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Grooming procedures and injuries - Page 2

post #31 of 71
Grooming done at small resorts here in the East are usually done by one cat, maybe two. For a couple of reasons. One, because alot of the slopes are two narrow to line up four across and sweep the hill. Secondly, and mostly is because they only have one or two cats to begin with which limits the ability to mass groom.

Getting a smooth surface is much harder in Spring conditions than the cold winter months or on South and West facing slopes because of the melt factor. There's nothing worse than Spring skiing on frozen corduroy with groomer overlaps of frozen cement.

The worst grooming i've ever seen was at Whistler/Blackcomb a few Springs ago. In defense of the groomers, trying to groom Spring slop in the dense fog that developes out there would make it nearly impossible to do anything but a so-so job at best.

Like I said before, it then becomes the responcibility of the Ski Patrol to open/close slopes, and to mark such obstacles with lolliepops or tape and bamboo poles to eliminate these hidden dangerous obstacles.

However, this all becomes a mute issue when the skier buys a lift ticket and assumes all risk due to weather and or changing slope conditions. Thus it could be deemed that however unfortunate your Wifes accident might have been, she was skiing too fast for the conditions of the day. It was her or your choice to ski that day. perhaps you should have gone shopping instead.

I do hope your Wife has a quick recovery from her back injury. My Wife is recovering from a skiing injury herself.
post #32 of 71
Sounds like what it boils down to is that you were skiing. Too fast? What is too fast?

When you enter "0-0" conditions (no forward or vertical), visibility, any skiing is too fast.

I have side stepped down, slipped and played "gilssade" and falling leaf, down damned 1,800 of vertical during "white out". Is it fun? No. Did it take a long time? Yes! Was it safer than skiing? Yep! My biggest worry was some idiot was gonna nail me from above trying to "ski" down through that stuff.

IMHO .... an "expert" would not have been in that situation. When you are caught by suprise, deal accordingly. When you look out of the lodge and see "0-0" ..... this airplane don't leave the hangar.

Regarding death cookies .... we have them all of the time. I never ski faster than I can see for the first run.
post #33 of 71
Back in the 60s they had groomers that you could argue what you want to call them. They pulled a string of blades pushed down by concrete blocks behind a Tucker snow cat. They basically made football size death cookies. This was normal and expected. You the skier accepted all the risk. Its just the way it was. I am not sure much has changed on the legal ski resort risk management side. Now that the grooming technology has gotten so good, your raising issues like well what if the grooming doesn't produce a perfectly smooth surface. What if there is little roughness between snowcat overlapping grooming runs and I fall. Can I sue the ski area? Give me a break. We start doing this then the price of a day ticket will be $500. You want 100% safety stay in your living room and do whatever you do in your living room. Take some responsibility. Your first run down a trail each day should not be at MACH 5. Take it slow and look at the trail's snow conditions for that day. On your next run down that trail, now you can increase the speed. Use some common sense.

BTW Each state has different laws for marking trail hazards. Some states like NY's Article 18 have very strict rules on marking trail hazards. Even here spring conditions mean anything is possible like a bare spot covering more than 50% of the trail need not be marked if the trail is opened SC . Most ski areas would not have enough hazard markers to cover all the bare spots during spring conditions.

A low branch may be marked on a trail on an east coast ski area but will not be marked in glade area or a western ski area.

Do no expect that ski areas out west will mark the same hazards as eastern ski areas. Each state has different standards for marking ski area hazards. Europe skiing is also very different for marking hazards than here in North America.

post #34 of 71
Sounds like the weather is more to blame than the grooming. Can you sue Mother Nature?


Maybe you should look in the mirror for not setting her up with the right gear. Sounds like some Metrons could have saved her some pain.
post #35 of 71

Originally posted by henry
Please note it is not possible to 'gather lawsuit evidence' from a ski forum. I simply asked a question which had no reference to lawsuits.
Hmm, so this is not a discovery attempt but you have done some legwork first to check...:

Like Yuki I find myself in the relatively unusual position of being in full agreement with gonzo on this....
post #36 of 71
Originally Posted by henry
She fell over backwards on landing. First point of contact was probably her ski tails (lost both skis). Second point of contact was her lower back.

I completely agree with your comments re skiing too fast or too hard, when you only have yourself to blame.

In this situation, we were skiing very slowly, taking things easy because of the weather.
The ironic thing is that if she were skiing faster she might have been on her toes, ready for anything, and not fallen. I'm pretty sure most falls happen to advanced-expert skiers when they are NOT pushing their luck.
post #37 of 71
Originally Posted by Liquidnails
I guess I'd better understand if I hailed from the good 'ol US of A.
and I'd be a whole lot happier if we Americans followed your better example regarding personal liability/responsibility as practiced north of the border, Liquidnails.

(although I hear that in Vancouver there's a thriving personal injury bar : )
post #38 of 71
Originally Posted by henry
I am curious to know how snow groomers decide where and how to groom. Does each resort have a grooming manual, or a set of guidelines? Surely the resort would have a ‘safe grooming policy’ of some nature.

Incidentally, I was an employed member of the resorts ski school at the time, as were the buddies we were skiing with.

I would still be interested in any input from experienced groomers, ski area managers etc etc
So you actually worked at this place, yet came here for us to give you input on what we think your employers grooming policy would be? You worked there, you would know better than us..................................
post #39 of 71

Emergency backseat.

Originally Posted by Ghost
The ironic thing is that if she were skiing faster she might have been on her toes, ready for anything, and not fallen..
I've been waiting for someone to point this out. Thanks, Ghost.
post #40 of 71
I am sorry that your wife injured herself. My wife broke her back skiing as well, ok it was snowboarding. It was in the spring time and the temp was well over freezing. The ramp that would have normally sent her out at about a 30 degree trajectory had rotted so that the snow collapsed and shot her up 25' strait up. She jackknifed and landed right on her butt. IIRC she had a 50% compression of her L1. Over the next year she had to relearn walking, bending, using the bathroom.... During her 14 hours of surgery and her ongoing PT the question of the park builders responsibility never crossed either of our minds.

PS. Klinikum Grosshadern saved my wifes life.
post #41 of 71
I am not in agreement that ski patrol should be marking every little thing on the mountain. Do you mark for the level 5 skier on a blue, or the level 7 skier on a double black? What a cluttered pile of crap you'd have to look at!

I've seen those type of grooming cuts in those kind of trails. Silver Mountain, where I got most of my experience beyond the Green Circles, is famous for them. Some runs have about 4 of those tremendous drops onto cat tracks and the trail picks up on the other side of it again. They were never marked. Your eyes told you there was a drop. The trail map had them on there as green trails crossing your path.

If you didn't see it, you had to be going too fast regardless of conditions, not paying attention to the map, or just stupid.

It's a valuable and spendy lesson, but one well learned. I hope she recovers fully and is able to enjoy skiing again.
post #42 of 71
Death cookies and bigger bogie boulders , "Coffins" from cats stuck in soft spring snow. The groomers try to avod making them. All grooming fleets have some kind of hand book of procedures. The mountains would never get insurance if they did not. The groomers work with the patrol to mark hazards appropriate to the trail. Remember, trail ratings, green, blue, black, square, circle, diamond, etc. are all relative to the mountain. Not to all ski areas. That blue could by my black. Changing Natural Hazards, like visibility, do not change the relative difficulty of a trail. (We put almost no hazard markings on black runs except the "blanket warning at the top "for advanced skiers") As a patrol person, when fog rolls in, or a storm kicks up we do not go out marking "unseen hazards" that are not marked when visibility is good. We may close the run completely. But I have never "Uprated" a trail due to hazards or conditions.

Humans have a low tolerance for impact.

post #43 of 71
posted by Cgrandy:

As a patrol person, when fog rolls in, or a storm kicks up we do not go out marking "unseen hazards" that are not marked when visibility is good.
post #44 of 71
Not sure how the resort could be liable for this, isn't it disclaimed in the waiver? Also, wouldn't a reasonble person expect to encounter man made or natural occuring hazards while skiing on a mountain? I don't see how you can expect perfectly groomed slopes, unless you stick to the bunny hill. For the sake of the argument, what if an internal grooming policy (if one existed) wasn't followed, would the person have a case then? Either way I'd hope not.
post #45 of 71
Just curious. How many of you have had to make a hard right to avoid a head-on with a snow cat?
post #46 of 71
I have not seen a cat on the hill during normal hours for quite sometime /
Snowmobiles are another story.
post #47 of 71

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's injury and I hope she's recovered or will relatively soon.

An archive search might not turn it up very well, but there have been a number of posters on Epic over the years who have been trolling for ammo to support various kinds of lawsuits against ski areas, ski/binding manufacturers, etc. Most showed up here with a message or two and then disappeared.

This board tends to be *very* unkind to that type of query- we don't like lawsuits against ski areas except for the most egregious of reasons (and even then we don't like them : ). Maybe you *weren't* looking for support for a potential lawsuit but it sure reads that way to a lot of us.

You already told us your wife is an "expert" skier, the visibility was poor, and she was on an intermediate run. I won't put it quite as graphically as Gonzo, but if I were on your prospective jury you wouldn't get past the opening arguments - and I'd hit you with court costs and opposing legal fees to boot and maybe a "pain and suffering" award to the ski area if the judge would let me get away with it.

Good luck to your wife.
post #48 of 71
Originally Posted by Bonni
When I made the statement about marking obstacles, it was in the context of the Patrol opening the mountain. I agree that we can't mark all obstacles that might be a problem to a lower intermediate skier. For crying out loud, there would be lolliepops all over the freakin place.

I merely stated that it was the responcibility of the Patrol not the groomers to make the decission what to open or close.

we can't control the changing conditions throughout the day but if a dangerrous situation such as a fissure or runout should open up in the slope, then it would have to be marked or closed.

If I were a resort operator i'd sure as hell close down my hill if the fog was so bad you couldn't see.

My opinion as a patroller was this, once you mark with a lolliepop what you deem as dangerous, you and the resort have now recognized that indeed, this is a dangerous spot. It makes more liability. So, don't mark anything?
Can't do that either, that's a liability.

So, what do we do? We write on the back of the pass that the holder of such pass gives up all right to sue the resort. You assume all risks.

Does that stop lawsuits? No. I personally had to testify at a lawsuit hearing for a lady injured while skiing. I will elaberate when I have more time, but the lady, an employee of the resort, and a friend of mine, an excellent skier, won quite a bit of money in an out of court settlement. Thus, the rich get richer.

Sort it all out but i'm not putting any blame on the Patrol.

And besides, if this guy has a beef and wants to sue, who cares. We don't know all the situations. Maybe he has good intentions and just wants to recoup medical expenses.
post #49 of 71
They groomed during the day at Vail when the wife & I were there last December. They were going so slow it would be darn near impossible not to notice them and when they were anywhere they thought they might not be seen from above the bells and horns were going full blast. There lights were ALWAYS flashing as well. I skied several trails they were grooming as I went by and had zero issues with it. Probably harder to pull off here in the east due to average trail width.
post #50 of 71
Originally Posted by Cgrandy
As a patrol person, when fog rolls in, or a storm kicks up we do not go out marking "unseen hazards" that are not marked when visibility is good.
Our mountain runs those neon lollipops down the middle of the trail when fog rolls in. That's not marking hazards, but on trails with trees lining the sides, it's the difference between staying on the trail and heading over a cliff.
post #51 of 71
To be fair to Henry, he didn't come in with any talk of a lawsuit. He asked a simple, logical question, that I think is fair enough.

That said, I think the venom in the responses is understandable given our love for skiing and the current litigious climate in North America.

While I'm not an expert on grooming or patrolling, I don't think, in this case, anyone was neligent. Nor do I think the snowcat track was the true cause of the accident. Variable surfaces are to be expected when skiing, even on intermediate trails. That ramped snowcat track that launched Henry's wife could just as easily have been a mogul.

It's understandable that the fact that it was man-made leads to questions of "should it have been there?". The reality is, yeah, it should have been. Snowcat tracks, no matter how imperfect, are a legitimate part of groomed slopes, just as divots are a legimimate part of golf courses. We can try to minimize them, but you can and will have the bad luck to cross them. The true cause of the accident was the poor visibility. Also, given that your wife was skiing fast enough to be shot in the air rather than just slowed down by the ramp, it tells me you were probably skiing faster than the visibility dictated.
post #52 of 71
Originally Posted by Reisen
To be fair to Henry, he didn't come in with any talk of a lawsuit. He asked a simple, logical question, that I think is fair enough.
I don't think so..i think there were ulterior motives with his question.
post #53 of 71
day grooming,, a lawsuit waiting to happen. The best skier does fall once in awhile, so whos to say they are skiing near a 'cat', loses control, slide into the path. Snow turns red real fast. Groomers cant stop on a dime.
DV tried day grooming a couple of warm days in years past, just wasn't worth it, for the man power of having patrol trying to control the crowds wanting freash grooming.
DV now pulls the cats off the hilll by 9am. Then if they are late they are escourted by a patrol on a snowmobile. Any time a groomer has to be on the mt. during daylight, they do get escourted.
I'm amazed at how many foolish people thinks it's fun to ski as close as possble to a piece of heavy equipment.
post #54 of 71
Originally Posted by tahoetr
I'm amazed at how many foolish people thinks it's fun to ski as close as possble to a piece of heavy equipment.
I've driven in the day ( against my wishes) and their is an inverse relationship between the ability of the skier vs the distance they will leave between themselves and your cat.

A skier hit my cat while the day driver was out (yes they used to run an actual full shift). I also personally know 2 guys who have hit cats on two occasions 7 years apart. The bizarre thing is the first guy who hit was skiing with the second guy and he hit the cat in about the same place on the mountain. Poor planning all around to be sure.
post #55 of 71
Man y'all are harsh. W need some snow up in here!
post #56 of 71
Grooming procedures and injuries...

I'm disappointed. I thought this thread was going to be about the dangers of a sloppy bikini wax.
post #57 of 71
LZ you still a groomer?
I got to know most of them at DV. use to go for ride alongs with them for a full shift. It's a differant world out there at night.
post #58 of 71
Henry's question is understandable under the circumstances, at least to me. I think he wants to know what the heck happened and does anybody think about this issue. The responding comments confirm my impression that grooming tends to be a learned skill for any particular area, probably limited by the people you learned the trade from and not accompanied by much in the way of communicated best practices. I'd guess there is more intellectual brainpower expended on, for instance, hand position trivia on this board than on the industry-wide thinking about grooming work which does have the potential to kill people. I'm sure someone more informed will let me know about Cat Driver U but to date I have not heard about it.

My two cents: you run into grooming issues when you have hill design issues. In many places you apparently "have" to run cat roads back and forth across the hill. While challenging, they do disrupt the natural flow of the hill. And, in some cases they have nasty drops. My experience is that better areas will tend to figure out a way to lay out a hill or work the hill without this issue and the places that are more challenged will do the minimum. For instance, most areas I've seen mark off the shoulder of a halfpipe if there's a chance for an oops from potential traffic and that seems pretty considerate to me.

If we had someone on the board who was a student of legal history, they might tell of interesting parallels between the situation Henry's wife experienced and development of the law of torts, which featured cases where unmarked pits were left beside public highways for travellers to fall in during the dark night hours. It was apparently centuries ago in England, when the courts of that unenlightened time decided that was a legitimate grievance. For myself, I think this described situation is different and not just because of a release or a concept that whatever happens at a ski area is the fault of the person involved. I think that a sportsperson probably should expect periodic hard contact with the ground because, frankly, skiing involves balance challenges. However, maybe my standard is a little tougher than the aspirations of an industry that wants to be user-friendly to all sorts and abilities. Grooming issues are not user-friendly and most areas that are thinking about their customers know it.
post #59 of 71
I have never seen a discussion here about Good versus bad grooming / I do not want to give the impression that an area should be liable for injury caused by Mountain or snow conditions / however I have observed that some areas generally have better (Groomers) mountain consistency than others.
Squaw Valley, known for its extreme terrain also grooms a very large amount of terrain, the problem is they are (CHEAP SCATES)!! The grooming is very inconsistent (It sucks)
Home-Wood OTOH has had the same people working there forever!! And although they do not have the most challenging terrain, the grooming / Snow management is first class.
I could go through and rate most of the areas around Tahoe but the two mentioned above are the Worst / Best IMHO>

post #60 of 71
grooming is for sallies and the sooner people realize that Henry's first post STATED UP FRONT THAT HE WAS CONSIDERING A NEGLIGENCE LAWSUIT,

the sooner we can be done with Henry and his fishing expedition.

you lot who feel empathy for Henry should join him in the sand pounding room and pulpify your hands on the evil silica grains.
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