• Fusaki Iida

Skiers and Snowboarders Collisions: Cause and Avoidance

Updated: 4 days ago

Unfortunately, there are still collisions between skiers and snowboarders on to this day. Collision, Injuries and in the worst case, fatal accident of ones safety.

Skiing and snowboarding that you were looking forward to can be a tragic experience in a moment of an accident. Perhaps those who heard or seen from these kinds of stories were truly scared . There are a lot of people who had experiences in this situations.

Every time I hear about such an accident, I feel very sorry.

And I would like to make a guideline and safety precautions so that no such a thing will occur, especially to you, who's reading this.

Cause 1: Snowboarders tends to go blind on heel side

One of the biggest causes is probably the "heel side blinds'.

Many beginners and even intermediates may be blind on the heel side turn.

See the picture above. The Snowboarder facing the red looking downwards, neck and eyesight not in front are some of the causes of collisions/accidents. One should be aware of the surroundings around them. I always teach my students to face forward(green arrow), neck like an owl, shoulders a line with the board and always check behind your shoulders for other skiers and snowboarders.

Let's Share the mountain together.

Cause 2: Skiers narrow their field of view with accelerated speed

It can be said for both skiers and snowboarders that the higher the speed the faster they go, the narrower the field of view will be. Especially for skiers, the faster they go it is more difficult to check their blind spot.

Skiing these days is easy to speed up, and skiers may not be able to look around.

You can see that by watching the video below.

"Snowboarder's blind spot" + "Skier's acceleration" = Cause of collision

Collision accidents tend to occur due to the overlapping of the blindness of snowboarders and on their heel side and the narrow field view of an accelerating skier.

Those who wants to cut through or to pass through should be aware for other people on the mountain. Choose to make a decision for safety first and don't feel bad to go slow. However, there are skiers who are willing to pass from behind the snowboarders without any heads-up!! I recommend to give a HEADS-UP notice. If you want to make a tight cut or if you want to pass through someone in front, do not hesitate to SHOUT, YELL, SCREAM. Let them know and others to prevent from crashing.

Basically, those who pass from behind need to be careful. However, snowboarders should also be careful backwards when sliding on the heel side. Look back to see if anyone is coming from behind. Try using little neck turns from left to right to check surroundings

Please see the video below, 1:19. This is a bad case for skiers, but it's a classic example of what I've explained so far.

Dangerous places where collisions are likely to occur

Where are collisions likely to occur? I will tell you based on my experience.

Near the lift platform

A place where a lot of people gather is likely dangerous. You should always feel like giving out a 360-degree look.

Flat & Narrow Runs(Cat trucks)

Many beginner or even intermediate snowboarders are not good on flat and narrow runs which are called Cat trucks. Collisions occur frequently in such places. If you have a regular stance, keep riding on the left side as much as possible to ensure visibility. If you have a goofy stance(opposite stance), you should keep riding on the right side as much as possible.

A place where you can easily speed up

In the two examples introduced so far, it is unlikely to be a catastrophe because of an accident between relatively low speeds. However, in places where it is easy to speed up, a heavier collision can occur.

For example, a place that changes from a medium / steep slope to a gentle flat slope.

Here, the steepness is easy for a person to speed up, so the field of vision is easily narrowed which is difficult to check surroundings and collision may occur. However there are beginners who can't handle such speed and skiers/snowboarders enjoying the slowly mellow ride of the mountain.

It may seem surprising, but advanced courses such as ultra-steep slopes are safer in terms of collisions. This is because the skiers and snowboarders are more in control using gravity and its speed and on such slopes it is easier to prioritize adjustment over speed.

Things to watch out for to avoid collisions

Finally, I would like to tell you what you need to be careful about to avoid a collision.

Collision between regular stance and goofy stance

If a regular and a goofy stance snowboarders ride along together, they tend to be blind on each heel's turn, so be careful!!

This collision is also very common. I often do this too.

360 degree field of view

In a crowded places look around before you start riding.

Make sure that there are no skiers who are speeding up behind you.

A 360 degree check wouldn't.

Avoid and be careful of rush hours

Consider rush hour in your schedule, especially at ski resorts that are crowded on weekends.

Be aware of the lifts closing hours. These are the hours where the mountain gets busy. In my experience, more people go up to the mountain before noon than in the morning hours, and are busier at closing time because people go down the hill almost at the same timing.

So before shredding down the hill always take a good look around and try to ensure your safety.

If possible, we need to avoid busy days and times, but sometimes we have to snowboard through crowded areas. In such a case, please be careful.

As I say many times, please don't speed up in crowded places. Look around often.

It's a good idea to snowboard in the morning, aiming for a relatively more free time.

"One second of quick decision making could be another one's problem,

but a second of awareness and selflessness is a lifetime for solutions and answers"

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