Would one of the lawyers on the forum please straighten Steve_S out? Gonz?
Steve, you are DEAD WRONG! Yes, it's a risk sport. No, that "risk" does NOT excuse reckless, negligent behavior of OTHER PEOPLE, such as that of Nathan Hall, who took air over a blind roll where any reasonable person would realize that people might have fallen down and that it would be reasonable to expect to find an innocent human being there. Risk sport or not, you are potentially a deadly weapon on skis, and reckless use of a deadly weapon is a serious crime, as it ought to be.
If you hit someone who was ahead of you, you are at fault. Period. Hitting someone alone is sufficient evidence that you were OUT OF CONTROL. Either that, or you hit the person intentionally, which is an even more serious matter.
Show me someone who uses the excuse "you turned in front of me," and I'll show you an utter moron. I WAS in front of you, you idiot! Where the hell ELSE could I have turned?!?!
It is your responsibility, ethically, and fortunately in Colorado, legally, to behave in such a way that you do not pose a risk to those ahead of you on the slopes. It is as asininely irresponsible and negligent as anything I can think of to believe otherwise. Acceptable risks of the sport include the consequences of your OWN behavior, the natural hazards of the mountain environment, and so on. Being run down by an out-of- control (by definition) idiot is NOT an acceptable risk! That the sport entails inherent risk does not justify negligent behavior by your fellow human beings!
The law requires you to ski in control when other people are around. Nathan Hall was NOT in control--he ran into a beginning skier doing what beginning skiers do, in a place where you would expect to find a beginning skier. There was evidence that he'd been drinking and smoking pot as well. It seems that many people believe that, since he was still standing, he must have been "in control." Thinking like that just doesn't make sense--hardly even qualifies as "thinking." Houseplants are brighter than that! What does "control" mean, if not that you are able to do what you want, go where you choose to go, and avoid injuring yourself or others, unless you choose to? Either he was out of control and killed recklessly and negligently, or he CHOSE to kill. It was not justified. It should not be repeated. And anyone who didn't get it prior to that "accident" should get it now! His sentence, which as I recall was NOT for a "misdemeanor," but for a felony, was justified, and soft, in my opinion.
There were many heated discussions of the Nathan Hall case, and the related issues, here at EpicSki. Search for "Nathan Hall" and you'll find numerous threads. Among them:Unjustifiable risk, Nathan Hall on trial
andNathan Hall Sentence
but there were many more.
A final note: many have brought up the question "whatever happened to 'on your right'"? While I recognize that this warning is often used with the right intentions, as a courtesy and as an attempt at "etiquette," I'd like to remind everyone that it is does not give you any rights! Experienced, expert skiers rarely say it, or need to. Personally, I hate it! Usually, when someone shouts "on your right," they are really saying "look out, get out of my way." The person they're shouting at has NO obligation to "get out of the way," whatsoever, and the person shouting still has the obligation to avoid a collision, NO MATTER WHAT the skier ahead does! What if the person receiving the "warning" is deaf? Dyslexic? Doesn't understand English? Needs or wants to make a turn?
"On your right!" should be reserved for those times when you are really, truly, "out of control." And those times should be damned rare! It's a fair warning, in that case, but it still does not excuse your negligence if you hit someone! I urge everyone to ski in such a way that you cannot possibly hit someone else, no matter how unexpectedly, erratically, or even stupidly they may behave. If you ski that way, there is no need to warn "on your right"--you aren't a hazard!
I'm as anti-frivolous-lawsuit as anyone on this board, probably moreso. But negligent behavior is NOT an "acceptable risk" of the sport of skiing. I accept all kinds of risks, and take many of them knowingly in my chosen sports. But I will accept responsibility if I injure someone else. And I will demand that responsibility if someone else injures me.
Bob Barnes[ December 17, 2002, 12:28 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]