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Face-planting a little kid off of the lift at A-Basin a couple of weeks ago

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

So I'm sure this left everybody who saw me thinking "wow, that guy is not a dad." Well, I'm not but that's beside the point. 

 

So I go through the singles line at the Black Mountain Express and there are three smallish kids there in a group for the 3rd to next chair so I ask/barge in with them to make a (would-be) full chair. There's a little guy (maybe 3ft tall) next to me and two other guys who are probably 4 1/2 feet tall or something (the two older kids seemed the same age). 

 

After I join, for some reason, they try to switch the little guy to be in between them and he falls. I extended my hand for him to grab but he just flailed around a bit before the other kids just grabbed him upright. Successfully getting the little one between them at the same time. I was not dressed as the boogie man, but may have smelled a bit like gin (not actually true). 

 

Anyway, after we load, I look over and the little kid in the middle of the other two boys is just skiing along (plenty of snow after the loading zone) with the front part of the seat of the chair against his back, the other kids start pushing him and telling him to get out of the way (how?) and I start yelling back to the lift operator to stop (we're like 20 feet from the LZ). The kid catches an edge and face-plants and then they stop the lift and attend to him. He didn't appear hurt and rode up a few chairs back. He didn't seem to notice at the time that he wasn't on the chair; he didn't seem to be comprehending the situation that he needed to be on the seat, kinda just being "here we go" about it. 

 

Now, I know that everybody is supposed to know how to ride the lift. I think those kids knew that too. There was no blaming or anything like that of anybody, it was just a mistake. But, given how young these kids were, should I have maybe helped them more? (or some, really, I guess.) It could have been even more dangerous if there wasn't snow over the entire area. I didn't want to tell the other kids to grab him up because I thought they might fall too but no way could I reach over and leverage him up.

 

What would you do? I usually try not to tell other people's kids what to do but this was potentially dangerous and I was just kind of along for the ride.

post #2 of 21

I am a dad so I will answer as dad.  I guess first off as far as loading a lift on their own a parent needs to know their kid.  I don't think there is a specific age when suddenly they don't know help.  It sounds to me that the kid was clearly not capable of loading onto the lift on his own and his buddies couldn't help him either so where was that somebody?  It shouldn't have to be you.  From your description I don't know what else you could have done.  You tried to grab him, you yelled for the operator.  As a dad I have and do try to help kids that appear to need help if their parents aren't around regardless if I think their parents should be there or not.  I also get that helping other peoples kids can't often bring the wrath of God down as well if the parent is around and misinterprets your actions.  Just my opinion and when it comes to kids there's a billion different opinions out there and everyone thinks theirs is the right one.

post #3 of 21

I don't think you were obligated to do anything.  At Copper when the lifties see a really small kid about to load they come over and walk behind the chair to assist if needed.  That's probably what should have happened. 

post #4 of 21

I'll open another can of worms.  What if you all loaded successfully, with our without helping a 5 year old.  That 5 year old then falls off about 15 feet up and gets injured.  Is the parent going to try to sue you, a complete stranger just taking your rightful seat on a shared lift, for allowing the kid they weren't watching to fall and get injured... the kid that shouldn't have been on the lift to begin with?  What would a jury of non skiers decide should that make it to court?

post #5 of 21

That's a fail on Copper's part. I've seen little kids (and adults) having loading problems at Alpine and the lift ops anticipate problems and slow the lift and help if necessary and are quick to stop the lift and help if someone is having problems.  You weren't in a position to help, since the kid wasn't next to you and there was nothing you could have said to the other kids that would have helped. Copper's lift ops should have been more attentive.

post #6 of 21

No, for your initial question;  it's not your job to be a liftie or instructor, so you are not expected to help and have no obligation to do help out, esp. if you've not been trained how.   It's better to just let them fall or stay in the landing zone then potentially be dangling.

 

The other question is if not you then who?  There's a whole slew of answers to that question, but it's not you.

 

Once in a blue moon, I am asked by an instructor who has a large group of small ones to go up with them so they are not unattended on a chair.  It is not to help them with their skiing or exit; it is more of just to ensure they don't start goofing off on the lift and swinging it or screwing around as kids are apt to do when left to their own devices.  The only instruction is to keep the bar down until you actually get to the top.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses everybody.

 

Just an odd mixed bag of feelings, just kind sitting there when someone could be getting hurt. Like the Seinfeld gang laughing at the guy getting robbed. His buddies did in fact laugh at him. 

 

So far though, it sounds like you all would also just sit, yell for help. That's probably the smart thing to do. Good point that I have no training or authority whatsoever that suggests I should be helping people at the lift. I have a difficult enough time on my own. 

 

There is probably some wisdom in seeing that group and not trying to join in as a single. There was a line, but it was not very crowded. There were singles in two alternating lanes behind me though. 

 

I do wonder if maybe I should have said something to the operators, like this guy may need a hand or something, that's probably about it. I know its their job to recognize and all but that's probably the only extra thing I could have done.

 

Good point about causing a dangling situation too. You go to try to help the kid onto the lift and then he's dangling 15 feet up, now you make it much worse. 

 

Its funny, earlier that day at the same lift, I managed to wait for a group of three to join up for so long that we missed an entire chair; whoops. may as well have gone on my own. 

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

... at Alpine and the lift ops anticipate problems and slow the lift and help if necessary and are quick to stop the lift and help if someone is having problems...

 

I just got back from there, and definitely noticed the signs (might have been Squaw but I thought Alpine too) saying "If a child is shorter than this sign, they will be helped by the lift operator", or something to that effect.

 

I wonder if they do a bit more training there based on that?

 

Though the best move I've seen a liftie make was at Vail on the Mountaintop Express lift... a child fell just as the chair was approaching, so the liftie ran out, got the kid situated on the chair just before it hit the edge of the LZ, and then jumped over the chair to avoid being pushed off the LZ; He did it in pretty much one motion and got a few cheers from the waiting line.

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

Thanks for the responses everybody.

 

Just an odd mixed bag of feelings, just kind sitting there when someone could be getting hurt. Like the Seinfeld gang laughing at the guy getting robbed. His buddies did in fact laugh at him. 

 

So far though, it sounds like you all would also just sit, yell for help. That's probably the smart thing to do. Good point that I have no training or authority whatsoever that suggests I should be helping people at the lift. I have a difficult enough time on my own. 

 

There is probably some wisdom in seeing that group and not trying to join in as a single. There was a line, but it was not very crowded. There were singles in two alternating lanes behind me though. 

 

I do wonder if maybe I should have said something to the operators, like this guy may need a hand or something, that's probably about it. I know its their job to recognize and all but that's probably the only extra thing I could have done.

 

Good point about causing a dangling situation too. You go to try to help the kid onto the lift and then he's dangling 15 feet up, now you make it much worse. 

 

Its funny, earlier that day at the same lift, I managed to wait for a group of three to join up for so long that we missed an entire chair; whoops. may as well have gone on my own. 


As you learned, kids in a group are not likely to want any help from a stranger.  What you could have tried to do is simply wave at the operator to try to check his attention.  Meaning wave a bit and point to the kids.  Then let him do whatever is needed.

 

I'm much more likely to let a group of 2-3 kids go up without me when I'm riding solo if it's not too busy.  Even with one kid (tween), most of the time they just sit and say nothing.

post #10 of 21

A kid that young should not be skiing without an adult. Period. I don't care how mature the other (maybe 9? 10?) kids are. You did nothing wrong.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

That's a fail on Copper's part. I've seen little kids (and adults) having loading problems at Alpine and the lift ops anticipate problems and slow the lift and help if necessary and are quick to stop the lift and help if someone is having problems.  You weren't in a position to help, since the kid wasn't next to you and there was nothing you could have said to the other kids that would have helped. Copper's lift ops should have been more attentive.

 

Just for clarification it happened at A basin.  Copper lifties are usually pretty good and do slow the lift down and help as necessary.  I witnessed some outstanding work by one.  Kid slipped off the chair and dad caught her with his legs.  She was hanging onto him.  If she went, he was going with her.  The liftie got the lift stopped really quick and called for help while bystanders helped him get the catch net under them.  They did an amazing job. 

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike78 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

That's a fail on Copper's part. I've seen little kids (and adults) having loading problems at Alpine and the lift ops anticipate problems and slow the lift and help if necessary and are quick to stop the lift and help if someone is having problems.  You weren't in a position to help, since the kid wasn't next to you and there was nothing you could have said to the other kids that would have helped. Copper's lift ops should have been more attentive.

 

Just for clarification it happened at A basin.  Copper lifties are usually pretty good and do slow the lift down and help as necessary.  I witnessed some outstanding work by one.  Kid slipped off the chair and dad caught her with his legs.  She was hanging onto him.  If she went, he was going with her.  The liftie got the lift stopped really quick and called for help while bystanders helped him get the catch net under them.  They did an amazing job. 

don't know where I got copper from. getting old I guess.

post #13 of 21

I don't like to ride the lift with little kids in case something happens, such as they are goofing around and fall off, and I might be help responsible.

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

don't know where I got copper from. getting old I guess.

 

Let me know if you want to change your username to "evenoldergoat". ;)

post #15 of 21
How was he just skiing along on BMX? That lift drops off a shelf as it takes a 90 degree left turn immediately after loading.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post

I don't like to ride the lift with little kids in case something happens, such as they are goofing around and fall off, and I might be help responsible.

Adults helped me up the lifts when I young. I pay the favor forward... screw the risk. It's just the right thing to do. The mountain is a community. When we cease participating in moments of greater good, something very important is lost.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post
 

I don't like to ride the lift with little kids in case something happens, such as they are goofing around and fall off, and I might be help responsible.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post


Adults helped me up the lifts when I young. I pay the favor forward... screw the risk. It's just the right thing to do. The mountain is a community. When we cease participating in moments of greater good, something very important is lost.


I offered to take a couple kids when an instructor told me to pass through the class at the bullwheel.  He said they had it covered.  Though I do have minor reservations about doing things to help kids due to the fact that it sometimes seems no good deed goes unpunished, I still try to help out regardless of that risk.  I still believe that helping when you can is better than not getting involved over the long term.


Edited by crgildart - 3/28/16 at 9:14am
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Adults helped me up the lifts when I young. I pay the favor forward... screw the risk. It's just the right thing to do. The mountain is a community. When we cease participating in moments of greater good, something very important is lost.

+1. I find myself in with kids a few times a year and I make sure I am doing all I can to help. Not getting involved is not an option as far as I am concerned.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

How was he just skiing along on BMX? That lift drops off a shelf as it takes a 90 degree left turn immediately after loading.

 

That's a good point about the lift layout. I have no idea how he managed to clear the shelf and navigate the left turn. Maybe he was partially up, and his skis were off the ground until after the turn. That would explain nobody noticing at first. I guess I thought we were all on the chair also. I don't recall if the chair jostles a bit after the turn. He was definitely riding along on the snow, propelled by the chair from behind, just after the stairs to the hut when I looked over and he rode that way for maybe 10-15 feet. One fail may have been me not even watching until it was a bit late. 

post #20 of 21

OP: A kid who's 36" tall is pretty young. A kid who's 54" tall is a tweener. So unclear what ages you're talking about. The little one, you did what you could, I'm wondering where the parents were. Or perhaps they were expecting the tweeners to be responsible. But at the end of the day, IMO this is about parents not wanting to deal with their kids, so they tell themselves the older kids will handle it, or the lift operator will handle it, or another adult will handle it. Speaking as a parent, it's a parental fail any way you look at it. Thumbs Down

post #21 of 21
Guess most of our parents failed... We skied in groups of 2-6 kids without parents all day... chairlifts, the whole deal. Even on a group family trip to Snowmass way back in the day. Somehow we survived.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Face-planting a little kid off of the lift at A-Basin a couple of weeks ago