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Message to NSAA on Safety

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
The 05-06 ski season is starting to wind down. I thought this is a good time for folks to write down their thoughts on how Ski Areas could improve safety.

For example I think ski areas should provide more resources for training first day skiers and parents with small children on how to get on and off lifts.

Before posting check out the National Ski Area Association (NSAA) Safety and Education page.
post #2 of 16
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
vlad thanks for your comments. I was looking for constructive suggestions on how to improve ski area safety. If you can list any specifics on how to improve ski area safety please list them.

For example, should ski areas put yellow jacket folks on the hill to reduce speed?

Keep in mind ski areas only have a limited budget. Any increase cost will be passed on to you the consumer when you buy your lift ticket.
post #4 of 16
post #5 of 16
Don't mix black and blue runs.
Blue Mountain is pretty good, with the north chair servicing black runs almost exclusively, but just as an example consider this Beginner-intermediates will be skiing slowly from the top of the lift between sunrise and cruizer, following Dr. Doug, and cut accross the bottom of L.Hill Rinus Run, and Memory Lane, on there way to the lodge. Memory lane is a high-speed cruizer. I took this route and stuck to the high route so that I followed mostly Memory lane, and hit 65 ther last Thursday. It's got a good view so I can slow down if needs be, but not everybody who skis fast does so safely.

Even worse.... Not only does Berries cross several steep blacks, but there's any number of lines from the cliff at the top the eagle lift that lead onto west basin and westerly. These all end up on greens, and westerly itself cuts accross couple of runs. Just picture some crazy intermediate skier on his SG skis straightlining it down that little cliff at the top, and jumping out of the trees accross sunset on his way to riptide.: . (I didn't really expect a trial to be there, honest!)
post #6 of 16
Originally Posted by vlad
after 7 seasons away from American resorts, (save for a few street-shoe visits to some tahoe resorts last season, observing), i am appallled by what i see, at least, at Intrawaste's Mountain Creek, NJ.
they could care less about safety.
thier patrol is truly excellent, and does what they can, but that's it. management could care less about safety, or about anything else besides selling their barely-moving real estate units within arm's reach of the high-power lines and then fleeing the scene, asap.
safety is njot a priority, there, and I fear that this might be the prevailing mindset of many other ski corp.s
Uh, oh. Vlad's on Intrawest-bashing patrol again. : (What did they do to you, anyway, steal your puppy? Or, wait, would that have been a cat? ) I, for one, ski Copper a lot, and am pretty happy there.

Just as a point of fact, Intrawest mountain ops are run by a division of Intrawest corporate, and real estate is built and/or sold by two very separate subsidiary companies, Placemaking and Playground. So those folks selling real estate have very little influence and bearing on how the mountain is run from a safety and ops perspective and vice versa. Therefore the selling of condos, nice or not, is not really affecting how much time and energy mountain operations has to spend on safety and infrastructure.

As for the topic of this thread (sorry for the brief hijack):

If resorts are going to rely on yellow jackets for some of their speed and safety control, then they really need to focus on getting good quality folks out there. I have noticed at many of the CO resorts that the yellow jackets are either largely retired folks (Keystone) who take their jobs too seriously, stopping anyone who skis any faster than the yellow jackets themselves might, even if the person is clearly an expert, in perfect control, going only at a moderate speed. (Meanwhile missing the beginner, going more slowly, about to lose control and careen into some kids.) Sure, these guys and gals lecture some skiers, but usually not the *right* ones. Apparently they even pulled over Picabo Street one time, free-skiing after a race. According to the instructor who told me this little nugget, she wasn't even skiing very fast. She just looked *racer-y* and scared the rather timid yellow jackets.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, at Vail, I have rarely seen yellow jackets do anything other than stand next to their signs. In areas like Northwoods, which get congested at the end of the day and where young men love to practice their high, high speed carving skills in and around lessons with small children and people experimenting with skiing a blue run, I have seen countless yellow jackets just stand there and watch, bored, as these people scream by. Just a few days ago, I was approaching a yellow sign in this area to stop and wait for my Dad, and a guy came SCREAMING by at mach schnell, caught blind air next to the sign, and continued flying down the hill into the crowds of slowly stemming and snowplowing spring break kids. Interestingly, both a patroller and a yellow jacket were standing there, and neither did anything. No one yelled. No one chased. I commented, "Holy crap!" and the patroller shrugged like, "what can you do?" Geez. Earlier this season, I also saw a *uniformed* yellow jacket at Vail get blind air right next to a "no blind jumping sign." That sets a good example.

If somebody offered me a free or discounted season pass in exchange for some yellow jacket days, you can bet I'd take my job seriously. Get a mom on the slopes, and she'll surely chew out idiots bombing towards small children. And clip their tickets without hesitation. I don't know what the resorts are doing to *train* these guys at their jobs, but clearly they are not being explicit enough about what constitutes irresponsible behavior or about how to recognize in-control skiers or levels of speed.
post #7 of 16
I'll echo Vlad's comment fully.

SAM knows how to improve safety.

BUT .... you might send a $$$$$ "customer" down the road.

Eastern feeders are nothing but:

#1 ... "churn em' & burn em'" mills for first and last timers. Like a trip to Grape Adventure, Sex Flags or Dizzy Land,

#2 ... a place to dump your brats to wreak havoc and be bad ass,

#3 ... a place to send your brats two nights a week so they can "hook up" on the bus ride while you think they are skiing.

#4 ... a place to hawk real estate.

Other areas are a place for the wealthy to "invest" and gain tax credits on "business entertainment" or depreciate "rental property".
post #8 of 16
why focus on "safety" unless it brings in profit? what "safety" is lacking anyway? Easterners are Culture of Victimhood people anyway, they'll sue over anything, so why focus on "safety" when that's just another topic/brand to be sold when the time is ripe according to disconnected, non-skier Corporate Management?
post #9 of 16
post #10 of 16
post #11 of 16
Until the ski areas can be shown, on paper with real numbers, that the crazy dangerous people are scaring off the $Families$ (which I believe in many cases they are), only token efforts will be made (yellow jackets gossiping behind signs).

Usually the person most frightened by idiots is the Mothers.

Anyone in marketing knows who is final arbiter of where the family has its vacation. Yep. Mothers.
post #12 of 16
post #13 of 16
Originally Posted by mollmeister
- Get a mom on the slopes, and she'll surely chew out idiots bombing towards small children. And clip their tickets without hesitation. .
That's It!!!

A new program called MOMS -- Mothers' On-Mountain Safety

Just for giggles and recognition, over the yellow jackets they wear Donna Reed Style Aprons.

But they also have extensive sniper-training, and carry paintball guns with high powered scopes. If someone bombs past too fast to be stopped, they hit em square-on with fluorescent yellow paintballs. Offenders are thus appropriately marked to be picked up by patrol when they reach the bottom.

Dude, what happened to YOU??..... Aww Geeez , I got MOM'd.
post #14 of 16

MOMS are watching YOU!
post #15 of 16
post #16 of 16

vlads neck o' the woods ...


big hairy .... Men In Lederhosen are Flirting ...
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