Yep, no doubt it would be easier to just close it. I really hope that doesn't happen, and I've got to hope the VR folks in Broomfield still have some skier left in their soul and want to ski back there like I do.
They are in a difficult spot on this one. If they close EV, "Vail is flat" will become "Vail is flat AND they closed the only good skiing." I'm hopeful the best line VR can pick through this tricky PR and moral terrain is to try to bring EV inbounds. If they at least try, I think that gives them the pass on the moral question. If they try and fail, they'll still have the PR problem of people dying in EV, but that's probably more manageable than "they closed the only good skiing." They could at least say they tried to prevent the deaths by bringing it inbounds every time they happen, redirecting to whomever stopped the expansion.
I'm not buying a lack of personnel angle. Come on, Vail can't hire enough people to run the lifts :-) It would take years to bring EV inbounds... they'll have plenty of time to staff up. And, there really isn't any lawsuit potential here, it's really just moral and PR as I can see it. I truly wonder which is weighing more heavily inside a big public company.
It wouldn't be so much time as a lack of qualified people to hire, from what I hear.
And everything has lawsuit potential.... come on! The more signs and ropes and protections there are, the higher potential for lawsuits, in fact. It's better to throw up a sign that says "You are responsible for yourself, period."
What needs to happen is more education. That "article" made it clear that experience and education do not always go together. One thing Vail has started doing is a free avalanche awareness course. In a sad twist, the first session of this season was scheduled for last Tuesday. It was postponed due to the events of that day. And more sponsors need to get on board. The big players, who are making tons of money selling hiking-mode boots and "sidecountry" skis and touring bindings. Word is, feet are dragged when they are asked to support avalanche education...
Clearly most victims do have some education and experience, but frankly, you can't dictate how people will use their knowledge, in any walk of life. I'm okay with that. I wouldn't want to live the other way. I have kids, too, tball, and they are teenagers. You have to teach them stuff and then let them go do stuff. It's scary as hell, but you can't not do it (unless you want them to resent you and/or never grow up).