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Sharing your land with skiers

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Snow throughout winter seems to be becoming more rare these days, so those who love outdoor recreation in the white stuff need to get out there while the getting is good. Many snowmobilers enjoy the pastime of riding ready-made trails, but there are other who like to explore – the cross-country skiers and the snowshoers.

If you own a sizeable chunk of land, or you abut a state park or even a ski resort, there’s a possibility the snow bunnies will want to take advantage of any fun features or pretty scenery on your land. The first thing you can do to protect yourself is to put up “No Trespassing” signs with your name and number clearly visible. If they’re serious about being responsible visitors, they will get in touch with you rather than just tramping through.

The National Ski Areas Association established “Your Responsibility Code” in 1962 as a code of ethics for all skiers. Today, the code reflects not only skier safety, but snowboarder and lift safety as well.

Safe skiing and snowboarding on the mountain is each person’s responsibility. Following “Your Responsibility Code” will help all skiers and snowboarders have a safer mountain experience.

Skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed in many ways. Always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Skiers should observe the code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

  1. Always stay in control. You must be able to stop or avoid people or objects.
  2. People ahead or downhill of you have the right-of-way. You must avoid them.
  3. Stop only where you are visible from above and do not restrict traffic.
  4. Look uphill and avoid others before starting downhill or entering a trail.
  5. You must prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Read and obey all signs, warnings and hazard markings.
  7. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  8. You must know how and be able to load, ride and unload lifts safely. If you need assistance, ask the lift attendant.
  9. Do not use lifts or terrain when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  10. If you are involved in a collision or incident, share your contact information with each other and a ski area employee.

As a landowner, however, if you’re feeling especially generous, you can provide a place for people to park. Consider placing a donation box nearby – if they’re anything like me, they’ll leave a little something-something to thank you for sharing your property. And don’t be afraid to make your rules clear too. Everyone is exploring at their own risk – so that you’re not risking your neck should something happen.

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