Every resort has their own specific rules and it’s your responsibility to learn them before riding their mountain. But there are some basic rules of snowboarding that are common to all or most resorts.
The following are likely to be the case whether or not there are signs that spell it out.
All of these rules also apply to skiers too.
The following are included here. If you have any others that you can think of that I have missed please let me know in the comments section at the end of the post and I will add them in.
- Passing Etiquette
- Responsibility for you
- Responsibility for others
- Stopping Safely
- Stopping Rules
- Respect the boundaries
- Snowboard leash?
- Terrain Park Rules
It is the responsibility of the person trying to pass to get past safely.
If you are higher up the slope and going faster than the person below then it is up to you to get past them safely. If this means having to slow down to wait for a better place to pass then so be it.
It is not up to them to get out of your way. You have them in your sights the whole time – they can’t see you.
If you’re the person lower down the mountain you also have responsibilities (see stopping rules below)
Responsibility for You
When you go snowboarding you should understand the inherent risks of the activity. It is up to you to ride within your own limits and take necessary precautions.
You should only rely on yourself to make your riding experience as safe as possible. Yes resorts will try to make things as safe as possible because they obviously don’t want any injuries in their resorts – but that’s them protecting their own interests. You need to protect your interest yourself.
Responsibility for others
Even more importantly you need to take responsibility for the safety of others.
For example, if you blindly go over a jump without making sure the landing space is clear then you aren’t taking responsibility for the safety of others.
If you ride beyond your limits – for example ride too fast for your ability and can’t stop yourself or slow yourself down and could potentially take someone else out, then you aren’t taking responsibility for others.
Make sure you are comfortable stopping before you start to ride too fast. If you are learning of course you are going to fall and get a bit out of control at times – but don’t recklessly ride at speed if you don’t have the ability to stop yourself or to maneuver around obstacles.
If you are riding slowly, within your capabilities you can always do a crash stop (purposefully take a tumble) to avoid danger. But if you are going too fast and try a crash stop you’ll have too much momentum and likely won’t stop in time.
You might be stopping part way down a slope to wait for a friend, to have a rest or maybe to adjust some gear. But when you stop there are a couple of simple things to think about first.
- Make sure you don’t stop suddenly right in front of others. Before you stop make sure there is no one right behind you. If there is move off to the side before stopping or wait until they have passed you.
- Don’t stop around a blind corner or on the other side of a jump or lip – or anywhere where other riders or skiers can’t see you clearly from a good distance away. In other words, stop where you can be seen.
- Only stop where you won’t be in the way of others.
- When you start again from a stop give way to riders already moving. It is your responsibility to merge back onto the slope without disturbing anyone else – and yes that goes for riders and skiers! 🙂
Respect the Signs
If there is a sign that says “do not enter” it is probably there for a good reason so listen to it.
If there is a sign that says “slow area” or the likes – obey it – these are generally in areas where beginners are riding or skiing and hurtling through there at 100 miles an hour might make you feel cool but everyone else just thinks you’re a dick!
There are plenty of places on the mountain that you can fulfill your need for speed.
This goes for any other sign. The signs are generally there for a reason and even if there’s not a good reason that you can think of, there may be other factors that you aren’t aware of.
Respect the Boundaries
Resorts designate boundaries for a reason.
Going outside those boundaries might lead you into dangerous terrain or lead down a path where you can’t return to the lifts or the resort base.
A lot of resorts have designated backcountry (off piste) areas. Only use these areas if you are an experienced backcountry rider or if you are with a guide – and follow the specific backcountry guidelines of that resort.
Very few resorts have a rule requiring a snowboard leash and even fewer of those that do actually enforce it. In my experience I’ve never seen it.
I’ve never used a leash and don’t feel that it’s necessary.
However, you should still be aware that if you’re not strapped into your board or if you’re not holding onto it, it can be very dangerous if it runs free on the slopes.
If you are the type of person who can be absent minded and let go of your board before you are strapped in then maybe it’s a good idea – but for most this isn’t necessary. But remember that you are responsible for the safety of others and this is part of it.
Terrain Park Rules
Every resort will have their own terrain park rules but the following are common to most. And they all make sense when you think about it.
As always you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.
- Know your limits and work your way up slowly. Only try tricks, jumps, obstacles etc that you are ready to try
- Make a plan: Park features are always changing due to snow conditions, useage, grooming and time of day. Don’t assume the park will be the same as it was the day before. Do a run through of the park without doing it full speed and even just ride past the features and look at them to get to know the park for that day. Once you know your obstacles make a plan as to which ones you are going to hit before you start your run.
- Inverted Aerials: Some resorts don’t allow these so check with your resort’s inverted aerial policy.
- Look before you leap: Try to determine that landing zones are clear before you ride jumps.
- Watch where you are: Never stop directly after a jump or obstacle – never stop in any landing zone
Watch this video for more details on park safety
Thanks for Reading
So there are some of the basic rules of snowboarding. Remember to read the specific rules of your resort. If you can think of any other rules that I have missed that you think are important please leave a comment in the comments section below and I will add it in.
Remember also to have the right safety equipment. Check out the link below to find out what safety gear you might need.
Photo by Ruth Hartnup [CC BY 2.0], via Flikr
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