail on general principles? I donít think so.

Personally, yielding the right of way is like a lot of lifeís circumstances; it depends. Iím going to yield to a skier coming downhill all the time unless there is nowhere for me to go in which case Iíll hold up my hands and yell for him to stop. Maybe I might have to brace for a collision but Iíll know heís coming because in winter, particularly on trails where I suspect skiers would be present, I make it a point to keep my head up. Like Kevin, Iíll avoid trails where collisions are more likely. I went up Tecumseh a couple weeks ago but I went when the skiers would not be there. I started real early and got down before the lifts put skiers out onto the mountain. Conflict avoided.

Lots of people ski on the Ďhikingí trails these days and even the hikerís bible, the WMG, states that. Itís just something hikers and skiers have to get used to. The key is to use the trails responsibly and safely no matter what your mode of travel is.

JohnL

Grumpy
02-09-2007, 10:27 AM
Unless someone starts marking these trails as "Hiking Only" or something to that effect, then enforcing this rule, they are free to all to use as they please.

I must respectfully -- but vigorously -- disagree with this statement, especially the "to use as they please" part. Neither skiers nor hikers (nor anyone else) are free to use shared trails strictly as they please.

All are under considerable social, if not legal obligation to be very aware of the impact their own activity has on others and adjust their behavior accordingly. That impact includes the threats their activity may pose to safety, especially the safety of others. All have an obligation to behave responsibly so as to minmize those threats. Common sense dictates that the greater the safety threat your activity poses, the heavier your burden of obligation. Period.

The situation becomes particularly acute on narrow trails (no maneuvering room) with short sight distances and blind spots. Under those conditions it is irresponsible to the point of being reckless or outright negligent to ski, sled, snowboard, glissade or butt-slide downhill in a manner that exceeds one's capacity to literally stop or veer away on a dime in order to avoid a collision with another trail user. No if, ands or buts about it. It is your responsibility alone to always be in control.

Likewise, it is both supremely foolish and irresponsible for a slower moving user to obstinately refuse to give "track" if he sees the other guy bearing down on him and has a safe chance to get out of the way.


... you should have had plenty of warning someone was coming down the mountain ahead of you. Its not like skiers come down silently with the brushing aside of snow.

Sorry, but this is quite wrong, also.

Now, I have no particular sympathy for iPod users who block out the sounds of the world (by replacing them with other noise) as they walk. They are acting somewhat irresponsibly, I think, by impairing one of their senses. On the other hand, I suspect a lot of hikers (and skiers, etc.) are, like myself, naturally hearing impaired to one degree or another. So the noise skiers make -- whether it be the natural sound of their slats on snow or their shouts of warning or exuberant "whoopeeeees" -- is not sufficient to warn and protect me by avoiding collisions with them. At the least, I need good visual clues.

The old rule with visual warnings is this: If you can't make eye contact with the other guy, never assume he sees you and knows you are there.

G.

--M.
02-09-2007, 06:11 PM
Is this not a lot like the hunters-and-hikers issue? Does it not also essentially come down finding responsible ways to have fun in shared space?

It's been pretty hashed out by now and neither Grumpy nor the Metsky camp are in error in their analyses (which also means that their points of view are not incompatible): this is a case of inappropriate skiing behavior in an increasingly crowded area, not a trespassing question (per se). Grumpy, you should (hopefully) feel no further need to defend your position, though you're obviously free to do so. These guys got in a little over their heads in a public area. I'm glad, incidentally, that no one was seriously hurt. Sherpa Kroto's experience, while predictable on a statistical level, was a disturbing event when it hit this particular community.

My two cents....

By the way, I love the eye-catching headline; good drama!

--M.

Tim Seaver
02-09-2007, 07:27 PM
Is this not a lot like the hunters-and-hikers issue?

In the sense that one of the parties has a potentially deadly weapon, and the other is potentially a sitting duck, there certainly are some parallels. ;)

Bobcat
02-09-2007, 08:02 PM
Skiers have the responsibility to avoid the downhill skier. Anyone who has skied at a downhill ski area would have a hard time not knowing these rules.

Skier's Responsibility code:


1. Ski under control and in such a manner so that you can stop at any time or avoid other skiers or objects.
2. When passing or overtaking another skier you must avoid the skier below you.
3. You should not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
4. When entering a trail or starting a descent yield to other skiers.
Check your equipment daily - particulary your release bindings. All skiers must use devices while skiing to help prevent runaway skis. Runaway skis can be lethal whether on the trial of from falling from an aerial list. You have a responsibility to your fellow skiers to prevent injury to them.
5. You shall keep off posted trails and posted areas and observe all posted signs.
6. Follow instructions carefully when using ski lifts.
7. Please observe all posted "slow skiing areas".
8. Do not ski slopes too difficult for your ability.
9. Do not jump or perform "aerial" maneuvers

With that said. Any hiker, hiking up a trail, would be challenged to not hear a skiier coming down the hill with a fair amount of warning. A skiier will not have that same advantage of adavanced notice of an oncoming hiker. Given this, any hiker would be wise to attempt to remove themself from the likely path of an oncoming skier until they esablish eye contact.

sli74
02-09-2007, 08:49 PM
With that said. Any hiker, hiking up a trail, would be challenged to not hear a skiier coming down the hill with a fair amount of warning. A skiier will not have that same advantage of adavanced notice of an oncoming hiker. Given this, any hiker would be wise to attempt to remove themself from the likely path of an oncoming skier until they esablish eye contact.

I have kept silent up till now but I STRONGLY disagree with this above statement. The two times I have almost been collided into by a skier coming down a trail I was hiking up, I didn't hear them . . . actually one of the times I heard some noise uphill but thought it was just another hiker or group of hikers. Both times, it wasn't until they were barrelling down towards me that I saw them and flung myself out of the way.

Also, frequently while hiking I am looking at the trail or my feet, it hurts my neck and causes me to trip and fall to be looking uphill all the time. So, please don't assume that one would have to be "challenged" to not hear a skier . . . what makes skiing noise so obvious from just general people noise (unless they make an effort to identify their descent?

sli74

Bobcat
02-09-2007, 09:06 PM
Skiers have the responsibility to avoid the downhill skier

As I said, ultimately, it is the resposibility of ther skier to avoid anyone downhill;be it a skiier or a hiker. I personally pay very close attention to my surroundings when I hike. Unless it is very windy; it would be hard not to hear a skier cruising down the hill.

skibones
02-12-2007, 06:03 PM
As I said, ultimately, it is the resposibility of ther skier to avoid anyone downhill;be it a skiier or a hiker. I personally pay very close attention to my surroundings when I hike. Unless it is very windy; it would be hard not to hear a skier cruising down the hill.


Unless one is deaf -and I do know some deaf hikers. I think the skier is responsible because he is uphill.

Grouseking- I'm curious if you ever did notify the WV resort. I personally feel that putting a "Hikers Only" sign will attract more skiers to try the trail.

bikehikeskifish
02-12-2007, 06:39 PM
I'll point out that this weekend I was skiing down Livermore Road (skate skiing) in the skate lane and staying right, and came around a slight bend to see a hiker, walking up the skate lane, or possibly on the tracks themselves without snowshoes, with his iPod earbuds in. I said 'hi' and kept going. He stepped outside the tracks when he saw me.

I would never say it was a close one or anything. Not sure if he could hear me or not. It was above the WVAIA trails, where one does not typically encounter foot traffic.

Livermore, being a green trail, often has newbie skiers on it, and they are often 3 or 4 wide and stumbling over themselves, so I am always cautious, even on such a wide open and not-very-steep trail.

On the few spots where the corners are blind, I always yell "TRACK" on the approach, just to warn folks... assuming (a mistake on my part) that they can actually hear me... over Eminem...

Tim


Tim

AMF
02-13-2007, 07:25 AM
bikehikeskifish makes a good point... on nordic gear, the downhill skiier usually has the "right of passage", owing to the generally less maneuverablility. On shared trails, hikers are typically advised not to walk in the track where possible.

Man, this thread has taken on a life of its own!

MadRiver
02-13-2007, 11:55 AM
I had to call the Pemi ranger station for another matter and in passing asked if the Livermore Road & Trail are restricted to hikers in the winter. She assured me that hikers have every right to hike the trail as do skiers. She just added that we should make every attempt to stay off their tracks if at all possible, which Iím positive that any hiker here would do anyway.