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Colo. skier safety act changes: input? - Page 2

post #31 of 51
Today's RMN story says that Summit County expects to fine about 80 people for violating the act this season, and there have been 7 searches for missing out-of-bounds skiers or snowboarders.
post #32 of 51
Quote:
but I'm not sure why the state needs to protect me from the consequences of my own actions.
I'm not sure why people don't get this. A major point of this legislation is to protect the ski area from being sued by people who don't take responsibilty for their stupid actions or the survivors of such people.

If there's a law that specifically says that a particular action is illegal and has consequences, it makes it harder to sue in situations that involve that action.
post #33 of 51
"(2) Each skier has the duty to maintain control of his speed and course at all times when skiing"

My problem with the above is that it is seperated from the section below with the conjunction "and" so it could stand on it's own. This is a problem for me because it leaves too much room for interpretation. "maintain control of his speed" could be interpreted by someone who wants to make money by handing out speeding tickets on the slopes, much like they do on super highways, as skiing over xx miles per hour. I personally don't want to see that happen.


The rest, "and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and objects. However, the primary duty shall be on the person skiing downhill to avoid collision with any person or objects below him.", is fine.
post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbd
The real story (from one of the participants) is here.

The were planning to dig a pit after skiing down the lower-angled (25-28 degree) slopes at the top, but the avy released while the first skier was starting down. They also called Copper ski patrol headquarters twice before the search, and got themselves out safely. They did duck a rope to get there, but the rest of what you say is pretty much irrelevant to this case. They could have gotten there through a backcountry gate (with a longer hike) anyway.
jrdb,

I respectfully disagree with you.

I read that story. Heck, I even discussed it in an avy class recently as a case study. My comments are very relevent to making informed decisions and correct assesments in the BC. Albeit, they are slightly off topic to the OP. However, they are very salient points to the topic of boundary crossing to access the BC; who's doing it; why it's a problem; how to solve it.

Skiing an avy run-out zone was a bad call given the snow stability, time of day, and that particular aspect.

The intention of digging a pit at a trigger release point in a avy runout zone? Can you say avy savvy? Did they rope off? Nope.

They didn't need to go to the trouble of starting in Breck and hiking out to the ridge and skiing down to a representative slope angle only to find a deep layer of facets. Any west facing slope in the area would have shown those facets because there were so many cold nights prior to the date.

Checking the CAIC report would have been even easier and would have resulted in the same information. They didn't do that.

Skiing their intended line before noon is not a hard and fast rule, but it certainly is a good practice. They missed that window.

They all admitted that their preparedness was very lacking.

I know very well the conditions during that time because I was following the conditions in that area and was in the BC too.

Their intention was obvious. Skiing that line was the first priority, preparation, assesment and safety came second. Go figure... the most likely demographic to trigger an avalanche is men 20-25.
post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven
Exceptions to my previous statement do exist. Does anyone remember last season when the three Copper Ski and Ride employees who crossed out of bounds in Breck to ski the west facing aspect of the 10 mile Range? Those guys knew all too well that they were violating law. Their actions triggered two slides and caused a full S&R incident. Whether a higher fine would have deterred them is subject for debate. I would bet dollars to donuts that education would play a more significant role in their decision. Just the fact that they hadn't even entered the skiable terrain until late afternoon; no evidence that a hasty pit was dug; no evidence of their having a beacon, shovel and probe, and the list goes on and on. They were clueless about how to plan, evaluate, and make a safe terrain travel decision was obvious. In this case, a judicially mandated Avy class would be much more useful than a monetary fine.

You really need to get your facts straight on this and not make assumptions. You are either making up the facts or severely misinformed. Trust me, I know.
post #36 of 51
Then educate us cmsummit.
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz
Actually these "guys" were attempting to ride the SKY chutes and were carrying avy gear. I do not know them personally but they do a fair amount of backcountry and nothing has lead me to believe that they are reckless. When they set off the first slide they called Copper Ski patrol to let them know they were ok. Unfortunately a second slide was triggered that they were unaware of.
thank you.
post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbd
They also called Copper ski patrol headquarters twice before the search, and got themselves out safely.
The first time they called they said one sentence (total) and hung up the phone. Patrol didn't understand what they said. The second time they didn't say anything and hung up on patrol. It actually made the situation worse.
post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven
jrdb,

Checking the CAIC report would have been even easier and would have resulted in the same information. They didn't do that.

Skiing their intended line before noon is not a hard and fast rule, but it certainly is a good practice. They missed that window.

They all admitted that their preparedness was very lacking.
Where the hell do you get this erroneous info? It appears to me you've somehow concocted it on your own. People such as yourself who were not up there they day and not involved whatsoever in the decision making processes or the situations at hand, should not be giving insight to the incident.

1.I'm on the CAIC everday and monitor snow conditions and stability on a daily basis. Checked it that day. Danger was rated moderate. So many other factors aside from the "moderate" rating come into play and all of those factors were taken into account that day. Not sure what "cold nights" you're talking about, regardless, all it takes is a temp gradient greater than 10C per meter of snowpack for faceted depth hoar to form.

2.Definitely a good rule of thumb, but not something that's concrete. I certainly made a mistake that day in misjudging the rising temps. Something that's alot easier to do when you're hiking along the 10 Mile range in the howling wind. I carry a thermometer with me in the bc these days.

3.Not one of us admitted that our preparedness was lacking like you suggest. The only fact I admitted to was ducking a rope. I'm ALWAYS prepared for situations in the bc and safety is ALWAYS my main concern.

I'm not some 20 year old renegade as you suggest. I'm a 33 year old civil engineer with a decade of backcountry experience.
post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn
The first time they called they said one sentence (total) and hung up the phone. Patrol didn't understand what they said. The second time they didn't say anything and hung up on patrol. It actually made the situation worse.
not true, my brother called Toby at ski patrol and spoke with him for approximately 45 seconds on the first call, we were very specific on our location and the condition of everybody involved. I was standing right there. The second call was shorter, but we made it very clear that we were safe.

You guys can believe what you want and make shit up, but I was there that day and know exactly how it all occurred.
post #41 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by telebob
The Colorado Legislature is currently considering some changes to the skier safety act that would up fines from $300 to $1000 for cutting ropes and other violations, based on the urging of Summit County Sheriff John Minor.
State lawmakers across the country always think they are improving the quality of life by increasing fines and mandatory jail sentences. States do this with drug laws, zero tolerance DWI for under 21, .08 DWI limit, and many other laws. The problem is there is no education follow up to inform the public that the fines or laws have changed. Hence the changed laws do little to reduce crime. District Attorneys are less likely to do a slap on the risk for young first time offender given the state legislatures keeps increasing the fines, zero tolerance laws, and jail time for under 21 offenders. The short and long term financial impact to the families can be considerable for legal fees and loss of employment opportunities given a one time criminal record. There is also the impact to the community paying for jail time and more dependence on public assistance due to loss of wages and college loan opportunities for having a criminal record.

IMHO - In general education reduces crime more than increasing fines and mandatory jail time for first time offendors.

Will increasing the fine from $300 to $1000 reduce cutting ropes? Not without a lot of education follow up.
post #42 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker
I'm not sure why people don't get this. A major point of this legislation is to protect the ski area from being sued by people who don't take responsibilty for their stupid actions or the survivors of such people.

If there's a law that specifically says that a particular action is illegal and has consequences, it makes it harder to sue in situations that involve that action.
I agree that resorts need protection from people who don't take responsibility for their own actions. I just think prohibiting those actions is the wrong way to do so. Liberty and responsibility are two sides of the same coin, and I'd prefer a legal code that encourages a high degree of both to a legal code that encourages a low degree of both.
post #43 of 51
Which "prohibited actions" do you think should not be in the law?

I basically agree with you about the liberty/responsibility stuff. The problem is that people often change their position after talking with a lawyer who dangles "free money" in front of them. The other problem with people "taking liberties" is that they typically ignore the social cost of such actions.

Jackson Hole lets you go "BC" but you have to go through special gates (where there are signs posted).

Quote:
"maintain control of his speed" could be interpreted by someone who wants to make money by handing out speeding tickets on the slopes
Speed limits on highways are explicit. I think it would be hard to start passing out speeding tickets on a ski slope without a change in the law. Interpreting "maintaining control of his speed" might be subjective but have people really had a problem with this? I suspect that the evidence of the failure to "maintain speed" is stuff like running into people or chair poles, etc.
post #44 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker
Which "prohibited actions" do you think should not be in the law?
I guess in this case, I was referring to the example of someone who jumps a rope to ski backcountry and gets fined $1000 for doing so. In my opinion this is much less preferable to a law that allows for skiing the backcountry from the lift, but absolves the ski area from responsibility for the actions of the out of bounds skier.
post #45 of 51
Maybe, the point of this is avoid the ambiguity of an "out of bounds" rope versus a "closed run" rope. (Keep in mind that it might be unreasonable for the ski area to post signs frequently along the "out of bounds" rope.)

The likelyhood of getting busted for going under an "out of bounds" rope is really slim unless there's a problem (eg, a need for rescue) or one is really sloppy. Maybe, the $1000 is a "nuisance fee".
post #46 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills
State lawmakers across the country always think they are improving the quality of life by increasing fines and mandatory jail sentences. States do this with drug laws, zero tolerance DWI for under 21, .08 DWI limit, and many other laws. The problem is there is no education follow up to inform the public that the fines or laws have changed. Hence the changed laws do little to reduce crime. District Attorneys are less likely to do a slap on the risk for young first time offender given the state legislatures keeps increasing the fines, zero tolerance laws, and jail time for under 21 offenders. The short and long term financial impact to the families can be considerable for legal fees and loss of employment opportunities given a one time criminal record. There is also the impact to the community paying for jail time and more dependence on public assistance due to loss of wages and college loan opportunities for having a criminal record.

IMHO - In general education reduces crime more than increasing fines and mandatory jail time for first time offendors.

Will increasing the fine from $300 to $1000 reduce cutting ropes? Not without a lot of education follow up.
Interesting and thoughtful comment. I get the sense that the move to raise the fines is a frustrated response by the local sheriff after some costly and time consuming search operations earlier this season. Thanks for this. It's food for thought for future follow up stories.
post #47 of 51
Thread Starter 
Here's the Vail Daily's take on the story, with some serious misinterpretations and inaccuracies, such as the reporter stating that "the backcountry is not covered under the law." What the @#$* is that supposed to mean? Sometimes I cringe at the stuff we in the media put out there. In this case, the story probably confuses the entire issue more than anything else. Sorry about that.

http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20060215/NEWS/60215008
post #48 of 51
At Baker we solved the problem in the BC, while still mainaining the open boundry policy. Here we enforce having the proper gear, knowledge and a partner, as long as you have that you are free to do what you want. Since we implemented that policy and enforced with with patrol and others havingthe right to pull violater's passes we have nearly eliminated the problem, hell we have had over a ten fold decrease in BC accidents since the policy took effect.
post #49 of 51
Regarding the cost of rescue issue...

Each day, the U.S. Coast Guard responds to over 100 boaters in distress. Boaters, who are operating in an inherently dangerous environment, are not charged for this service, which can be rather costly (it costs more than $4k/hr to operate a CG helo, for instance).

There are no trail ropes for boating. Sure, there are notices to mariners, and there is extensive charting, but in the end a boater can do whatever he wants. Why is skiing so much different?

As a society, don't we agree to pick up the tab in order to provide a certain level of personal freedom? As long as people are warned via ropes or other information, and the costs don't become extreme, I'm happy to let them go for it.
post #50 of 51
Quote:
As a society, don't we agree to pick up the tab in order to provide a certain level of personal freedom?
A great way to put this.

The difference bwtween the boaters and the skiers is that the boaters don't have anybody to sue and the skiers sue the ski resort. The laws, in part, allow the ski resorts to be able to run a business.

I like the approach used at Baker (I suspect Jackson's approach is similar). Anyway, as far as I can tell, there are almost always ways of getting into the BC. It's not clear to me that the ski area has an obligation to facilitate it.

The education idea is a good one but is kind of difficult to implement. If the education become required by a law, the government then has a responsibilty to make sure the education is available, etc. (Can you say "Bureaucracy"?) The government already has in place a "fine collection system". The law is written to use an existing government function. Keep in mind that the law does not preclude education and the fines are a cap (ie, a limit). The fine could be nothing.
post #51 of 51
By the way, the boating analogy fits in well with the Baker policy. The Coast Guard requires that vessels are safe and sea-worthy before you go and crash it into a reef.
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