Last year I spent some time with mountain safety, and it really opened my eyes to a lot of the problems occurring on the slow trails. This year I have been noticing even more careless incidents, and some people need to be made more aware of what they are doing. It is not that these people have bad intentions; these things can be easy to do. I can relate to a lot of these skiers and riders, having made a few mistakes with my skiing in the past. I am not trying to vilify any of these skiers, but simply trying to educate them.
A problem many skiers and snowboarders have is knowing when to back off their speed coming into the slow zones at Whistler Blackcomb. Less than 10 per cent of all the terrain here is considered a slow zone or green run. Green runs are for beginners and itís not fair to have others whipping by them at high rates of speed. The rule of thumb when youíre in slow zones is to go the same speed as everyone else even if youíre on the side of the run. Try to remember when you first started riding how difficult it was. Beginners get scared when you go by them too quickly.
We as locals do not spend our days riding the slow area trails. Weíre more experienced so we can ride one hundred per cent of our mountains. The tourists are the ones that play on green runs and they pay our wages. It is really not that bad of a deal, give the beginners their bit of space and the rest of us can have the huge amount of the remaining terrain to ride.
With a bit of knowledge of the mountain itís often not hard to avoid these runs all together. On all of the other runs you can go fast, jump off cliffs, and ski however you like without anyone minding. There are some times when you do have to ski on the slow trails, but chances are that you wouldn't be on them for all that long, so just take it easy for that little bit of time. Maybe help a tourist with a pointer or two; the tourists will be thankful and you might make new friends.
Nik Van Scoyk