Originally Posted by fatbob
Originally Posted by Stephanie
- Safety means more people/family in ski resorts, as watching Youtube Videos of Accident with Chairlift at least stop me to visit ski resorts with my children. Its simple is to unsafe, especially if your child has more energy or attention disorders (Adhd/add is hard to recognize at this young age) and could proven very dangerous for children.
Its 2015. Time to stop this dreadful accidents and think about safety for ones.
Top trolling complete with requisite spelling. Applause
It's funny when a new member shows up on EpicSki sometimes. If they have a controversial viewpoint that's obviously going to trigger an emotional response from some people, it's easy to throw the "t" word at them. When there are typos or grammar errors, the likelihood that we have a troll rises. If that viewpoint has a hint of rationality behind it, the quality of it's trollness goes up. When it takes a complex response to show why the viewpoint has severe flaws, the quality of the troll is excellent. When it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a troll and a perfectly reasonable opinion we either have a world class troll or a perfectly reasonable opinion.
Stephanie could be coming to us from a place where English is not the first language spoken. She could be coming to us from a culture that many of the posters here would deride as a "nanny" state. She could be easily unaware of the extreme pursuit of liability that the American legal system incentivizes makes it highly unlikely that such an obvious safety measure would go unused for long. Or she could be arguing that the lack of such a system world wide raises the reasonableness that the safety measure is at least justifiable in other skiing countries. A moderator might be able to pick up on these clues that other posters can not. A moderator might be able to ask long time members to ask a few more questions before throwing the "t" word at a new member. Sometimes it is worth giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It would be a shame to run off a new member simply because we were too lazy to consider that the unlikely could be the case. But I won't ask a member to do something I won't do so ....
If you throw out cost as a concern, the suggestion becomes perfectly reasonable. There are a number of ways an automatic bar could be implemented without reducing the capacity of the lift system (i.e. slowing it down). If one considers the ease with which it is possible to fall out of a lift and the concept that allowing one's children into a situation where unnecessary risks are taken is a parental failure it is easy to come to the conclusion that the commonly implemented simple bar system is insufficient. If one considers the increasing prevalence of YouTube videos of chair accidents as an increasing level of danger or even the awareness of danger, the viewpoint is at least understandable. It's perfectly reasonable to see an automatic bar system in place in one entertainment environment (e.g. roller coasters) and question why it can not be used in a similar environment (ski resorts).
It takes an engineering background to understand the reasonableness of a contradictory viewpoint. The amount of money that should be spent on risk mitigation depends on the level of risk. Without even looking for industry wide data, my own experience of working for a single resort for 23 years can provide some insight. Over the past 23 years and millions of skier visits and probably over 100 million chair lift rides there have been many falls from lifts (usually 2-3 per year). None have resulted in death. Most don't even result in broken bones. How can this be? The majority of these falls have occurred on beginner lifts that are significantly lower to the snow surface and travel mostly over snow surfaces (as opposed to over non-trail terrain). Even a relatively hard snow surface has a lot more give than most uncovered surfaces. Children also are much less fragile than adults. So even though beginner children are far more likely to fall out of a chair, there are already many non-intuitive risk mitigation factors in place (e.g. starting children out on surface lifts like magic carpets, requiring small children to ride with adults, lifties manually flipping the bar during the loading process). Next we need to consider that at least 50% of the lift fall accidents that I'm aware of at my home resort involve a failure getting on or off that could have been avoided if the lift was a high speed design and the bar system was automatic. Finally, it is my estimate that at the most only 10% of the falls occurred when an available bar was not being used (I only know of 2 instances). Let's be generous and say we're talking about 75 incidents. It's my estimate that the cost to install an automatic bar system on all 6 lifts at this resort would easily exceed $10M (because a detachable design is required to make an automatic system not be a capacity killer). If the resort only installed a system on the 3 beginner lifts where over 80% of the falls have occurred, we're still looking at a minimum $5M investment. Now it may be easy to look at a handful of auto recalls or airline safety directives and see far more money spent per "incident", but if you boil the numbers down, you'll find that this kind of a cost of making bars automatic is way out of line relative to the risk being mitigated in the ski industry or any other industry. Especially when you consider that even an automatic bar system does not reduce incidents to zero. There's a good argument that a $5M investment in fencing could have prevented 50% of the on snow deaths and way more than 75 tree collision incidents. But if that investment was required up front, the resort would never have opened.
I've yet to see an amusement park put an automatic bar system on a simple chair lift ride. Where you see automatic bar systems employed (e.g. coasters), the likelihood of a fall without a bar is at least an order of magnitude higher, the risk of injury from a fall is greater and the cost to implement is relatively much lower due to the lesser number of seats involved and the colocation of ingress/egress. There's a big apples vs oranges difference here that is not intuitively obvious.
Stephanie is right about one thing. The ski industry has an opportunity to improve chairlift safety. There is room to get better at a reasonable cost.