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People Ahead Have the Right of Way

Categories: Safety Guest Connection Meadows Cares

Responsibility Code # 2 


It is every skier and rider's individual responsibility to know that the right-of-way on the slopes belongs to the rider ahead of them. When approaching others, it is the uphill rider's duty to avoid those ahead of them at all times. 

Mt Hood Meadows has many groomed and designated trails while the rest of our 2000 acres exist as natural and unmaintained "off-piste" terrain. When traveling on groomed trails, the corduroy of the grooming can be easily followed. The trail direction is often obvious. Those ahead of us are easily identified because of our shared direction of travel. Groomed trail users must only keep their eyes open to know to whom they must yield. 

In off-piste terrain, direction of travel is much more varied. Mt Hood is a dormant volcano with typical terrain consisting of moraines and canyons. The off-piste slopes we ride often change pitch and aspect as they wander over these ridges and gullies, and around trees, rocks, creeks and cliffs. Off-piste riders should have an acute awareness of their surroundings. They need to identify others coming from different directions and anticipate who will end up ahead of them. Regardless of one's direction of travel through off-piste terrain, be aware and always yield to those ahead of you. 

So what exactly does "yield" mean? To “yield” could mean stopping and waiting for others to ride through an area first. It could mean altering our intended direction to bypass the area entirely. It is a decision as much as an action. Once we know who we should avoid, we need to be in control in order to physically avoid them. Responsibility Code # 1 asks us to have the capability to do what # 2 teaches us we should do. 

Traditionally riders have called out verbal warnings to persons they are actively passing. These calls are often appreciated. However, please do not assume such calls of "on your left!" or "on your right!" are heard and understood. Giving such warnings does not change ultimate responsibility for avoiding others. 

Oregon Law explicitly states that "skiers shall not overtake any other skier except in such a manner as to avoid contact." Hood River County Ordinance states that "all skiers have a duty to … refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to the injury of others." 

Be prepared to be engaged by Mountain Safety Hosts, Patrollers and other on-mountain staff if they witness collisions or near collisions. The goal of the Host or Patrol interaction is to raise awareness of who has the right of way on the slopes. Those guests that are resistant to this on-snow safety education or who demonstrate a history of not yielding right of way may be removed from the slopes for the safety of others. 

Please, be aware of your surroundings and always yield right-of-way to those ahead of you.