On a recent cross-country skiing outing with my family and our dog, our dog was attacked. Seriously. I know that sounds dramatic, but what else can you call it when larger dog corners a smaller dog and takes a chunk out of the smaller dog’s side? An attack, yes?
Three inches of sutures later, our dog was fine. We never got the name of the woman skiing with the larger dog. We were too stunned when the attack happened to say a word. We were literally dumbfounded. She smiled ruefully, pulled her dog in (yes, it was on a leash!) and started down the trail. Not a word of apology. Not a moment of concern. Needless to say, this got me thinking about cross-country skiing etiquette.
If you’re an alpine skier, you probably know The Code, or at least have been exposed to the basics of downhill skiing safety and etiquette. But what about cross-country skiing etiquette? Is there a Code? Outside of competition, are there any rules?
Looking online, I found an excellent, comprehensive, example of a Cross-Country Skiers’ Responsibility code. Here it is, straight from the Pennsylvania Cross Country Skiers’ Association (PACCSA) website.
The following list of “rules” has been collected from numerous cross-country venues….they are listed here as a reminder to all cross-country skiers.
1. Always check posted trail conditions and obey all signs and posted warnings.
2. Pets on groomed trails (Check with area you are skiing to see if they are allowed). They can ruin tracks and be a hazard to other skiers.
3. Always maintain control of your speed and direction. Ski in such a manner that you can stop or avoid other skiers or hazards.
4. Ski within your abilities and time allowances.
5. Don’t block intersections and avoid stopping in the middle of hills. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible to others. Move off the trail quickly if you fall or during rest stops and equipment adjustments.. If you fall, fill in sitzmarks.
6. Move to the right to yield the track to a faster skier or to a skier coming downhill. On two-way trails, faster skiers and descending skiers have the right-of-way. To pass another skier, call “Track”.
7. Always ski to the right when meeting on-coming skiers and when skiing on double track.
8. Don’t walk in the set tracks or on the groomed trail. Keep to the side of the trail.
9. Don’t litter – take out what you bring in.
10. Pay trail fees when applicable.
In case of an accident: place a pair of crossed skis in an “X” position close to the injured skier. Do not attempt to move them but ensure they’re warm.
Look around for trail markers, intersections or any distinguishing landmarks to aid in pin-pointing your location. If a cell phone is available, call for help and/or enlist the aid of a fellow skier. If skiing alone, ensure that others know your whereabouts.
Good stuff, eh? There are a few things I never knew: such as who has the right-of-way and which way to move out of the way. And the only thing I would add? If you’ve a mean dog, please leave it home.
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