Cross Country Skiers' Code of Responsibility
1. Always check posted trail conditions and obey all signs and posted warnings – This is common sense aimed at keeping you safe. If a trail is designated as being one-way, please only ski in the proper direction. Otherwise you risk a collision with another skier or a dangerous 90 degree turn at the bottom of a gnarly downhill.
2. Always maintain control of your speed and direction – Yes, this can be difficult to do if you’re a beginner. However, once you’re sharing trails with other skiers, please make sure you ski in a manner that permits you to stop or avoid other skiers and hazards.
3. Ski within your abilities and time allowances – If it’s getting dark and it takes you an hour to ski 5k, it’s probably not a good idea to do that 10k loop without a headlamp. Otherwise, you’ll likely get lost in the dark and become a ski patrol rescue statistic!
4. Pets must be under control and are USUALLY not permitted on groomed trails – We all love dogs! They’re cute, cuddly and full of energy. They also have a mind of their own. Don’t let them chase people, jump out in front of other skiers, or enthusiastically knock over old folks and toddlers. In Pennsylvania, dogs on public lands must be leashed. Also, check to make sure your ski area allows dogs on groomed trails. Most don’t because paws can poke holes that damage the trails, ruin classical tracks and increase the rate of snow thaw. Finally, PLEASE don’t leave brown klister (doggie poop) behind!
5. Do not walk or snowshoe on groomed trails – Maintaining and grooming ski trails is hard work, and in many places, the groomers are volunteers doing their best to keep the trails nice. If you’re forced to walk on the trail (say you broke a ski), stay out of groomed classic tracks and walk as far to the side of the trail as possible. Also, if you’re skating, do your best to avoid skiing over the classic tracks.
6. Always yield to faster skiers and skiers going downhill – Downhill skiers on two-way trails always have the right of way. That’s because they aren’t able to stop on a dime. While going uphill, do your best to keep as far to the right as possible. Also, the universal signal for overtaking another skier is to firmly yell “TRACK.” Please don’t think the faster skier is being rude. If you hear “TRACK,” simply pull to the far right of the trail or yield the tracks to the faster skier.
7. Don’t block the trail, avoid stopping on hills, and fill in “sitz” marks – Never stop where you’re obstructing the trail or are not visible to others. If you need a rest, keep to the side of the trail. There’s nothing worse than a group of skiers socializing obliviously while blocking the trail. Also, if you fall and make a mess of the trail, do your best to fill in your “sitz” marks.
8. Always ski to the right on two-way trails when meeting on-coming skiers – This one is self-explanatory and no different than driving a car on a road.
9. Don’t litter – Always pack out what you bring in. And if you see that someone accidentally dropped their energy bar wrapper on the trail, be a good citizen. Pick it up and dispose of it at the warming hut.
10. Always pay trail fees when applicable – Few owners of cross-country skiing centers got into the business to strike it rich. In many cases, the trail fee barely covers the costs associated with grooming the trails. Do the right thing and pay the trail fee.
11. Accidents and injuries – place a pair of skis in an “X” position near the fallen skier to make them more visible to rescuers and other skiers. Do not attempt to move them, but do whatever you can to keep them warm. Make note of nearby landmarks to aid in pin-pointing the injured skier’s location. Call for help if possible or enlist the aid of a fellow skier to get help. If you’re skiing alone, make sure others know your whereabouts and plans before hitting the trail.