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Accident, JH, Laramie Bowl, 2/24, 1120AM - Page 2

post #31 of 154
Stories like this almost make me feel literally ill. I feel really sad for the families permanently damaged by this reckless behavior. I agree with all the posts that this kid should get a stiff penalty, but at the same time I feel sorry for a kid ruining his life with a reckless moment (like drinking and driving etc.). I also feel sorry for this kids family. Right now my daughter is 3 and I can only imagine how guilty I would feel and distraught I would be if she was the cause of needless death like this.

In other posts I have thought of responding about reckless behavior like this, but have refrained. I keep thinking that I considered myself to be completely reckless, rude, and selfish as a teenager and into my early twenties. Having said that, when I was learning to ski twenty years ago and straightlining down the hill because I didn't know how to turn (completely reckless irresponsible behavior) I would have (and did) crash to avoid hitting anyone -- especially a child. So I can't help but ask the question - If I was completely selfish and reckless and wouldn't have done this what does this say about some of the youth of today. I don't know the answer to that question.

One last thing. I agree with some of the other posts that we as the skiing community have to take a stand and start policing our own. I see this as the only long term solution. (People not wanting to get involved is a much broader problem in our society, but this board pertains to skiing). This event really has had an impact on me. I will not stand by and witness reckless behavior without addressing it. I am not suggestion brawling on the hill, but at least making a comment and attempting to report it to ski patrol. I think I saw somewhere that there are 7,000 members of this forum. Surely, there are enough of us in aggregate to make a difference.

Please let me know if I am way out in left field here.

J
post #32 of 154
Reckless endargerment on the slopes should not be tolerated. Resorts should hire enforcers to patrol for this type of behavior. Signs should be posted all over the resort. Reckless Skiers or Riders will be prosecuted. Everyday I wonder just how stupid and self-involved ppl will get. An example-A Subaru darted across traffic in front of a 105,500 pound truck I was driving today,missed it by inches at highway speed. They almost didn't make it home tonight. Did they even think how I would feel if they were killed.
post #33 of 154
Hi, I'm Nate, the one that 'ant' quoted from the aussie site.

In the end nothing will bring Heather back but what shouldn't be lost in all of this is an individual's responsibility for his/her behavior, reckless or otherwise. The reckless aspect of this person's behavior makes the tragedy of the situation just that much worse. This was a senseless, worthless incident that could have easily been avoided. A refuse to call it an accident knowing what I know.

Heather's husband is a life-long friend of mine. He is trying to remain anonymous through this whole ordeal so please understand if I just refer to him as "my friend".

I think my quoted reply above pretty much sums up all that I have to say about this but if anyone has any questions I'll do what I can to answer them.

Nate
post #34 of 154
Nate

Welcome to EpicSki. We have a great community here, and we share your sorrow for your friend's loss as well as your distain for reckless behavior on the slopes. It's too bad that this tragedy is what brought you to this site. You're certainly welcome here and we feel, and share, your pain. God Bless you, and your friend and his family.
post #35 of 154
Nate- I am at a loss for words...many people including myself are thinking about you, your friend, his wife...I hope the justice system does the right thing in this case and isn't blinded by the fact that the snowboarder is 16. Sixteen is old enough to know better.
post #36 of 154

Speed Patrol

I know that last year Big Sky had 2 speed patrollers who focused on people skiing too fast in slow zones in addition to great presence on the mountain.

However, no increase in patrol or patrol presence could have stopped this incident from happening. You can't have patrol on every acre at every moment. It all starts with parents teaching kids to ski/ride under control.

I also feel that if you are not skiing with a helmet then you are putting your life in the hands of others. It doesn't sound like the outcome of this incident may have changed drastically but sadly it may have helped. How can you trust everyone on the mtn. to be responsible skiers when you don't even know them? I e-mailed this story to a friend who is going out west with me and now she is buying a helmet before we fly out tomorrow. Yeah, it'll cost her $70......

I hope that something good can come out of this sad story and people can learn from it.

Also, word is they may try to charge the kid as an adult. I'd like to get some other opinions, but I feel this is going too far. People do stupid and reckless things at that age but it wasn't intentional. I know everyone in Jackson probably wants the chair for the kid but try to put yourself in his shoes. I don't think jail time is going to make him feel any worse or any better about himself.
post #37 of 154
Nate, sorry for the loss and God Bless those in Heather's family.

I find it horrific that she was stopped on the run and the kid didn't even try to miss her. If this was the case, the kid should be prosecuted to the fullest extent as an adult.

Some of my observations (thanks also to CJB in an earlier post) from the other side of the hill (Grand Targhee).

Although I can't speak "officially" for them or for Grand Targhee Resort, the Grand Targhee Professional Ski Patrol (GTPSP) does (and I'm sure almost all patrols do) enforce speed control on the mountain, especially in high traffic areas and posted "Slow Skiing" zones. GTPSP does not try to be on-the-hill cops. First, GTPSP tries to educate the reckless skier/boader. If they cop a 'tude, then it switches to enforcement. Pulling passes, escorting off the hill etc. But sometimes this doesn't even work. In past instances, GTPSP has pulled a kids season pass, only to find that kid on the hill the next day poaching (not good for ticket checkers). GTPSP does have a "Bad Dog" list where repeat offenders (skiing fast in slow areas, poaching rope boundaries, reckless skiing, etc.) are watched. If you are a repeat offender, then your pass is pulled.

Also, if one is a repeat offender of ducking boundary ropes, their pass is pulled, they have to meet with the GTPSP Director and the Mountain Manager, go out and dig themselves a 6-8' deep hole, get buried in it with a radio, sit there for 30-45 minutes to get the feeling of being buried in an avalanche, and then the GTPSP will send out the avi dogs to go find them. Great training for the dogs - good (somewhat) training for the punk kid. Gives them a whole new perspective on avi control work and crossing rope lines. After they get out of the hole, they usually are much more humble, and depending on their attitude, they get their pass back. GTPSP usually doesn't see them ducking ropes after that.

Anyway, to all, yes we need to say something to speeding and reckless skiers. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, report it to the ski patrol. Make sure and be able to specificly identify the person to patrol and try not to get emotional (even though you will be). Be able to describe the where, when, what and who. This will help a great deal when the patrol approaches the reckless skier/boader. Ski Patrols will listen and will take every report very seriously. But remember, they can't be everywhere at once and again they are not on-the-hill cops. If someone sees something they don't like, report it.

Remember, nobody skis faster than Motorola.

Again my condolences to Heather's family.

HB
post #38 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by skierdon
...

Also, word is they may try to charge the kid as an adult. I'd like to get some other opinions, but I feel this is going too far. People do stupid and reckless things at that age but it wasn't intentional. I know everyone in Jackson probably wants the chair for the kid but try to put yourself in his shoes. I don't think jail time is going to make him feel any worse or any better about himself.

...
Sorry, skierdon.

I understand the pity factor and the empathy you're feeling for a poor 16-yr old who's ruined his life, but every time I try to put myself in his shoes I end up in Heather's shoes instead.

If and when a trial takes place, some of the eyewitness accounts will become public record. I'll wait until then to decide how much leniency this kid deserves.

Bob
post #39 of 154
It is one thing if you are alone on some low traffic trail or backcountry and this happens. Laramie Bowl is a main traffic point at JH. When we skied it I immediately checked my speed because of the large number of people in the area, if somebody does not have that thought process in crowded areas on the hill they have no business being on the hill....

Alfonse
post #40 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by skierdon
I hope that something good can come out of this sad story and people can learn from it.

Also, word is they may try to charge the kid as an adult. I'd like to get some other opinions, but I feel this is going too far. People do stupid and reckless things at that age but it wasn't intentional. I know everyone in Jackson probably wants the chair for the kid but try to put yourself in his shoes. I don't think jail time is going to make him feel any worse or any better about himself.
One, I too hope some good can come from this, whether it's through increased awareness or whatever.

Two, I have to much imotional involvement to really be rational about this and to comment on whether or not I think he should be tried as an adult. But I also know a little more about the way the situation unfolded and given that information I have NO issues with him being tried as an adult. He made a decision that he will have to live with for the rest of his life, regardless of the legal outcome. But at some point I'd wager that time and distance will allow him to get over what happened. You come sit with me in my friend's house and look at wedding pictures with him and tell me he's ever going to have that same luxury. My goal in trying to find these forums and the discussions about Heather is to make sure that it hits home how unacceptable this type of thing should be.

Lastly, thank you for the kind words, thoughts and prayers.

Nate
post #41 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by skierdon
I know that last year Big Sky had 2 speed patrollers who focused on people skiing too fast in slow zones in addition to great presence on the mountain.

However, no increase in patrol or patrol presence could have stopped this incident from happening. You can't have patrol on every acre at every moment. It all starts with parents teaching kids to ski/ride under control.

I also feel that if you are not skiing with a helmet then you are putting your life in the hands of others. It doesn't sound like the outcome of this incident may have changed drastically but sadly it may have helped. How can you trust everyone on the mtn. to be responsible skiers when you don't even know them? I e-mailed this story to a friend who is going out west with me and now she is buying a helmet before we fly out tomorrow. Yeah, it'll cost her $70......

I hope that something good can come out of this sad story and people can learn from it.

Also, word is they may try to charge the kid as an adult. I'd like to get some other opinions, but I feel this is going too far. People do stupid and reckless things at that age but it wasn't intentional. I know everyone in Jackson probably wants the chair for the kid but try to put yourself in his shoes. I don't think jail time is going to make him feel any worse or any better about himself.
You raise a few good points. Most resorts and their patrols need to do more, but they can only do so much. This type of tragedy can happen anywhere, regardless of the efforts of the patrollers.

I agree whole-heartedly with you about we, as parents, educating our youth about responsible skiing, but it goes beyond skiing, IMO. I work with kids everyday and there are many good kids. Unfortunately, however, kids displaying reckless, rude, and irresponsible behavior is becoming the norm in our society. It's everywhere, and this translates to the same behavior on the slopes and on our roadways. It just happens to be more dangerous there. This can only be traced back to parenting, or lack there of. I'm the parent of 2 high spirited youngsters myself and I'm always "on top of" this issue with them. Everywhere we go, I get positive comments about how well behaved, respectfull, and responsible they are. Why? Because these 2 kids have been made aware of what's expected of them and they know that to behave otherwise is not an option. They're held accountable for their actions and as a result they react accordingly. The thought that "kids are kids" or "we were the same way growing up" is total BS, and serves as only an excuse for parents not being responsible for teaching their kids to be responsible and respectful human beings.

I understand your feelings regarding trying this kid as an adult. I have mixed feelings about it myself. The real issue here is that this kid will be held accountable and punished. The extent to which he should be punished is certainly open for debate. I think the real hope of the JH authorities is that others see what will happen in their jusidiction when this kind of incident takes place, and that it will serve as a deterent for others in the future. That is, they will make an example of him. This is a message that needs to be sent to the skiing public, and especially to our youth, IMO. It's a damn shame that something like this has to happen before anybody wakes up and takes some action. Sadly though, that's the way it always works out.
post #42 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by skierdon
It all starts with parents teaching kids to ski/ride under control.

Also, word is they may try to charge the kid as an adult. I'd like to get some other opinions, but I feel this is going too far. People do stupid and reckless things at that age but it wasn't intentional. I know everyone in Jackson probably wants the chair for the kid but try to put yourself in his shoes. I don't think jail time is going to make him feel any worse or any better about himself.
Personally I think it is a little more fundamental... teaching responsibility and respect. The issue isn't limited to on-trail antics, but everyday life. More than likely this kid was an "accident" waiting to happen... either on the highway or a ski trail.

While I empathize with the boy and his family, I do not sympathize. Another family is devastated. Oops doesn't cut it. Trying as an adult is fine with me. Hard way to learn life's lessons, but there are consequences for one's actions. This exact situation happened last year at an area I frequent and I'm sure it has happened elsewhere. Time for a message to be sent.


edit ...looks like Coach beat me to the punch. He's absolutely right.
post #43 of 154
Nate,
I am very sorry for the loss of your friend's wife. I didn't mean to be insensitive and I feel that I may have spoken too early now that I realized that people very close to this incident are taking part in this post. I agree it is too early for us to be talking about what could have, should have, would have happened. The important thing now is helping your friend get though this. Again, I am sorry for my previous comments.
post #44 of 154
skierdon,

No, you're not wrong to speak your opinion and I took no offense to any of your remarks. It is an incredibly terrible and difficult situation for all involved. Like I said, I'm a little too involved in the situation to make impartial judgements about how severe the punishment should be. And I'm not so far removed from my teen years to have forgotten all of the stupid and reckless things that I did. Thankfully none of the poor decisions that I made had a lasting impact on anyone but me.

In the end whether or not he's tried as an adult will have little bearing on my portion of the situation but may very well impact the activity that people on this board know and love. I skied for many years and then was forced to stop due to a knee injury. Upon returning after nearly 8 years off I was amazed at how the atmosphere had changed. I'm sure part of this was due to a change in perspective brought about by my age but I've been hit, bumped, and knocked down more times in the last 4 years than the previous 20. I know that I am not alone in this observation. I don't know what can be done to change this other than to have real consequences for misbehavior. It just so happens that the current situation that we're discussing is as bad as it can possibly get.

Nate
post #45 of 154
Nate my sincere condolences for your, and Heather's family's loss.

I hope that the family is able to move on from this kind of unbelieveable loss.
post #46 of 154
If we have to share the slopes with people who can kill and maim us, then they should be held accountable when they do these things. If they can not be held accountable, then sharing the slopes with them will become something fewer and fewer people want to do.
post #47 of 154
Skiing is my only release from work and everday stress. Since the first time I put on snowskiis in Alaska in 1972 I was hooked. After spending numerous years of skiing in white out conditions,rain,what have you or sunny spring ski days with friends and trying to be the best skier I can be I have to worry about some insensitive moron that has maybe 20 days on the Mt. taking me out and possible killing me as a result. That isn't right. This lady that recently died has haunted me. What a sad ordeal. I am sorry for her family and friends.
post #48 of 154

whtmt

First I would like to pass on my deepest sympathies to you and your best friend and his family. This accident has left me scared for those that ski / board in control. We have a very big problem at Loon Mountain here in New Hampshire with skier/boarder collisions all the time. It is totally unacceptable.

Just last Sunday I was skiing with my "sweetheart", my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter when a young snow boarder took us both out. I was even wearing my coach's Jacket. We were hit from behind on a green run in plain sight in the middle of the trail. I was right behind Mackenzie, two feet or so, to act as a shield and even that didn't work. She is completely independent and was skiing in complete control when this happened. She was catapulted across the slope right out of her skis. While she and I were laying on the slope with her screaming, I could only imagine where she was injured.

Fortunately for us she was just a little tike severely shaken up this time. It ended our skiing for the day, which until that point was wonderful. I got the boarder and filed a report, but nothing will come of it. He did appologize to us, but that's still not good enough for me. Mackenzie could have been seriously injured.

One hour prior to this accident a forty something 275 lb 6'3'' man straight lined the run we were on. It was also a Green run and as she was turning across the slope he went by her at high speed and missed her by inches and never even slowed down or diverged from his original path. We were very lucky. I skied ahead of her catching him and told point blank that he almost took out that child and if he couldn't ski in control he shouldn't be on the mountain. He didn't know what to say except to agree.

I hope something can be done to memorialize Heather's accident, so that her passing is not lost to those skiers / boarders who may cause this type of accident to happen again with someone else. Maybe a Heather Donahue skier foundation or something like that, that provides interaction with resorts to help them improve the safety at their resort.

Please accept our deepest sympathies upon Heather's passing.

whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #49 of 154
I would like to second the thoughts of Whtmt and the other contributors to this thread both with respect to my deepest sympathy for the families of everyone hit by out-of-control people, as well as to second the comments of the previous posters with respect to the increasing number and severity of such incidents.

The problem of reckless skiing/riding has bothered me deeply for the last several years. I agree with the previous posters that feel that the problem is getting steadily worse.

For example, last weekend, I was in uniform, teaching a group of level 4-5's when a boarder in his early 20's came straight-lining through our closely clustered, stopped group at easily 30 mph. He was made no attempt to hit the brakes or deviate from his straight line. We were on the widest trail on our mountain, well off to the side, we were almost alone on that trail, and visible for miles in any direction.

This guy was so close, and I had so little warning, that I accidentally hit him in his stomach with my pole because I had it outstretched, pointing across the hill at the angulated hips of a stopped student about 7 or 8 feet away. If either the student or I had been located differently by just a couple of feet, we would have been creamed. OTOH, if my pole had been pointing uphill by 30 or 45 degrees, I probably would have impaled the boarder in his stomach with my pole.

My response to this was to:
(a) Holler for the guy to stop. (He didn't).
(b) Look quickly around to make sure everybody was OK. (They were).
(c) Tell my students to stay put.
(d) Take off after the guy, yelling for him to stop.
(e) I got alongside him and ordered him again to stop. He obviously heard me but made no attempt to stop.

The interesting part is what happened next. I told him that "You ARE going to stop!" and I then slowly started to cut in front of him. If he was truly out of control, I expected him to start to overtake me (my plan was to get out of his way in that case). If he had a bit of control, I expected him to hit the brakes and lay it down since I was in his path.

Instead, he carved a nice arc to the side of the trail, and stopped in quite an expert fashion, well before he ran into the woods. He obviously had no problem controlling his board, and this essentially proved that he chose to cut through my group.

I read him the riot act, and even though instructors do not officially have the authority to mark tickets, I marked his with a red magic marker that I happened to be carrying.

I have chased down guys like him several times in the last month and have developed a fairly standard lecture. By far, the most effective part of it is always seems to be when I say something ultra-graphic like, "Wouldn't you feel really good, just like a big, expert skier, if you, a full-grown 180 lb adult, hit that 50 lb 9 y.o. girl in my class, instantly turned her into dogmeat, killing her by crushing her brain, and tearing her body apart, and you get to send the bloody pieces home to her parents in a bag? ... You know what, if you did that, to make you feel even better, I'd make sure you would rot in jail and have plenty of time to think about what you did."

Even this guy who was intent on outrunning me started to apologize profusely and try to make excuses after the above comment, but I made him listen while I graphically described examples of accidents that I have seen caused by reckless riding. By that point, he face was flushed and he was repeatedly muttering, "I'm sorry ... I'm sorry ... Can I leave now...". I finally let him go.

I think the ultra-graphic approach to these individuals is a lot like the approach used on some traffic violators in which the court forces them to watch graphic movies and photographs of auto accidents, make the violator visit emergency rooms, etc.

I think that if the opportunity presents itself (eg, you are not endangering others by the chase, etc.), good skiers (both recreational and pro) should support each other and should actively intervene to stop dangerous users of the mountain, not just quietly complain on the Internet. I'm not talking about vigilante justice and beating them up or anything like that, but groups of good skiers should get together to let the dangerous ones know in no uncertain terms that they are in the wrong and such behavior won't be tolerated. I know that if I ever see a guest or other instructor taking off after a reckless individual, I would do my best to back them up, get the patrol, etc.

Without appropriate feedback from society, such reckless individuals will likely never change.

[/rant]

Tom / PM
post #50 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13

This can only be traced back to parenting, or lack there of. I'm the parent of 2 high spirited youngsters myself and I'm always "on top of" this issue with them. Everywhere we go, I get positive comments about how well behaved, respectfull, and responsible they are. Why? Because these 2 kids have been made aware of what's expected of them and they know that to behave otherwise is not an option. They're held accountable for their actions and as a result they react accordingly. The thought that "kids are kids" or "we were the same way growing up" is total BS, and serves as only an excuse for parents not being responsible for teaching their kids to be responsible and respectful human beings.
Well said, I too hold my children accountable for their actions. I am not beating my children into submitting to my may of thinking. But I do inforce what is socailly acceptable; i.e. respectful, couteous, and safe behaviour. In this day of latch key kids it is more difficult to mold the youth of today but that only means more effort required by parents. Unfortuantly, many parents do not want to expend that effort and let their kids raise themselves.
post #51 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
I think that if the opportunity presents itself (eg, you are not endangering others by the chase, etc.), good skiers (both recreational and pro) should support each other and should actively intervene to stop dangerous users of the mountain, not just quietly complain on the Internet. I'm not talking about vigilante justice and beating them up or anything like that, but groups of good skiers should get together to let the dangerous ones know in no uncertain terms that they are in the wrong and such behavior won't be tolerated. I know that if I ever see a guest or other instructor taking off after a reckless individual, I would do my best to back them up, get the patrol, etc.
[/rant]

Tom / PM
I think it's important that, like PM concludes, we not only mourn Heather's death, but find a way to solve the problem of reckless behavior on our slopes. All of us have enough either personal or anecdotal experience with the problem to know that it's growing. It's no longer an "out of control" 9 yr. old on the bunny slope, but a 180 lb. 16 yr. straightlining a lethal wedge of fiberglass.

It seems that resorts won't/can't do much about the problem. Won't because they don't have to--the implied, and in most states, defined, nature of our hazardous sport exempts them from liability--and can't because most of them are stretched thin in staff, trying to make a buck.

Even though I understand my obligation to do the right thing and encourage responsible skiing/boarding, I just as often find myself standing alone, the oddball old crank, for basic comments such as "hey dude, the liftline starts back there," or "please flop off the traverse." Although I'm still strong enough to defend myself, it's important to remember the story from last year about 3 boarders beating up a critic on the slopes. Help, whether it's vigilante or not, is appreciated, and nearly as effective in the form social disapproval as a lynching, though not as permanent.

I'm also surprised at the lack of publicity about this death. If we think reckless skiing/boarding is a problem, why isn't there more of an outcry about it? I suspect because it woud be "bad for the sport," which, if you haven't noticed, is struggling. This leads to the question, if numbers are diminishing, how come the jerks are increasing? The answer, I suspect lies somewhere in the combination of this thread's observations about parenting and the example set by TGR's "heros" such as Shane McConkey.

A citizen slope police force seems so contrary to our sport. Would it be possible to classify or grade passes, so yahoo's like Heather's murderer would at least have to pass a test or show proficiency in the basic rules of the mountain before they could venture on to places like Liberty Bowl? It wouldn't keep reckless fools off the mountain, but at least we'd know they knew the rules in the first place, and could prosecute accordingly (manslaughter becomes murder). Also, like Driver Training classes, the certification or testing process in itself tends to improve skills.

Or how about Jackson create a Free Fire Zone, where we could channel all the straightliners? The great thing about half pipes and parks is it serves like honey to flies, and keeps hazardous behavior in one location. I have no objections to people killing themselves (except for the risk and expense to the rescuers or recovery team). The rest of us shouldn't be victimized by their thrill lust.

If you know more, or have a better idea, I welcome it. If PM will wear a Ski Police badge, so will I, if he'll have me. Perhaps I'm asking too much of this forum, but I think it would be great if more could come out of this than condolences for Heather's family. We were on Liberty Bowl a few weeks ago. This could have been my wife or daughter.

DownhillDave

Winter is short. Work is long. Ski today.
post #52 of 154
Last weekend at Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire, there were some boarders going out of control. I saw them go by me once (on a fairly empty blue, and rather fast), but others saw them really racing down in crowded areas and complained.

I was in the liftline when I heard some Sunapee staff discussing them--and the fact they were ignoring warnings. A half hour later, my husband said the lift operators were discussing "the snowboarders who were just arrested."

So...hearsay, because I didn't see it, but I do think it's good some places are trying to get it under control. I noticed that at Mt. Wachusett, in Mass., there are huge orange signs at the top of nearly all the runs announcing, "Go fast, lose your pass." And an instructor I had there told me they're really enforcing it.

I hope other resorts follow suit.
post #53 of 154
Also--at Wachusett, they have one area that's a "Family Run" that I believe is a blue. Large signs at the beginning of the area repeat the 'ski fast, lose your pass' rule, and early in the day, I noticed they had staff standing near the sign, watching skiiers go by. Personally, I think that's great.
post #54 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by DownhillDave
I'm also surprised at the lack of publicity about this death. If we think reckless skiing/boarding is a problem, why isn't there more of an outcry about it? I suspect because it woud be "bad for the sport," which, if you haven't noticed, is struggling. This leads to the question, if numbers are diminishing, how come the jerks are increasing? The answer, I suspect lies somewhere in the combination of this thread's observations about parenting and the example set by TGR's "heros" such as Shane McConkey.
People need to stop blaming ski and board flicks for reckless behavior on the slopes. The average 12 year old, 5 days on snow/year boarder or middle school ski club member has never seen a serious ski flick. What they have seen, however, are the dozens of references and depictions of snowboarding put forth by the mainstream media (Nickelodeon's "Rocket Power," Disney's "Johnny Tsunami," the movie "Out Cold" released a few years back) which shows snowboarding as a rebellious, disrepectful activity that onyl the coolest of the cool do- and seldom do these programs and movies show helmet use, responsible behavior, or what truly proficient skiers/boards look like. If you're going to blame media, then dont place the blame on McConkey and TGR, but instead on the marketers of cool like Mountain Dew who show irresponsible example of on-snow activities.

Even then, its tough to believe that kids are doing what they are out on the hill becasue they saw it once on Nickelodeon. The problem more likely lies in the belief that everyone is entitled to use the entire hill no matter what their level of proficiency, and the fact that many kids (mostly boarders) never received any sort of instruction from parents or ski schools on both the skills needed to use their boards correctly and the rules of conduct expected of them on the hill.

It would be interesting to do a survey and see how many boarders started out in a ski school vs. with a friend "teaching" them on the bunny hill, and the number of skiers who started out at a ski school.
post #55 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
OTOH, if my pole had been pointing uphill by 30 or 45 degrees, I probably would have impaled the boarder in his stomach with my pole.
No, this would not have happened. At a very busy resort I once worked at, instructors developed something called The Porcupine; when you heard the scrape behind you, you raised your pole tips behind you and pointed them up at about waist level. you know what? When we did this, we were never hit by "out of control" persons. There were no "accidents". Sometimes they fell, but they didn't hit us. Isn't that odd? It puzzled us very greatly.
post #56 of 154
Would it be possible to collect statistics - ski area by ski arrea - on how safe each ski area is, how many accidents, etc. Publication of such a list might serve to force areas to improve their patrolling, through peer pressure or the fear of losing business.
post #57 of 154
I was thinking about this all day on Moday, I did ski Laramie Bowl with a heavy heart. I was much more aware of who was around me. Boy, am I glad I got a helmet.
post #58 of 154
Nate...I'm so sorry for your loss and for the senseless act that took Heather. My heart goes out to her husband, family and friends. This may seem like an odd question, but is there anything that I/we can do? This forum is a strong community full of compassionate and wonderful people. There are professional instructors, expert skiers and novices who love the feeling of the snow..but they have one thing in common - a respect for the mountain and respect for their fellow snow rider. You are doing a very difficult thing trying to wade through the emotion to raise awareness. I am not sure how people find solace in such times...but reach out if you need it.

My best,

Lisa
post #59 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
No, this would not have happened. At a very busy resort I once worked at, instructors developed something called The Porcupine; when you heard the scrape behind you, you raised your pole tips behind you and pointed them up at about waist level. you know what? When we did this, we were never hit by "out of control" persons. There were no "accidents". Sometimes they fell, but they didn't hit us. Isn't that odd? It puzzled us very greatly.

It is intersting that you mentioned this. This year while skiing with my family, I had a similar experience. There was a group of young teens (13 -15 year olds) skiing very fast on some of the blue trails. I didn't pay much attention to them, but I did notice they were doing the old "human slalom" thing (using people as gates). I was skiing first, with my 5 & 6 yr olds behind me, and my wife in the back. We would ski for a few hundred feet, I would then stop on the side of the trail, and my kids would stop next to (below) me. While waiting for my wife, one was coming right at us. I raised my pole about chest level, to see if he would still keep coming.

He turned.................................
post #60 of 154
It seems many mountains do not want the reputation of pulling tickets as they think it will deter sales. I wonder if they knew how many folks out there would flock to a mountain that had a reputation for ABSOLUTE ZERO tolerance of reckless skiing and boarding. I cannot count how many times in a barber chair or a supermarket checkout line when my job of being a ski instructor is noticed by my clothing or hat I hear "I tried it once but I was so afraid of someone running me down I never went back."
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