By Alicia Dziak

January was National Safety Month, but safety rules and basic etiquette should be season-long priorities when heading to the slopes. When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, there are days the resorts can be busy, and there are days you feel you have the whole place to yourself. While crowd size is a factor, there are important rules to remember every time you’re there.


Do: Be quick. Grab your gear, set it on the racks, get back into your car and drive away.

Don’t: Take your sweet time. Especially on busy days, when there is a line of cars behind you, you should not be doing things like getting all your gear on curbside or grabbing your lift tickets while your vehicle is sitting in the prime parking spot. The 5 minute limit is there for a reason. Be courteous of all the other people hoping to get out onto the slopes too.


Do: Bring a meal from home to enjoy. According to Holiday Valley’s marketing director, Jane Eshbaugh, the “designated” picnic lodge is Tannenbaum, where you can picnic on both floors. “When we built that Lodge, we put in extra plugs for Crockpots,” she said. The main Holiday Valley Lodge allows picnicking on the top floor, Yodeler allows it on the ground floor, with two rooms that feature counter areas and plugs.

Don’t: Leave your cooler and every component of your meal on a table for the duration of your stay. Keep it on the table when in use, and off when not in use. Pick up your trash so someone else doesn’t have to do it. Eshbaugh also noted that guests should “be conscious of the people who buy food in the cafeterias and need a place to sit so putting your picnic basket on the floor or in a cubby is just the polite thing to do!”

Do: Get comfy when getting your gear on or off. Take some time to catch up with your group or enjoy a hot chocolate.

Don’t: Store your gear and bags on the chairs and tables. These are here for everyone to enjoy, and are not reserveable for the day (think towels sitting on lounge chairs when you’re on vacation—the towel has been saving that perfect chair all day, yet the person who owns the towel has yet to be seen). When not using the tables and chairs, put your gear in or on top of the cubbies, or along the outside wall and out of the way.


Do: Be courteous to others by taking your turn in line. On busy days, staff members will help everyone navigate the lines, but on less busy days, you will have to figure it out yourself. There can be several lines merging into one, so alternate between lines and get to the front in an orderly fashion. Do your best to line up in the order you arrived at the lift line. No one likes a budger!

Fill the chair on busy days. The more people who share a chair, the faster the line goes, and who knows—you might make a new friend! If you are skiing solo, head to the singles line (usually the narrowest line on the outside edge of the main line) and hop on with a group of three.

Don’t: Purposely go out of turn or merge in front of another group at a point that’s not the back of the line. The end of the yellow line markers is not the place to hang out until your group arrives, and then push your way into the middle of the line.

On the slopes

Do: Know the code (pictured above) and be in control. “I think the most important rule from the Responsibility Code is to always be in control so you can stop or avoid objects or other people,” Eshbaugh said. “Everyone is responsible for their own actions.”

Be aware of your surroundings and adjust your behavior accordingly. Yes, that means please no scream-swearing with your buddies when there are little kids around!

Don’t: Be rude or unsafe.

Becoming familiar with basic safety rules and etiquette will make the skiing/snowboarding experience a positive one for you and everyone around you!