Skiing vacation: Piste Communication Protocol


I've created this list of best-practices to take the frustration away that comes with losing one another while skiing (or snowboarding) with multiple people. I'm assuming you want to optimise for staying together as much as possible.

Before you go up the mountain

When skiing together

When you've lost somebody

Stating your Position

The biggest problem when you've lost each other in a skiing area, is that communication is difficult due to ambiguous language and read/write timing, it's effectively asynchronous communication. This may sound a bit extreme, but there are many ways of interpreting a message like this:

Where are you? I don't see you here.

This is not stating your position, the only information that's actually in this message is "I've lost you". The word "here" could mean anything.

How about this:

I've just taken black 13 and it splits up into red 13 and red 12, which do I take? Where are you now?

Imaging the other person's cellular connection dropped for 10 minutes (due to moutains being in the way), and they read this 15 minutes later (due to people skiing and not looking at their phone literally every minute). Now after 5-10 minutes of no response, the person just makes a decision because they're tired of waiting for a response, with you both potentionally ending up even further away from each other.

Or this:

I've lost you, I'm taking red 6 and I'll wait for you.

While this sound clear, it's not if there's multiple decision-points (literal forks in the road) on that red piste number 6 which lead to different places. This is quite common in skiing areas.

So when stating your position, it really has to be unambiguous, and you have to build-in extra information about your direction, intentions and assume some connection issues. Here's a few rules to make communication easier. When stating your position: