Every skier and snowboarder should know the rule by now. “THE DOWNHILL SKIER HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY”. If you’ve been on the mountain for years, that’s probably been drilled into your head time and time again. If you’re new to the sport, hopefully you’ve read the responsibility code and understand the key points. But are there exceptions to this rule? And if there are, when do they come into play?
Surfer, snowboarder, skater, and YouTuber Casey Willax posted a two part video to his Instagram explaining when and why this rule falls apart. The video was in response to a clip of a snowboarder riding into a jump’s landing zone, right as a skier is hitting the jump.
I think this is a good time to bring up the Park Smart rules, in case some readers don’t know what they are:
- Start Small
- Make A Plan
- Always look before you drop
- Respect the features and those on them
- Take it easy
This clip seems to fall into the “respect” section of the Park Smart rules. The snowboarder failed to understand that the knuckle is not just a part of the slope, but an actual landing zone that’s not to be messed with. Cutting into a landing zone in a terrain park is incredibly dangerous.
Even if you’re anti-terrain park, you have to respect and understand that terrain parks are different from the rest of the mountain. Don’t try to ski or snowboard through them like they’re just another trail, they aren’t. Legitimate athletes are often training for legitimate competitions or events in this areas, and failing to respect or understand that can lead to serious injury for both you and the park riders. Understand that the rules are different.
I don’t know how this would play out legally. I’m sure it would all depend on who’s the judge, jury, and lawyer. But right now, in park etiquette, it’s not okay to ride in the landing zone of a jump. And frankly the law won’t fix the possible injuries.
The downhill skier has the right of way, absolutely. If you can’t stop in time when someone cuts you off, that’s on you. But even outside of the park, everyone has a responsibility to be aware for their own safety. Just because you have the legal right of way doesn’t mean you’re not an a#*hole.
I don’t know, what do you think?
Image Credit: Casey Willax via Instagram