Originally Posted by Ghost
I do notice that a lot of people get charged with reckless driving when all they are doing is speeding a certain number of mph above the limit. I can see it happening on the slopes, "I couldn't possible ski at 60 and be in control, ergo you are out of control at that speed. Here's your ticket. " I hope your faith in law enforcement is justified.
Quite often (actually I think all the time) the "X miles an hour over the speed limit = wreckless driving" is a pre-defined (by either statute or case law) number, i.e. 19 mph over is not, but 20 mph is. Now, last time I checked, and I checked just last week, there is no established "speed limit" for skiing. Yes, it is possible to ski "too fast," but, and anyone with half a brain should know this, what is "too fast" for me may not be "too fast" for you, or vice-versa. It is a subjective judgement call that is determined by ability, experience and conditions. A law enforcement officer can "know" conditions, they *might* (depending on their own skill, experience and how long they were observing the person) be able to judge skill (but, it's a judgement call - one that *any* defense attorney will try and exploit), and there's *no way* they can know experience. There are simply too many easy outs for the police to bother with trying to enforce it, why not stick to the easy to identy and enforce violations, like the chair jumpers and line duckers?
Or, let's say that some overzealous cop starts writing tickets every time he thinks someone is going "too fast." He writes 20 tickets one day. The DA gets the cases and finds out: 3 of them have been racing for 15 years, 5 of them are patrollers/instructors/other ski professionals on their day off or are ex-ski professionals, 10 of them are fairly nice people that have decent ski experience (and have buddies who were there that will say that their friend was "most definitely skiing in control and within their ability"), and the final 2 are jerks that probably weren't in control and were probably justified in getting cited. How pissed do you think the DA is going to be with cases like that? How much heat do you think the officer who wrote those tickets is going to be subjected to by their boss? How long will it be until the mandate comes down: "only write skiing out of control tickets when someone physically runs into someone else - and only then if there is no question that the person run into wasn't merging onto the trail/had just started and failed to yield?"
Without a skier/rider physically running into another skier/rider (or other object I suppose), think about what it would likely require to prove someone guilty of "skiing out of control" in a court of law. Hint: it's probably going to require more than just one cop's testimony. And that is why the "giving tickets to everyone they think is going to fast" scenario is nothing more than an overreaction.
Edit to add: I suppose the "prosecution" in the Jackson Hole case proves my point - the prosecutor still isn't sure of a conviction, and they've got a collision, death and a video tape of the incident. If they aren't sure of a conviction in what seems (from the outside at least) to be an open and shut case, think what an assistant DA would feel like trying to prosecute people that weren't involved in a collision and were cited by an "obviously" overzealous cop...