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Who's responsible?

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
This pertains to another thread in the General Ski Discussion which has become quite heated and of which I have posted my last thought on the matter.

It has brought up some good questions though which Gonzo brought up.

Who is responsible for someone who has purchased a lift ticket or holds a season pass at a Resort and decides to take it on his own and duck a rope or knowingly ski a closed trail or out of the ski area boundary?

Who is responsible if that person becomes injured or his actions cause the death or injury of another person?

Who is responsible for his rescue if he becomes lost, injured or injures someone else?

I worked at a Resort here in the East for ten years, so I know what my responsibility as a Patroller was. I also know from many ski trips to Colorado, Utah, and the Northwest some of their policies but not all of them.

I'm no angel when it comes to this discussion or the other. I've ducked a rope or two in my life and skied a few closed runs for the glory of poaching powder. And is it really ducking the rope when the gate is only ten feet away?

But what I have realized over many years of patrolling is the difference between right and wrong when it comes to skiing. When to respect danger when it is presented to me. I understand what the argument is from both sides. It's the beligerant person who doesn't care who is put at risk for one's self pleasure. If you think it's no big deal, you're wrong.
post #2 of 72
I think you have already answered your own question.
post #3 of 72
If you choose to go somewhere closed/out of bounds, it is your OWN responsibility.
post #4 of 72
And you (or your next of kin) are responsible for the cost of your rescue (or recovery) if out of bounds-
post #5 of 72
it's the same as if you never used any part of the ski area.

a lift ticket is not a skier's insurance policy. it doesn't follow you wherever you go. it doesn't apply when you're OB, so its few perks that are included along with the lift access (ski patrol, grooming, a parking lot, maybe more) also don't apply.

while I appreciate the ski patrol's task of helping prevent injuries resulting from an ill-equipped skier venturing into a temporary OB (roped off but on-area) that has been marked OB for safety purposes,

I don't think that the ski area or its ski patrol should have any responsibilities of ANY kind when the skier is OB ... UNLESS ... the skier went OB accidentally because the ski area failed to mark its boundary properly.

I've never skied anywhere where this "poorly marked boundary" seemed to be an issue -- I'm just hypothesizing.
post #6 of 72
Principles of First Aid in USA:-

1/ Ask the patient if they have medical insurance. If not, ask for cash on the spot, if they don't have cash, walk away.

2/ Call the patient's insurance company to ensure that the treatment you may need to give is covered by their policy.

3/ The insurance company will want to know who is responsible for the injury, there is no such thing as a simple accident, someone (else) must be held accountable and sued for this injury. Find this person and get their insurance details, if they don't have insurance call the Police and have them arrested.

4/ Once the insurance company has extracted the money from the person responsible for the injury get them to give you an assurance in writing that they will cover any and all trumped up expenses.

5/ Get the patient to sign a document giving up their right to sue for medical malpractise.

6/ Apply treatment (if the patient hasn't died in the mean time).
post #7 of 72
Thread Starter 
Kiwi, Are you sure you're not from New York?
post #8 of 72
In Oregon, the ski areas have the right to charge the OB skier $1000 per hour for the benefit of being rescued. Only problem is that most OB jumper types are judgment proof. So, it just reinforces the predictable responsibility of the already responsible. Gahhhhhhhhhh!!!

Mark
post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog
In Oregon, the ski areas have the right to charge the OB skier $1000 per hour for the benefit of being rescued. Only problem is that most OB jumper types are judgment proof. So, it just reinforces the predictable responsibility of the already responsible. Gahhhhhhhhhh!!!

Mark
the OB skier should be responsible.

Darwinistically speaking, the backcountry rescue folks should be called in only by the lost person who is able to pay, but I've been caught short economically before and wouldn't like to be refused rescue strictly because of the moneysaving whim of the accountants. some things have no real economic price, like saving one's life. what do you think Aron Ralston would pay to get the rest of his arm back?
post #10 of 72
while I appreciate the ski patrol's task of helping prevent injuries resulting from an ill-equipped skier venturing into a temporary OB (roped off but on-area) that has been marked OB for safety purposes



Again as in the other thread Gonzo, you continue to confuse OB with in area closure. They are two distinctly different issues. When something within the defined boundaries is closed, it is NOT Out of Bounds.

Out of Bounds is terrain that is not a part of the ski area and not subject to their control. Understand?
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
while I appreciate the ski patrol's task of helping prevent injuries resulting from an ill-equipped skier venturing into a temporary OB (roped off but on-area) that has been marked OB for safety purposes



Again as in the other thread Gonzo, you continue to confuse OB with in area closure. They are two distinctly different issues. When something within the defined boundaries is closed, it is NOT Out of Bounds.

Out of Bounds is terrain that is not a part of the ski area and not subject to their control. Understand?
what the heck is your problem, bunion?

I don't have an "understanding" issue. I don't know what you think you are gaining by spinning my posts to make me seem the bad guy. sheesh. go whiz on someone else's begonias.
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
Again as in the other thread Gonzo, you continue to confuse OB with in area closure. They are two distinctly different issues. When something within the defined boundaries is closed, it is NOT Out of Bounds.

Out of Bounds is terrain that is not a part of the ski area and not subject to their control. Understand?
Except you're wrong. "Out of Bounds" is areas which are "out of bounds for use of the skiers/boarders", whether they are within the ski area, or outside it. The same rules apply in other sports, such as golf, or when in private or public property - a room in the White House is "withing the building of the White House", but just cause you bought a ticket for a tour of the White House doesn't mean you can go into the rooms marked "Out of Bounds". These are places your ticket does not permit you to be, and by so doing, you forfeit the right of protection from White House guards, and now become a target for them, and it's your own fault.

Here's the golf definition:
Out of Bounds
“Out of bounds’’ is beyond the boundaries of the course or any part of the course so marked by the Committee.
(This is the USGA definition, which is almost identical to the R&A one)
post #13 of 72
Gonzo don't be so prickly, I am not spinning anything, I don't think you are "bad". That was exactly what you wrote.

An example: March 1985, Park City UT. End of a world cup race event. 2 brothers duck a roped off, in area closure. The area is signed with Area Closed signs every 100 feet. They trigger an avalanche. It runs on to a green trail, buries a woman who is snowplowing along and minding her own business. She is killed.

The family sues PCMR and settles out of court for a substantial sum of money. The boys are not punished, but have to live with the fact that they killed someone.

Think thay had the "right" to decide that ducking that rope was o.k. for them?

I helped to string that boundary, I was on scene at that rescue and was deposed in that pre-trial procedure.

Perhaps now you can begin to grasp a bit of the background.


Fox Hat, your example pertains to a game that has rules to determine the number of shots to a hole. By being "out of bounds" you are given penalty strokes. A ski area in the United States has Boundaries that define its extent and what services lie within. The area operator is responsible to those services and hazards and has the absolute right to regulate access to portions of the in area terrain and open or close those areas as they or their agents or employees decide. If a trail is closed, it is a closed area, not "out of bounds"
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
Fox Hat, your example pertains to a game that has rules to determine the number of shots to a hole. By being "out of bounds" you are given penalty strokes. A ski area in the United States has Boundaries that define its extent and what services lie within. The area operator is responsible to those services and hazards and has the absolute right to regulate access to portions of the in area terrain and open or close those areas as they or their agents or employees decide. If a trail is closed, it is a closed area, not "out of bounds"
What is the difference between an area which is closed and an area which is closed?
You seem to have ignored my example of going round the White House.

But, based on your argument, if I am somewhere in a ski resort, even if that place is "out of bounds for a member of the public", sorry, to use your words "a closed area", then it is not my responsibility, but the ski resorts, is that what you are saying?
post #15 of 72
See, using your argument, if I climb a ladder into the lift mechanism, and injure myself, then it's not my fault - it was within the ski resort, therefore I am allowed anywhere, according to your concepts of "if I buy a lift ticket, I am no longer responsible for where I go or what I do, as long as I stay within the ski resort area, whether it is a public or private place, open or closed.
post #16 of 72
In the United States there is basically a line around the ski area that defines its scope and extent. Outside of that line is "out of boundary" or the slang term, out of bounds.

Within the boundary or confines of the boundary is the "ski area" If a portion of the area is closed, such as a trail, you aren't supposed to enter into that area. If you choose to do so an are injured, with american liability the way it currently is, anything can happen.

I believe you ski mostly in Europe? This is mostly a system unique to the U.S. I have been told that in EU, about the only closures are to protect forested areas.
post #17 of 72
bunion, I ski mostly in the US. "Out of bounds" isn't a slang term, but is a standard phrase to describe an area which is not open to the public, whether it belongs to a ski resort, a building, or whatever. Perhaps if you chose youre words more carefully, you might have a point, but using the term "out of bounds" as you have to specify an area beyond the ski area boundary rope shows a very poor grasp of the English language on your part.
post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
If you choose to do so an are injured, with american liability the way it currently is, anything can happen.
This shows the immaturity of a nation that has no concept of personal responsibility.
If I choose to break a rule, by skiing in a closed area (to use your language), then it is MY responsibility.

If I choose to drice down the wrong side of the road, and I hit a truck, using your concept, then I have the right to sue the truck driver, simply because he was doing the right thing, and obeying the law, while I was breaking it.
post #19 of 72
With all due respect Mr. Hat

Out of bounds is a slang term that indicates the areas beyond the ski area operating terrain.

21 years as a professional ski patroller, risk manager and currently Director of Ski patrol at a large western ski area back my credentials.

There is no such thing as in area out of bounds except in some peoples minds.

Have to go to work now, to open the in area, not out of bounds closed portions of my ski area. Have a great day.
post #20 of 72
For Gonzo and Mr. Hat.

http://www.montanasnowbowl.com/


note the line around the ski area that delineate the "ski area boundary"?

post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
This shows the immaturity of a nation that has no concept of personal responsibility.
As a US citizen, I'd like to take exception to this comment and disagree.

The only problem is, I can't because you're dead on here except for one thing. Not only have we become a society that won't accept responsibility for it's own actions, but we're greedy on top of that fact.

Many of these lawsuits result from people (and their lawyers) simply just trying to make a buck. They include the resorts in these lawsuits for one reason, regardless of who's at fault: They are thought to have the $$ to pay up.
post #22 of 72
You guys are fighting just for the sake of fighting. Everyone knows the difference. In bounds but closed means it's an area that is closed to the public, but is under control, maintenance and supervision of the ski area. OOB means it is not an area that is controlled, maintained or supervised by the ski area - basically, not their land. It could be privately owned land, and by going into it, you are trespassing (as with Silverton mountain's boundaries).

But back to Lars' question, I think that we all agree that the skier who ventures into any area that is off limits to him/her is responsible for their actions and any damage or injury they create, such as setting off a slide that kills someone else.

Once you get OOB, it would depend on the local laws, who owns the land, etc. If there are signs at the boundary ropes that say you are responsible for the cost of your own rescue, then I guess you are.

However, what about back country skiers? Let's say you earn your turns and never venture into a ski area. Who is responsible for paying for your rescue? Does this somehow change if you bought a lift ticket, then traversed or hiked to an area outside of the ski area? Why would it be any different than if you didn't buy a lift ticket and skinned your way up, just outside of the ski area boundary? In other words, why does it matter how I got there?
post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
You guys are fighting just for the sake of fighting. Everyone knows the difference. In bounds but closed means it's an area that is closed to the public, but is under control, maintenance and supervision of the ski area. OOB means it is not an area that is controlled, maintained or supervised by the ski area - basically, not their land. It could be privately owned land, and by going into it, you are trespassing (as with Silverton mountain's boundaries).

But back to Lars' question, I think that we all agree that the skier who ventures into any area that is off limits to him/her is responsible for their actions and any damage or injury they create, such as setting off a slide that kills someone else.

Once you get OOB, it would depend on the local laws, who owns the land, etc. If there are signs at the boundary ropes that say you are responsible for the cost of your own rescue, then I guess you are.

However, what about back country skiers? Let's say you earn your turns and never venture into a ski area. Who is responsible for paying for your rescue? Does this somehow change if you bought a lift ticket, then traversed or hiked to an area outside of the ski area? Why would it be any different than if you didn't buy a lift ticket and skinned your way up, just outside of the ski area boundary? In other words, why does it matter how I got there?
How much clearer could it be?

If you want to go off on an adventure and you get hurt or lost, don't blame the resort when they call 911 instead of sending their employees into the "fire".

When you get the bill, pay it! Can't afford to pay the consequences to your adventure? Don't do it!
post #24 of 72

John

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH

But back to Lars' question, I think that we all agree that the skier who ventures into any area that is off limits to him/her is responsible for their actions and any damage or injury they create, such as setting off a slide that kills someone else.
We can say that one is responsible, but what do the courts say, what sticks. It seems that a disclosure is required under these circumstances. I bet that policies vary from mountain to mountain and town to town.

If a rescue is posible, then to not rescue might create liability and ethical issues. "We decided to leave him out there as an example to others".

I think Bunion has been more articulate in this thread than the other. He explained area boundaries pretty well for me. If I were him I would not want to have to go out into harsh back country to rescue someone.

Finally, what about the insurance that is sold in Europe that covers the cost of rescue for people who get lost. Can you imagin how Americans would react to that. Like a life insurance policy that insures against death.
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul jones
We can say that one is responsible, but what do the courts say, what sticks. It seems that a disclosure is required under these circumstances. I bet that policies vary from mountain to mountain and town to town.
Paul, I'm not picking on you but you posed a question.....
I am the Risk Management Advisor for our local Motocross track. When a person want's to participate in our races he signs 3 separate waivers. One as a spectator, one as a general liability for being on the track and one as a racer in the event.
ALL spectators also have to sign a waiver when they enter the front gate. AND MINORS.....you should see the form we have for the minor and parent to fill out! With BOTH parents signatures to assure that a divorcee isn't bringing his kid to race without the custodial parents permission.
(48% of the racers at our track are under the age of 18)

Do ski resorts have to eventually get to a point where they require you sign a "release of liability" before they sell you a lift ticket?
Wait til you see the line at the ticket window when that happens.
post #26 of 72
Generally speaking, "liability releases" aren't worth the paper they're written on. That is, you can have people sign away all you want, but if an injury occurs and your area is found negligent, they will be held liable.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
Generally speaking, "liability releases" aren't worth the paper they're written on. That is, you can have people sign away all you want, but if an injury occurs and your area is found negligent, they will be held liable.
OH trust me....I've sat through meetings after meetings. I am aware of the value of the "release of liabilty". But...we still do everything in our power to protect our liability as we can. AND it does offer protection from the "riders" responsibility point.(if it's just a risk of the sport or if the rider does something dramatically stupid)
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
What is the difference between an area which is closed and an area which is closed?
You seem to have ignored my example of going round the White House.

But, based on your argument, if I am somewhere in a ski resort, even if that place is "out of bounds for a member of the public", sorry, to use your words "a closed area", then it is not my responsibility, but the ski resorts, is that what you are saying?
right.

bunion makes a semantical difference into something almighty, presumably so that he -- the almighty patroller with a pugnacious glare -- can be the arbiter who declares just exactly what's what.

closed is closed. call it OB call it "not OB because it's in area but it's still closed but we call it something other than OB and other than closed"...

...

...that looks like the arbitrary makework of a bureaucrat, not a skier.

end of story.
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
For Gonzo and Mr. Hat.

http://www.montanasnowbowl.com/


note the line around the ski area that delineate the "ski area boundary"?

if you skied there regularly you would know that there are many -- perhaps as much as 65% of the skiers/boarders -- who ignore those signs because they're chasing good snow, as cheap seats described.

bunion, you are probably a good guy and we'd probably laugh more than fight if we rode a chair together.

your posts make you sound like a guy itching for a fight. and when it comes to patrol issues, Lars sometimes gets that way. I guess it's part of the way the patrol must behave where you two ski. there's a reason why many skiers and boarders reflexively dislike patrollers, dismissing them as rent-a-cops disguised as mountain safety folks. it's because of the authoritative, cop-like attitude that some carry with them when they are wearing the red background/white cross, for reasons that I don't know, but will assume are because of the policies at the particular ski area.

Lost Trail has a few on their patrol who can be cop-like. but largely they're good folks, probably because Yoda helps them with their skiing and they are Patrollers to be first aid primarily, witih area sweeps at day's end also being a big part of it.

back east the patrollers often were cop-like, if my memory is accurate.

at Snowbowl they're so laid back you almost never see them. but they have more duties there, avy control being one of them. and I'll bet they were up there early this AM.
post #30 of 72
Coach13-The only problem is, I can't because you're dead on here except for one thing. Not only have we become a society that won't accept responsibility for it's own actions, but we're greedy on top of that fact.

What happened to Merika? Bad parental guidence,too much violence on TV or was it in the food.
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