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30 Jan 2024
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Whether it’s your first time visiting Mammoth Mountain, or you’re returning after being away for a while, you might be wondering about ski and snowboarding etiquette. What are the official and unofficial rules of the slopes up here? And how can you play your part in keeping everyone safe and in high spirits at high altitude?

Here’s everything you need to know about minding your manners on the mountain (and around town.)

Don’t: Forget to check that your gear is properly secured

Retention devices that keep your snowboard or skis from getting away from you aren’t required or checked. But they are strongly advised! That’s because a run-away piece of gear could seriously injure someone else, and you might be held responsible.

Do: Choose runs that are appropriate for your skill level

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your skills on the mountain by challenging yourself with more difficult runs and attempting new tricks in the terrain parks. But, it’s always a good idea to level up gradually so that you’re not putting yourself and other riders at risk. 

Don’t: Be glued to your phone while waiting for a lift

Waiting for your turn to ride up the lift or gondola is perhaps the most tedious part of the day. But, try not to fall into the bad habit of getting lost in your phone while you wait. This will hold up the line and make getting on the lift dangerous. And, the lift operator will probably be pretty grumpy with you.

Do: Merge safely into new runs

You wouldn’t merge onto a freeway without checking to see that the coast is clear. And, you should be equally aware and alert when entering a run that merges with another. 

Don’t: Be a speed racer

Of course, we all want to fit in as many rides in a day as possible. But, if you find yourself impatiently weaving in and out of slower riders just to get at the front of the lift line, well, sorry to say, but you’re being kinda rude. 

In fact, Mammoth Mountain states in their code of conduct that you should match the speed of the traffic around you. It’s okay to politely overtake riders who are a bit slower than you, but if you’re constantly cutting people off to satisfy your need for speed, you could end up getting called out by ski patrol.

Do: Give other riders space

The ideal amount of space for each rider would be about 15 feet. This is enough room for a rider to fall, change directions, or change speed without the risk of a collision.

On very busy days, it can be difficult to stick with this rule. But, as long as you’re trying your best, you can know that you’re following the rules of etiquette.

Don’t: Stay down in the middle of a run

Falls happen, but you can help keep the runs safe by getting out of the way of traffic as quickly as possible. This either means getting right back up, or if you do need to stay down, ask for help and get yourself to the side of the run.

It’s also important not to stop in places that are not visible from farther uphill, such as around a bend or on the downhill side of a steep drop. If you look uphill and can’t see if riders are coming your way, you’re probably in a bad spot.

Do: Give riders downhill from you the right of way

Downhill riders always have the right of way according to etiquette codes from ski resorts around the world. And the reasoning here is simple: you can see and avoid someone downhill; they can’t see you. 

This is another reason why it’s so important to give other riders space and control your speed. Because if you end up hitting a rider below you, even if they were skiing or snowboarding erratically, you could still be held responsible.

Don’t: Flee the scene after a collision

A hit and run is not a good look in any situation, and a ski resort is no exception. If you happen to collide with someone, stop to make sure they’re okay, help everyone to get safely out of the way of traffic, and contact a Mammoth Mountain employee if someone needs additional help. The assistance hotline is 760.934.0611

Do: Stay calm

We’ve seen many, many examples of road rage on the mountain. And, it’s a quick way to escalate a situation and ruin the day for everyone. As much as you can, try to keep in mind that everyone is doing their best, and people make mistakes. 

Everyone can get back to doing what they love the sooner they recover from a collision or difference of opinion with another rider. So, once you’ve cleared that everyone is physically safe and sound, shake it off, and get back to riding!

Don’t: Forget that etiquette violation could have real consequences

Even though we’ve been talking about etiquette and politeness in this article, the truth is, Mammoth Mountain has the right to rescind ski and snowboard passes for behavior that is rude, malicious, or dangerous to other riders. Anyone who is under the influence of substances can also be asked to leave the ski area. This is the best way to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable, safe experience every time they come up to Mammoth.

Do: Bring your best attitude (on and off the mountain)

At the end of the day, we’re all here to have fun and enjoy being out in nature with fellow snow-lovers. So, no matter if you’re in line for the gondola, enjoying an end-of-the-day beer at Canyon, or exploring the town of Mammoth Lakes, don’t forget how beautiful, unique, and fun this area can be when you’re in the right mindset. 

Ready to experience Mammoth for yourself?

Book your ultimate ski and snowboard condo within walking distance to the lifts! Mammoth Mountain Reservations has the perfect short-term rentals for your family or group of friends for your next trip to the mountains!