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Two died

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Two deaths yesterday: One at Jiminy Peak the other at Whiteface. Both were strong boarders. The Jiminy death occurred after a competition. He failed to show up for awards and was later found in the woods.
post #2 of 29
the guy at whiteface was an olympic boarder X rider, who crashed in a practice run.

They Jiminy guy was an Instructor...
post #3 of 29
Holy Crap! There's something in the snow this year!

They air lifted someone from Whitetail, PA yesterday around 10:30am. Seemed like it happened in the terrain park, but only because I saw patrol high-tailing it up there with a taboggan on a snowmobile. But you can get to other places from that route, so while it's likely that it happened in the park, it's not definite. I don't know anything more than that, but I'm trying to see what I can find out.
post #4 of 29
Here's the local paper on Jiminy story:

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/headlines/ci_3596615
post #5 of 29
I was skiing with UL yesterday discussing the people on the trails ... we had just navigated through a minefield (typical run out where four trails merge in 'green trail heaven' toward a base chair lift) of skiers and snowboarders ...

Are the trails more crowded these days? Maybe/maybe not.

What we have is so many more things going on at once:

- good skiers and riders looking to get through the area quickly
- novice skiers and riders who are so self-occupied they pay no attention to what's going on around them
- low-skilled folks on new equipment which enables them to go WAY faster than they should be (or would have been able in yesteryears)
- young skiers and riders who are sliding switch or taking a jump off any and everything

It translates to a lot of people cruising by taking random lines ... it's a sea of total unpredictability.

The more skilled skiers and riders tend to favor the line beside the tree ... then you get one miscalculation and BLAM!

I wonder if SAM is going to have to address this growing situation?
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by klkaye
I was skiing with UL yesterday discussing the people on the trails ... we had just navigated through a minefield (typical run out where four trails merge in 'green trail heaven' toward a base chair lift) of skiers and snowboarders ...
This is where the ugly stuff happens - in green trail heaven. You get inexperienced, small children who are prone to making sudden and unpredictable turns across the hill on the same roads/trails as skiers and boarders who are trying to get off the hill at the end of the day and it is a recipe for tragedy.

As a father of two newish skiers (8 and 11) I am always stressing to them to stay on one side of the trail and to not make any sudden turns or stops. Then I ski behind them. And I am still stressed.

I don't think it is enough for the resorts to say that it is in the skier's code and printed on your lift ticket that skiers who are overtaking must use caution etc. etc. This just doesn't happen. There needs to be a more proactive strategy to dealing with these trail bottlenecks.

I have seen it coming off of Blackcomb, Sunshine, Nakiska and Lake Louise and it scares me how often and close people are coming to getting really hurt. I can't imagine how bad it could be if you mixed in Eastern glare ice into the equation. Doubly special are skiers who cut through beginner areas at warp speed and then act all righteous. I saw this at Blackcomb where someone went and talked to a skier who was straight lining it through a roped off beginner's area. He got all pissed as he thought he was in control. He may have been but the beginers in the roped off beginner's area were not.

I am all for going fast but do it in a responsible manner and then no one gets badly hurt.

These traverses and ski outs become shooting galleries for new skiers and boarders and they are starting to get hurt really bad. And it is totally not their fault. Worst is when you get an inexperienced instructor taking a class down a cat run...if I paid money for my kid to be in the class I would expect a fair degree of common sense to come into play!

Anyways - don't know what are potential solutions...

-more signage (I ignored all slow signs when I was a teenager)
-more patrollers
-fences across the hills to force turns and lower speeds (might make situation worse)
-post skier educational info on towers/inside gondolas
-public floggings for repeat offenders ((I would volunteer (to flog) if my kid got hit)
-maybe narrow entrance way at the top of runs to reduce volume onto trails - at that point have patrollers telling everyone to chill and stay left except to pass and to keep speed checked

It seems everyone agrees this is a problem - what are workable solutions?
post #7 of 29
http://www.fis-ski.com/data/document/johansson.pdf

FIS link to World cup race. the race was cancelled by the Jury after the tragedy
post #8 of 29
ts01, thank you for the link. I was going to go skiing at Jiminy Peak yesterday, but didn't go. That's the place I've been going to, this year. It sounds like the condition was bad.. my deepest sympathy to the family.
post #9 of 29
how can conditions be slushy and icy?
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by carbonissimo
how can conditions be slushy and icy?
I see you have not skied in the north east. This past weekend we had temps in the 40-50's with sun on Saturday. When the top surface gets skied off what is left is the ice that has not warmed enough to be soft yet. You can see it all over the mountain. The top snow is pushed to the edges of the trail where those of us that know how to ski the soft heavy snow enjoy it. The ones that can't ski it stay where the firm surface is. I used to be one of them. I'm glad I learned how to enjoy the soft snow.
post #11 of 29
They do not call Whiteface an Iceface for nothing.
post #12 of 29
Avy death outside Snowbasin on Sat. too.
post #13 of 29
Max,
I grew up in the NE and have skied well over 500 days there.
I remember the ice and cold but I don't remember going skiing when it was in the 40's or 50's.
This past weekend I was thoroughly enjoying fresh powder @ Deer Valley.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by goriders
This is where the ugly stuff happens - in green trail heaven. You get inexperienced, small children who are prone to making sudden and unpredictable turns across the hill on the same roads/trails as skiers and boarders who are trying to get off the hill at the end of the day and it is a recipe for tragedy.

As a father of two newish skiers (8 and 11) I am always stressing to them to stay on one side of the trail and to not make any sudden turns or stops. Then I ski behind them. And I am still stressed.

I don't think it is enough for the resorts to say that it is in the skier's code and printed on your lift ticket that skiers who are overtaking must use caution etc. etc. This just doesn't happen. There needs to be a more proactive strategy to dealing with these trail bottlenecks.

I have seen it coming off of Blackcomb, Sunshine, Nakiska and Lake Louise and it scares me how often and close people are coming to getting really hurt. I can't imagine how bad it could be if you mixed in Eastern glare ice into the equation. Doubly special are skiers who cut through beginner areas at warp speed and then act all righteous. I saw this at Blackcomb where someone went and talked to a skier who was straight lining it through a roped off beginner's area. He got all pissed as he thought he was in control. He may have been but the beginers in the roped off beginner's area were not.

I am all for going fast but do it in a responsible manner and then no one gets badly hurt.

These traverses and ski outs become shooting galleries for new skiers and boarders and they are starting to get hurt really bad. And it is totally not their fault. Worst is when you get an inexperienced instructor taking a class down a cat run...if I paid money for my kid to be in the class I would expect a fair degree of common sense to come into play!

Anyways - don't know what are potential solutions...

-more signage (I ignored all slow signs when I was a teenager)
-more patrollers
-fences across the hills to force turns and lower speeds (might make situation worse)
-post skier educational info on towers/inside gondolas
-public floggings for repeat offenders ((I would volunteer (to flog) if my kid got hit)
-maybe narrow entrance way at the top of runs to reduce volume onto trails - at that point have patrollers telling everyone to chill and stay left except to pass and to keep speed checked

It seems everyone agrees this is a problem - what are workable solutions?
Just a chuckle, goriders, but after saying the above, which makes sense, your signature cracked me up!

Turning is a sign of fear.

Thats gold!
post #15 of 29
STOP GROOMING!!

Is it not obvious? Let the natural speed bumps come back

Quote:
Originally Posted by goriders
This is where the ugly stuff happens - in green trail heaven. You get inexperienced, small children who are prone to making sudden and unpredictable turns across the hill on the same roads/trails as skiers and boarders who are trying to get off the hill at the end of the day and it is a recipe for tragedy.

As a father of two newish skiers (8 and 11) I am always stressing to them to stay on one side of the trail and to not make any sudden turns or stops. Then I ski behind them. And I am still stressed.

I don't think it is enough for the resorts to say that it is in the skier's code and printed on your lift ticket that skiers who are overtaking must use caution etc. etc. This just doesn't happen. There needs to be a more proactive strategy to dealing with these trail bottlenecks.

I have seen it coming off of Blackcomb, Sunshine, Nakiska and Lake Louise and it scares me how often and close people are coming to getting really hurt. I can't imagine how bad it could be if you mixed in Eastern glare ice into the equation. Doubly special are skiers who cut through beginner areas at warp speed and then act all righteous. I saw this at Blackcomb where someone went and talked to a skier who was straight lining it through a roped off beginner's area. He got all pissed as he thought he was in control. He may have been but the beginers in the roped off beginner's area were not.

I am all for going fast but do it in a responsible manner and then no one gets badly hurt.

These traverses and ski outs become shooting galleries for new skiers and boarders and they are starting to get hurt really bad. And it is totally not their fault. Worst is when you get an inexperienced instructor taking a class down a cat run...if I paid money for my kid to be in the class I would expect a fair degree of common sense to come into play!

Anyways - don't know what are potential solutions...

-more signage (I ignored all slow signs when I was a teenager)
-more patrollers
-fences across the hills to force turns and lower speeds (might make situation worse)
-post skier educational info on towers/inside gondolas
-public floggings for repeat offenders ((I would volunteer (to flog) if my kid got hit)
-maybe narrow entrance way at the top of runs to reduce volume onto trails - at that point have patrollers telling everyone to chill and stay left except to pass and to keep speed checked

It seems everyone agrees this is a problem - what are workable solutions?
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT
STOP GROOMING!!

Is it not obvious? Let the natural speed bumps come back
Excellent point! Back in the day, those natural undulations forced people to slow down.
post #17 of 29
Another thought,
What if SAM started adding very large spines across the bottoms of blue and black groomed runs? Two of them about 50' apart should do, some would jump them (Maybe more injuries)? But if they were of the correct size hitting them with any speed would cause (Death Air) No-one would be able to carry any great speed into merging trails or green land.

I don't like the SLOW DOWN fences that some areas have started erecting, they funnel a large number of skiers into a confind space. I have seen more collisions in these areas than anywhere else. I think they are dagerous.

EDIT:

I just noticed that I posted this in a thread about two young men loosing their lives while riding.
Condolences to those whose lives they touched.
Brothers RIP
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by goriders
This is where the ugly stuff happens - in green trail heaven. You get inexperienced, small children who are prone to making sudden and unpredictable turns across the hill on the same roads/trails as skiers and boarders who are trying to get off the hill at the end of the day and it is a recipe for tragedy.

As a father of two newish skiers (8 and 11) I am always stressing to them to stay on one side of the trail and to not make any sudden turns or stops. Then I ski behind them. And I am still stressed.

I don't think it is enough for the resorts to say that it is in the skier's code and printed on your lift ticket that skiers who are overtaking must use caution etc. etc. This just doesn't happen. There needs to be a more proactive strategy to dealing with these trail bottlenecks.

I have seen it coming off of Blackcomb, Sunshine, Nakiska and Lake Louise and it scares me how often and close people are coming to getting really hurt. I can't imagine how bad it could be if you mixed in Eastern glare ice into the equation. Doubly special are skiers who cut through beginner areas at warp speed and then act all righteous. I saw this at Blackcomb where someone went and talked to a skier who was straight lining it through a roped off beginner's area. He got all pissed as he thought he was in control. He may have been but the beginers in the roped off beginner's area were not.

I am all for going fast but do it in a responsible manner and then no one gets badly hurt.

These traverses and ski outs become shooting galleries for new skiers and boarders and they are starting to get hurt really bad. And it is totally not their fault. Worst is when you get an inexperienced instructor taking a class down a cat run...if I paid money for my kid to be in the class I would expect a fair degree of common sense to come into play!

Anyways - don't know what are potential solutions...

-more signage (I ignored all slow signs when I was a teenager)
-more patrollers
-fences across the hills to force turns and lower speeds (might make situation worse)
-post skier educational info on towers/inside gondolas
-public floggings for repeat offenders ((I would volunteer (to flog) if my kid got hit)
-maybe narrow entrance way at the top of runs to reduce volume onto trails - at that point have patrollers telling everyone to chill and stay left except to pass and to keep speed checked

It seems everyone agrees this is a problem - what are workable solutions?
Fences or *shudder* enviro-friendly markings on the snow might work.

The end-of-day crowds exiting Blackcomb are so bad that - if it's a busy day - I try to leave a run early just to avoid them.

You get the worst of all worlds:
  • every level together
  • everyone is more tired than they'll admit to themselves
  • too many people trying to make "the most" of their last run
  • people are trying not to lose their friends
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool
The end-of-day crowds exiting Blackcomb are so bad that - if it's a busy day - I try to leave a run early just to avoid them.

You get the worst of all worlds:
  • every level together
  • everyone is more tired than they'll admit to themselves
  • too many people trying to make "the most" of their last run
  • people are trying not to lose their friends
Plus, you get to that bar before the crowds

And as for the worst of all worlds, don't forget all those tired people trying to ski the heavy, nasty snow at the the bottom. I usually download the gondola to avoid the carnage.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity
The top snow is pushed to the edges of the trail where those of us that know how to ski the soft heavy snow enjoy it. The ones that can't ski it stay where the firm surface is. I used to be one of them. I'm glad I learned how to enjoy the soft snow.
Max - That's just what I was doing all Sunday afternoon at Butternut (just south of Jiminy). It was empty all afternoon, after an hour of rain mid-day, so we could fly down uninterrupted runs, most of them way too close to the edge of the trail, in retrospect.

As that poor kid at Jiminy found out, there's no margin of error. Of all the fatality stories this year, this was the one that really spooked me.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddgabe
Just a chuckle, goriders, but after saying the above, which makes sense, your signature cracked me up!

Turning is a sign of fear.

Thats gold!
I think the key is everything in its place. Like I have posted on other threads, if you want to be a hero and see how fast you can go do it in a responsible manner on a prepared course or dedicated area. Key reason - in a prepared environment you can go faster! Equally key is the fact that you won't skewer some little ski scampers. Not cool.

On occasion I have broken every rule about going too fast on public runs. But, over the years there didn't seem to be as many bad accidents happening. I don't want to point fingers but it seems like there is a correlation between more snow boarders and more accidents.

Could be the primary demographic (males aged 12-16)
Could be the fact that snow boarders have a huge blind spot
Could be the the skate board influence (sides of trails are stunt opportunities then they slide across the trail without looking)

Don't know for sure. It does cause me some concern as I hate to see innocent beginers (especially kids) get hurt for no reason.

I really don't know what the solution is. When I was that age we had unofficial stupidity contests on a daily basis. When everyone is going the same speed and looking in the same direction few accidents happen.

When a third are going too fast and are only looking at half the run people are starting to get seriously hurt. And that sucks.

That all said, I do like that quote...and I hope everyone can experience that absolute thrill of going fast - but in a controlled manner so you can go even faster the next run.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by goriders

Don't know for sure. It does cause me some concern as I hate to see innocent beginers (especially kids) get hurt for no reason.

I really don't know what the solution is. When I was that age we had unofficial stupidity contests on a daily basis. When everyone is going the same speed and looking in the same direction few accidents happen.


This kid was an instructor and my son knew him from the park and Jiminy. He was quite good and not reckless. He had just competed and did well. Sometimes these things happen. The snow was very soft, who knows.

You gotta becareful out there. I ski the edge of the trrail and the guys I ski with warn me all the time.
post #23 of 29
Here's my take on it. In recent years, say, the past 10, it seems that there are more accidents. In those years, the number of boarders had gown. But I think the two are somewhat mutually exclusive, and only somewhat coincidental. I say "somewhat" because I'm kind of convinced that snowboarding is a major contributiong factor to modern skis and ski technique.

Ten+ years ago, people generally skied down the fall line. Today, because of modern equipment, it's a lot easier for people with less experience to travel across the fall line, and they do it at considerable speed. People take up a lot more room on the trail than they used to. This leads to two things: 1) more people running into each other, and 2) an increased tendency, when control is lost, to project oneself right off the trail and into the woods.

Think about it. You used to be able to ski next to someone, but these days you can't because you'll run into each other. It's like taking a 6 lane highway, and removing the lines and having all of the drivers weave from side to side. There may not be more people on the road, but it'll sure seem that way when you can no longer drive next to anyone else. Passing someone would be a life-risking endeavor.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Joness
This kid was an instructor and my son knew him from the park and Jiminy. He was quite good and not reckless. He had just competed and did well. Sometimes these things happen. The snow was very soft, who knows.

You gotta becareful out there. I ski the edge of the trrail and the guys I ski with warn me all the time.
My comments were in no means directed to the individuals in this thread - more general focus. Sometimes things do happen - you're right.

I see the biggest potential for disasters in tight situations like on ski outs or roads. I skied behind a snow boarder on Sunday and he kept looking for hits on the side of the ski out road. It looked like fun but when he landed he would come across the entire width of the track. If anyone was there he would have knocked them into the trees as they were in his blind spot (heal side).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Here's my take on it. In recent years, say, the past 10, it seems that there are more accidents. In those years, the number of boarders had gown. But I think the two are somewhat mutually exclusive, and only somewhat coincidental. I say "somewhat" because I'm kind of convinced that snowboarding is a major contributiong factor to modern skis and ski technique.

Ten+ years ago, people generally skied down the fall line. Today, because of modern equipment, it's a lot easier for people with less experience to travel across the fall line, and they do it at considerable speed. People take up a lot more room on the trail than they used to. This leads to two things: 1) more people running into each other, and 2) an increased tendency, when control is lost, to project oneself right off the trail and into the woods.

Think about it. You used to be able to ski next to someone, but these days you can't because you'll run into each other. It's like taking a 6 lane highway, and removing the lines and having all of the drivers weave from side to side. There may not be more people on the road, but it'll sure seem that way when you can no longer drive next to anyone else. Passing someone would be a life-risking endeavor.
I don't know if I totally agree with all your points...but they are making me think.

The area I see the biggest potential hazards in are the places where trails converge and some users enter these zones at a high speed and a big blind spot (heel side snow boarders). When these zones involve beginner areas then the potential for trouble increases as beginners are more likely to turn suddenly or across narrow trails.

Out west, the proper part of the runs are quite wide so it is only where the trails converge where you see the most carnage from collisions (generalized view for sure).

Snowboarding technology for sure has made it easier for skiers to turn quicker and more easily and hence carry more speed. Has that translated into wider turns that cause more collisions - not sure. At least in the context of western ski hills with bigger runs I am not sure.

I guess I still think it is easier for a skier (intermediate level and below) to react quickly to situation that for a parallel level boarder.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by goriders
I think the key is everything in its place. Like I have posted on other threads, if you want to be a hero and see how fast you can go do it in a responsible manner on a prepared course or dedicated area. Key reason - in a prepared environment you can go faster! Equally key is the fact that you won't skewer some little ski scampers. Not cool.

On occasion I have broken every rule about going too fast on public runs. But, over the years there didn't seem to be as many bad accidents happening. I don't want to point fingers but it seems like there is a correlation between more snow boarders and more accidents.

Could be the primary demographic (males aged 12-16)
Could be the fact that snow boarders have a huge blind spot
Could be the the skate board influence (sides of trails are stunt opportunities then they slide across the trail without looking)

Don't know for sure. It does cause me some concern as I hate to see innocent beginers (especially kids) get hurt for no reason.

I really don't know what the solution is. When I was that age we had unofficial stupidity contests on a daily basis. When everyone is going the same speed and looking in the same direction few accidents happen.

When a third are going too fast and are only looking at half the run people are starting to get seriously hurt. And that sucks.

That all said, I do like that quote...and I hope everyone can experience that absolute thrill of going fast - but in a controlled manner so you can go even faster the next run.
Right on goriders, couldn't have said it better myself! Everything has a time and a place... it's like riding my Ninja... it's a blast at 160mph straight straight STRAIGHT! It's a blast sliding a knee at 50-80mph in a sweet banked corner... But only in a safe place...

When I ski fast it's like how I ride on the open highway or racetrack... and when I ski slow, it's like how I ride in the city. It's called brains! And no no NO wheelies in the city! Just wish idiots on the slopes would cut out the showboating in the traffic areas and/or slow down. What are people flying through Green areas trying to prove, anyway? At least idiots who pop wheelies in traffic are proving one thing... they have a small brain, and a smaller d*%k! Its funny, but those same guys on those same bikes that do all that stupid s%*t around town, I never see any of em at the track! Then again, I rarely see any of the idiot Green area speeders running the glades with me, either I'll drink to that
post #26 of 29

ten died so far in California

as of this sunday:

The Sac Bee reported ten skier deaths this season in California, five at Mammoth Mountain (none related), and assorted other resorts. None I believe were skier-skier collisions. Two were ski patrollers. Altho the article did not provide statistics, it was not described as an unusual year in total fatalities.
post #27 of 29
There is something very wrong going on here, by which I mean skiing and riding in general. There were four helicopter emergency evacs at my mountain this year (a record) and one fatality. I think we have strapped everyone into formula one racers and set them loose on the highways.
Modern shaped skis make it easier to turn (regardless of whether you're doing it right or not), and have boosted the confidence (and egos) of otherwise mediocre skiers...."Hey, show me the black diamond I can't do!" And as for boarders, when I see one actually carving turns, leaving those trenches behind, and leaving delicate finger tracings in the snow as they turn, I'm moved to tears. More often I'm likely to see a pack of ten or more (of varying skill levels) going hell-bent down the mouintain in marginal control, using rear foot steering. God forbid they should meet up with the parental idiots who take their five-year-old on a blue or black...yes, I've seen that too.
In my opinion, the only thing that is going to stop this from getting completely out of control is a cop on the beat. The Patrollers have enough to do. And they are spread thinly enough as it is. Even so, I have seen them take action against the barbarians, even if it is just a finger wagging.
It may be time for the "Safety Patrol", or "Ambassadors" or whatever each area calls these volunteers, to be given the authority to pull someone over and tell them straight-up that they really might want to consider some lessons and upping their skill levels before going that fast, maybe give them a written warning or "ticket" that would go right on their lift pass.
I was once hit by an out-of-control skier on a black diamond; and I was the downhill skier. Luckily, I am built like a small tree, and the other guy was not. If I had been a child or someone as fragile, it might have been a very bad day for somebody.
Years ago, I happily let my kids go have their fun on the slopes. I was concerned about them trying to "show off" or do something foolish. If I were to repeat that experience today, my greatest fear would be that some idiot would slam into them at high speed.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Here's my take on it. In recent years, say, the past 10, it seems that there are more accidents. In those years, the number of boarders had gown. But I think the two are somewhat mutually exclusive, and only somewhat coincidental. I say "somewhat" because I'm kind of convinced that snowboarding is a major contributiong factor to modern skis and ski technique.

Ten+ years ago, people generally skied down the fall line. Today, because of modern equipment, it's a lot easier for people with less experience to travel across the fall line, and they do it at considerable speed. People take up a lot more room on the trail than they used to. This leads to two things: 1) more people running into each other, and 2) an increased tendency, when control is lost, to project oneself right off the trail and into the woods.

Think about it. You used to be able to ski next to someone, but these days you can't because you'll run into each other. It's like taking a 6 lane highway, and removing the lines and having all of the drivers weave from side to side. There may not be more people on the road, but it'll sure seem that way when you can no longer drive next to anyone else. Passing someone would be a life-risking endeavor.
I think John hits the nail right on the head. Trying to make the argument that if you take a skier and boarder of equal abilities, and put them in a situation where they have to stop or avoid an accident, that the skier will be able to and the boarder will not, is a little like saying a red corvette will be faster and handle better than a blue corvette. It's not about what's on the feet, it's about the skill or lack of skill of the riders, and the fact that each rider is taking up more width of the trail than they did 10 years ago.

Seems to me it's the difference between correlation and causation...
post #29 of 29
I passed the funeral procession, for the kid who died at Jinimy, this morning.

The kids dad was a policeman in the next town from Jiminy, there were approximately 30 police vehicles lined up with at least 6 (that I saw) Massachusetts state troopers directing traffic.

It was an impressive and sobering sight.

RIP, Mark.
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