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The Danger Zone

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

For the past 5 years I have been monitoring ski industry sites in regards to skiing accidents. Clearly there is arise in "incidents".

 

I wanted to identify a pattern. A cause for this rise.

 

Seems there is three causes.

 

Cause 1  "The Silly" Cause

 

Can"t find exact, comprehensive  word for this cause, yet you all know the context. Here is a typical context of an "accident" in this category which just happened last week. British skier falls , coming back to inn  at 3 AM, slips down a path, into a steep stream bed.

 

At major American ski resort college student walks up a small rock cliff in order to video tape his "flight" down in order to place on You Tube. Camera made it. Skier did not.

I will not focus on this type of cause since solution is evident.

 

Cause 2  The Ignorance Cause

 

This cause is often related on the beginner/intermediate skier  who "did not know";

-the rules of ski flow

-the DIN value needed

-the varied quality of snow during Spring skiing

-why warning ski signs indicate a skull, etc,,,

-how to fall well

-how to ski "mushy" snow, cement snow, etc,,,

 

Cause 3  " The Danger Zone"

 

This is the cause I want to discuss. This is the zone that is causing a rise in "accidents", deaths and it can be lowered if the ski industry just did some proactive "education" .

 

I was just involved in such an "incident" and have witnessed such incidents.

Let me set the stage with an analogy we all can refer to, driving in a freeway with all sorts of cars and drivers.

As we drive we make decisions on where to be, how fast we move and how quickly we make these moves on the road.

We have a choice to lower our danger zone or narrow this danger zone. That is,,, a narrow danger zone does not allow for much room for "the safety net". The escape hatch.  A way out.

 

So it is with skiing. As you ski you make choices where to go, how to go there in reference to context. Problem is many skiers are not aware of that  "varied danger zone" so they will ski close to tree wells, jump off side boulders unto ski runs, ski close close together as a group, stop in the middle of a steep run, not respect the 3 meter rule.

 

That last item nearly cost me my skiing life. There are rules of skiing conduct. Some are well known and printed on posters and some "passed along".

 

One of mine is "give the front skier at least 3 meters either way". Never but never pass him/her less that that 3 meters.

 

Met a expert level skier and skied with him for first time. I sensed he want to "prove himself" so I let him go ahead 4-5 times as I watched his excellent flowing technique. My danger zone was very wide since I followed him well past the 5 meters mark.

 

Then , without thinking I took the lead on one hard steep run going fast varying my turns from GS type to SL type. At the apex of my speed he decides to pass me as I switch from 5 fast SL turns to one long GS turn.

 

He hits me. He falls. I remain still on my skis since I "sensed" his move just in time.

 

Yes he was wearing a helmet,,,,but the first level of protect is what happens between the ears. He was not aware of the varied danger zone. His ID was more powerful, more demanding that is super-ego ( look up ID and you will understand).

 

Seems more skiers must be made aware of this varied danger zone.

 

Always ask yourself, "what if,,,,,,,,"

 

Hope some of you great skiers think constantly of this varied danger zone while you drive and ski.

 

He never knew that if I had fallen I would be in a wheelchair for me.

 

Think of this danger zone.

post #2 of 21

Is there a point?
 

post #3 of 21

I think you're over thinking this.  

post #4 of 21

Wow, that hurt me head just reading it. Then again I love to tail gate so I can see what the kids in the back seat are watching  in the car in front of me. 

post #5 of 21

I have a sorta 3-m rule, only it is not limited to 3 m.  It is never pass close enough so that the skier ahead can intercept you NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES. 

post #6 of 21

What's a meter with you? Dumb expert skiers.... popcorn.gif

post #7 of 21
Good post, torlauf. The long context-setting was amusing, and your ultimate point well taken. Ignore the people who think posts of more than three short sentences are suspect by nature; they probably think downhill is always better than slalom because slalom "has too many turns."
post #8 of 21

Good post. Darwin's theory helps eliminate cause 1. cool.gif

 

Couldn't help but think of Top Gun and "Danger Zone":

 

http://youtu.be/58QOBqAWNzE

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

I think you're over thinking this. Like the rest of us never do?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVmike View Post

Wow, that hurt me head just reading it. Have a strong feeling English is not his first language. How well do you write in your second language? 

Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Good post, torlauf. The long context-setting was amusing, and your ultimate point well taken. Ignore the people who think posts of more than three short sentences are suspect by nature; they probably think downhill is always better than slalom because slalom "has too many turns." This. 
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torlauf View Post

For the past 5 years I have been monitoring ski industry sites in regards to skiing accidents. Clearly there is arise in "incidents".

 

 

While I'm all for safety, and the general point is valid, what source are you looking at that shows a "clear" rise in accident rates over the last five years (skier-skier collisions or otherwise)?

post #11 of 21

I would be curious to what data is being used. I have dealt with two of the big insurers and accident summaries are not that detailed.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

 

While I'm all for safety, and the general point is valid, what source are you looking at that shows a "clear" rise in accident rates over the last five years (skier-skier collisions or otherwise)?

 

 

 +1

 

It's not exactly a revelation that skiers-- expert, beginner, or in the middle-- should be situationally aware, follow standards (the rules), and aim to enjoy the mountain without endangering others. But I'm not sure where the striking evidence is for a rise in per-skier-hour injuries of the type the OP is apparently warning us about. So I don't really get the point of this thread...

post #13 of 21

What I have noticed is an apparent increase in the number of experienced skiers meeting their demise by skiing at high speed into a tree on the side of a groomed run.  I have also noticed a difference in my skiing brought on by the "new" equpment with shorter turn radii.  I don't ski any faster than I did 20 years ago, in fact I ski a lot more slowly.    However with the old long radius speed skis I was usually pointing within 45 degrees of the fall line.  Now I find myself quite often doing 45 to 60 mph pointing 90 degrees or more from the fall line (i.e. pointing directly at the trees on the side of the run).

 

Anyone else notice your direction of travel is diverging more and more from the fall line compared to what it was 20 or 30 years ago?

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

What I have noticed is an apparent increase in the number of experienced skiers meeting their demise by skiing at high speed into a tree on the side of a groomed run.  I have also noticed a difference in my skiing brought on by the "new" equpment with shorter turn radii.  I don't ski any faster than I did 20 years ago, in fact I ski a lot more slowly.    However with the old long radius speed skis I was usually pointing within 45 degrees of the fall line.  Now I find myself quite often doing 45 to 60 mph pointing 90 degrees or more from the fall line (i.e. pointing directly at the trees on the side of the run).

Anyone else notice your direction of travel is diverging more and more from the fall line compared to what it was 20 or 30 years ago?

Um, yup. (Not going sixty, though, far as I know.) But I try to be circumspect and not do it near the trail edge.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

I have a sorta 3-m rule, only it is not limited to 3 m.  It is never pass close enough so that the skier ahead can intercept you NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES. 



Exactly. Multiply their Speed + direction x 2 or 3. I always pass behind a person whenever possible. I had a guy going much too fast for his ability nearly hit me last season. I was drawing out consistent, very predictable gs turns on a fairly flat section and he came from behind and passed in front of me close enough to feel the wind blast. This on a run where there was no other skier for a quarter mile. He seemed to be going for a vert record. I caught up with him and had a word. He said " you almost hit me! " I actually had to remind him that the downhill skier has the right of way. Beware posers in brand new Arcterex....
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

...I don't ski any faster than I did 20 years ago, in fact I ski a lot more slowly.    ...Now I find myself quite often doing 45 to 60 mph...

 

0_o ...how fast were you going before?

 

Quote:
What I have noticed is an apparent increase in the number of experienced skiers meeting their demise by skiing at high speed into a tree on the side of a groomed run.

 

According to this (not THAT recent, but trying to compare shaped vs. 'straight' skis): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18614888 , they saw an overall reduction in injury rate -- although it's possible that shaped skis cause fewer overall injuries but an increase in very severe ones.  (I don't have the whole article, just the summary there.)  But rates of fatal accidents have not changed much.

 

The NSAA ( http://www.nsaa.org/media/68045/NSAA-Facts-About-Skiing-Snowboarding-Safety-10-1-12.pdf ) does not note any dramatic increases in collision rates lately.

 

This guy's summary of the International Society for Skiing Safety 2011 meetings (http://www.ski-injury.com/research/isss-2011) did not note any dramatic changes either.

 

Quote:

...there is a general consensus that the risk of injury is stable and in fact in many countries shows a slight decline. This is an important finding as the media likes to try and portray the opposite message – i.e. that snow sports are in fact getting “more dangerous”

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

...I don't ski any faster than I did 20 years ago, in fact I ski a lot more slowly.    ...Now I find myself quite often doing 45 to 60 mph...

 

0_o ...how fast were you going before?

 

Quote:
What I have noticed is an apparent increase in the number of experienced skiers meeting their demise by skiing at high speed into a tree on the side of a groomed run.

 

According to this (not THAT recent, but trying to compare shaped vs. 'straight' skis): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18614888 , they saw an overall reduction in injury rate -- although it's possible that shaped skis cause fewer overall injuries but an increase in very severe ones.  (I don't have the whole article, just the summary there.)  But rates of fatal accidents have not changed much.

 

The NSAA ( http://www.nsaa.org/media/68045/NSAA-Facts-About-Skiing-Snowboarding-Safety-10-1-12.pdf ) does not note any dramatic increases in collision rates lately.

 

This guy's summary of the International Society for Skiing Safety 2011 meetings (http://www.ski-injury.com/research/isss-2011) did not note any dramatic changes either.

 

Quote:

...there is a general consensus that the risk of injury is stable and in fact in many countries shows a slight decline. This is an important finding as the media likes to try and portray the opposite message – i.e. that snow sports are in fact getting “more dangerous”


Thanks for the data, too bad we can't single out the skiing into a tree fatality .

As to how fast I used to ski, it's hard to say.  Judging by my internal speedometer calibration at about 60 mph via radar and gps,  I can say that it is a lot faster.  It feels about 30% faster, but that could be off.  What I do know is at 60 mph I have no visibility problems with my goggles, and I recall I had to put hockey tape over the goggle vent holes for high-speed adrenaline runs in the past just so I could see where I was going.  Yes fogging was an even bigger problem with the vent holes plugged up.

post #18 of 21

Just curious where this three meter rule comes from.  I don't have a problem with it, but certainly I'm more for the "no way can we intersect" rule than some hard and fast distance rule which doesn't take into account speed, turn shape, trail direction, traffic, etc.  

 

All I know is the people with paper tickets here seem to have a much different interpretation of my "personal space" than I do.  

post #19 of 21
I am thinking we need to implement a 5 second rule like determining the following distance behind a car.
post #20 of 21

How many meters for a snowboarder? I was passing one on the left a month or so ago (EASILY 4-5 meters) and he did a big carver right towards me. We didn't hit, but it was close. 

post #21 of 21
Just like with cars, it's the differences in speed that cause crashes. The f1 drivers have no problem whizzing around each other at high speeds whereas the mixing pot of people crash at 25mph on city streets.

I hate playing the skisnob card, and I do not claim to be an expert, but skiing at snowbird this year was self selecting to weed out the less skilled skiers, and I felt more safe and comfortable as everyone was at a higher skill level. At least compared to my home mtn of heavenly where you get the whole mix of ski levels all at the same time
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