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No more parks?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 42
Sad commentary on idiocy in America, but I wouldn't worry too much. Remember Sunday vs. Stratton? Ski areas got amazingly sanitised in the wake of this decision, but eventually things loosened back up after it was concluded that real skiers wanted real skiing instead of a bunch of ropes and signs. Unfortunately, there will always be a segment of lift ticket buyers (notice I don't call them "skiers") who are looking for an amusement park/McSkiing experience. Hopefully these gapers will quickly move on to another pastime before they cause too much damage.
post #3 of 42
Sorry for the kid, but the assertion that a bunch of NASA types can make a park "safe," and are required to do so, is just idiotic. The state legislature has it in their power to make these types of suits impossible...
post #4 of 42
In Colorado, between the Skier Safety Act of 1979, and the Senate Bill 80 of 1989, it is extremely difficult to bring this type of case to court.

It has been tried, and most have been summarily dismissed. Even appeals to the State Supreme Court have not been successful.

These laws are NOT applicable when machinery has been involved (snowmobiles, lifts, snowcats, etc)
post #5 of 42
I'm of mixed emotions here. My kids started doing parks in the 90s. Some of the jumps I've seen over the years were pathetic; poorly designed & dangerous. Same goes with some of the rails and boxes. It seems that many ski areas have rushed into build parks with little expertise or knowledge. If they don't know what they're doing they shouldn't be building them. I hate to see properly built parks shut down because of this ruling but I hope it makes mountains take their responsibility to build decent parks more seriously.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
Some of the jumps I've seen over the years were pathetic; poorly designed & dangerous. Same goes with some of the rails and boxes.
IMO all rails are dangerous. A few years ago I tried jumping onto a low rail. The result was the biggest, darkest bruise I've ever suffered on my ass. Instead of crying to the ski hill management or looking for $$, I simply stayed the hell away from rails from then on.

If you start going down the slippery slope of making everything "safe", pretty soon everyone's skiing on the bunny hill. And dips*#t gapers will still find a way to paralyze themselves.
post #7 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
Some of the jumps I've seen over the years were pathetic; poorly designed & dangerous.
As somebody who has ventured into terrain parks about five times in his life (really) -- what makes a jump "poorly designed" and / or dangerous?

Also, I've seen reference in this thread (and the original article) to "Sunday vs. Stratton". What was that decision? I Google'd it, and came across several references to the decision, but I didn't see any particulars about the case.
post #8 of 42
Quote:
As somebody who has ventured into terrain parks about five times in his life (really) -- what makes a jump "poorly designed" and / or dangerous?
Number one, poor placement of the run-out. You land with lots of speed on some jumps & often off-balance. A jumper needs a enough room to recover and stop.

Jumps placed near runs, trees & other obstables. My old mountain had a jump one year on the side of the run. Numerous riders cut over to it, hit the jump and their momentum carried them into a tree. Fortunately, it was a Douglas fir with relatively soft branches so nobody was seriously hurt but it still was dangerous. I've seen the same at other places where jumps are too close to trees, fencing, skiers, etc. to allow the jumper any room for error.

Poorly marked jumps. Many areas will spray paint the take off and landings on jumps when the visibility is poor. I've seen this done very sloppily. Usually they get lazy and mark the take-off lower than it is causing the jumper to get more air than expected.

Obstables put in the jump but the take-off is allowed to disintegrate. Some ski areas put boxes and rails in a jump so you can land & skid on them. As the day goes on the take-off often break down meaning you don't get as much lift in the afternoon as the morning resulting in kids jumping smack into the obstacle.

Crappy obstacles. I was at Silver Mountain a few years ago. They had a jump onto a rail....nothing much. I took it and landed on the rail only to find it was a sticky piece of galvanized pipe. I managed to recover but I saw a few kids land, stick & tumble. Fortunately none hit the pipe with their face but a couple came close. I've seen boxes with sharp edges or splinters sticking up & broken barrels that give causing the rider to tumble.
post #9 of 42
You know what makes a bad rail? People who go off the side of the jump onto it. Stop that. But yeah, lots of factors contribute to building a jump. The skier decide if they want to hit it or not.
post #10 of 42
What made that jump poorly designed was that the skier was able to access enough of a change in elevation to give him a speed that sent him beyond the landing area. You have all watched olympic ski jumping. Notice how the skiers land on a hill. Every once in a while someone gets an incredibly good jump and it gets worrisome that they are jumping farther than the hill was designed for. The jump in question would be like building a 90-m ski jump with a slope at the 405 m mark, but a flat section where the skier's came back in contact with the snow instead of having an steeply angled slope there.

We don't need NASA types; it's not rocket science, but it is pretty simple phyiscs: conservation of energy, mgh=1/2mv^2, and projectile motion.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
What made that jump poorly designed was that the skier was able to access enough of a change in elevation to give him a speed that sent him beyond the landing area. You have all watched olympic ski jumping. Notice how the skiers land on a hill. Every once in a while someone gets an incredibly good jump and it gets worrisome that they are jumping farther than the hill was designed for. The jump in question would be like building a 90-m ski jump with a slope at the 405 m mark, but a flat section where the skier's came back in contact with the snow instead of having an steeply angled slope there.
It is very hard to build a park jump where you can't overshoot. Snow conditions, wax, and skier or rider all are variables to take into account. That's why inspecting the feature before hitting it and starting small and working your way up are both critical parts of the responsibilities of the users of terrain parks. Smaller features are actually important for people to start on, and it is easier to overshoot smaller features than bigger. That doesn't make them unsafe or poorly designed.

The fear of this type of lawsuit actually makes it harder to get small features in particular built. Why should people care? If you want to actually use a park and don't want to learn spins, say, on a 25-foot table, you kinda want to have those small features around.

Further, far more people come up short and land flat than overshoot and land flat.

If you see a feature and don't feel you can hit it safely, don't hit it. My 7 year old gets this...
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
...the assertion that a bunch of NASA types can make a park "safe," and are required to do so, is just idiotic.
As is the assertion that places building and advertising parks -- and charging you large sums to use them have no responsibility whatsoever to exercise reasonable effort in designing/building parks that are sensibly safe for their intended use. Do you think it would be OK to build bridges or roller coasters without doing any engineering?

Alternatively, how would you feel about truly letting market forces decide. Just pass legislation that requires 100% transparency so customers can decide where to take their dollars and where Johnny and Suzie can play? Maybe have them post, on their websites, a summary of what went into designing and building their park, and a requirement that summary of every single accident posted within 24 hours?

Does anyone think that "engineering" park features would really be all that onerous or expensive? I bet that 14 million bucks would have covered engineering every park takeoff and landing in the US for a few years...

It is easy to blather on about individual responsibility - until you or one of your kids - or a friend - gets hurt because someone else was lazy or irresponsible. Or maybe they had a ton of accidents but had confidentiality clauses in their settlements. Would you still play the big man and say "well tough on my kid - they should have scoped that landing...too bad they can't ever walk again"?

BTW - I don't think anyone believes that a park can or should be made 100% safe. But that doesn't mean resorts hyping their parks, which are profit making operations, have no responsibility whatsoever to the paying public. There is some reasonable middle ground...
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
As is the assertion that places building and advertising parks -- and charging you large sums to use them have no responsibility whatsoever to exercise reasonable effort in designing/building parks that are sensibly safe for their intended use. Do you think it would be OK to build bridges or roller coasters without doing any engineering?
Rollercoasters are designed to be passive amusements, not athletic venues. Last I checked the whole idea behind terrain parks is that they are designed to facilitate an adventure sport.

If you want a roller coaster, go ride a roller coaster.

The level of ignorance on this place continues to be astounding.
post #14 of 42
It's pretty easy to get a MAXIMUM speed. The problem is that extending the landing zone uses up real estate and leaves less room for other features.
post #15 of 42
Sorry, but when you are facing 23 million in lifetime medical costs, you are going to do whatever it takes.
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
It is easy to blather on about individual responsibility - until you or one of your kids - or a friend - gets hurt because someone else was lazy or irresponsible. Or maybe they had a ton of accidents but had confidentiality clauses in their settlements. Would you still play the big man and say "well tough on my kid - they should have scoped that landing...too bad they can't ever walk again"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MilesB View Post
Sorry, but when you are facing 23 million in lifetime medical costs, you are going to do whatever it takes.

The trick is to have a functioning brain so you don't get into situations that result in paralysis in the first place. It's skiing. Part of the allure is getting hurt if you mess up. If you want an amusement park ride, go to an amusement park. News flash!! - if you blindly hit a table going 50 mph you may get hurt!:
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
...News flash!! - if you blindly hit a table going 50 mph you may get hurt!:
...now that's just crazy talk.
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
Rollercoasters are designed to be passive amusements, not athletic venues. Last I checked the whole idea behind terrain parks is that they are designed to facilitate an adventure sport.

If you want a roller coaster, go ride a roller coaster.

The level of ignorance on this place continues to be astounding.
I'll ask it again... Do you believe that a business selling park access - in large measure by glamorizing it - to the general public, has no responsibility whatsoever to use reasonable care in the design and construction of that park? Which by the way is an entirely artificial construct... And no responsibility whatsoever to take action - or disclose specific risks - if a feature or set of features is generating an unusually high level of serious injuries?

Personally, I simply do not buy the notion that people building parks have no responsibility whatsoever for designing them in a sensible way. And I do not buy the argument that sane park design would take all the challenge out of a park. Or all the risk. And again, I am in no way saying that they should even try to make a park 100% risk free. There is intrinsic risk. I'm just saying that for what I presume to be a very minimal investment, a resort should be able to minimize risk within the context of providing an athletic and challenging experience. And it seems more than reasonable to expect them to do so. Or to make it clear that they do not -- and let market forces decide which approach wins.
post #19 of 42
Parks are where it's at if there's no fresh pow. I don't really feel bad for that kid. If you hit a feature that you aren't good enough to hit then it's you're problem, don't blame it on the resort.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
I'm of mixed emotions here. My kids started doing parks in the 90s. Some of the jumps I've seen over the years were pathetic; poorly designed & dangerous. Same goes with some of the rails and boxes. It seems that many ski areas have rushed into build parks with little expertise or knowledge. If they don't know what they're doing they shouldn't be building them. I hate to see properly built parks shut down because of this ruling but I hope it makes mountains take their responsibility to build decent parks more seriously.
Thats probally still less dangerous than a bunch of kids having less of a clue building jumps on there own, on or on the side of runs......

Since when did we expect skiers to stop thinking for them selves. Surley you wouldnt let your kids ski if you didnt think they where capable of making these decisions themselves.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
What made that jump poorly designed was that the skier was able to access enough of a change in elevation to give him a speed that sent him beyond the landing area. You have all watched olympic ski jumping. Notice how the skiers land on a hill. Every once in a while someone gets an incredibly good jump and it gets worrisome that they are jumping farther than the hill was designed for. The jump in question would be like building a 90-m ski jump with a slope at the 405 m mark, but a flat section where the skier's came back in contact with the snow instead of having an steeply angled slope there.

We don't need NASA types; it's not rocket science, but it is pretty simple phyiscs: conservation of energy, mgh=1/2mv^2, and projectile motion.
No, Shouldnt be the skiers responcibility to be able to properly judge there speed?
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MilesB View Post
Sorry, but when you are facing 23 million in lifetime medical costs, you are going to do whatever it takes.
So along that line of thinking shouldnt we as society do what ever it takes to prevent idiots from reproducing?
post #23 of 42
Hey stevens man did you see the huge jumps and stuff the rage guys were building up at stevens?
post #24 of 42
I stay out of the parks - I think they're injury factories. However, I agree with the idea that there's a middle ground - nobody just builds kickers with flat landings anymore, because even a good landing hurts and a bad landing is much worse than a bad landing on something steep. At the same time, there's a limit to how long the landing for a terrain feature can be, and I think that if the ski area builds it such that there's a reasonable range of speeds that will still put the user in the good landing zone, they've done their job. I don't think they're responsible for making the landing zone so long that it's physically impossible, nordic ski jumpers included, to overshoot the landing. I think that it's the responsibility of people who use the terrain parks to take some time to get to know a terrain feature. But it shouldn't be so hard to use a terrain feature that you have to nail it perfectly to avoid going to the bottom in a toboggan.

As far as the fourteen previous injuries on the terrain feature - I'm sure that that's a higher number of injuries than on a random stretch of moderately steep groomer. But people always find a way to get hurt, and a ton of people wipe out and take out a wrist or a collarbone going down on the flattish runout from something more interesting.

I haven't seen the tabletop in question, but I think the real problem here is how health care is handled in the US - the kid's health insurance could easily have forced him/his parents to bring suit.
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
I'll ask it again... Do you believe that a business selling park access - in large measure by glamorizing it - to the general public, has no responsibility whatsoever to use reasonable care in the design and construction of that park? Which by the way is an entirely artificial construct... And no responsibility whatsoever to take action - or disclose specific risks - if a feature or set of features is generating an unusually high level of serious injuries?

Personally, I simply do not buy the notion that people building parks have no responsibility whatsoever for designing them in a sensible way. And I do not buy the argument that sane park design would take all the challenge out of a park. Or all the risk. And again, I am in no way saying that they should even try to make a park 100% risk free. There is intrinsic risk. I'm just saying that for what I presume to be a very minimal investment, a resort should be able to minimize risk within the context of providing an athletic and challenging experience. And it seems more than reasonable to expect them to do so. Or to make it clear that they do not -- and let market forces decide which approach wins.
First off, there's no indication that the table in question was generating an "unusually high" number of injuries. There are going to be some "more dangerous" features in a park, though. That does not indicate a faulty design, it just means if you don't hit them right you have a greater chance of getting hurt. There are "more dangerous" events in gymnastics, that are fine for young girls to do because people simply understand that the risk is inherent in the event (some equipment like vaulting horses may get replaced by the sport itself, which is the right way for it to happen, not because some uninformed attorney wanted to "make changes").

Regarding the central "duty of care" argument, no, I don't think resorts have a duty of care to build a "reasonably safe" park. And, further, it is important to remember that this table where the kid got hurt would have met that type of design standard, anyway.

I think resorts, and park employees in particular, do generally care a lot about building good parks. Telling them they have to meet some slippery "reasonably safe" standard would have two effects: 1) building really boring, lame parks (e.g., no rails), and 2) likely, unanticipated perverse safety effects -- let's say everybody got fixated on taking speed out of park design so that it's impossible to overshoot landings, I can easily see lots more people getting hurt by casing the table in the "safe" park design. (Or, people deciding to use really lame, boring features in unanticipated ways such as turning two tables into a gap.)

In many areas playground designs have already been effectively killed by the desire to make playgrounds "reasonably safe." Even for young kids I'm not sure that's progress, but for terrain parks at resorts they are not intended to have a babysitting component. Last weekend I actually had to tell my kid and friends not to climb on the outside of an enclosed circular "safe" slide, and got the the response that there was nothing else to do. They were right, but I told them that sometimes that's the way it is, and I was also right. Springboard diving has also been effectively killed as a sport in many areas. I'd hate to see that outcome extended to terrain parks.

Again, I feel sorry for the kid. It's entirely possible his insurance did force him to sue. But, bottom line: he was going way too fast, and was enough out of control that he also got inverted. That is not a design issue and it's not something you can prevent through any artificial "duty." If you cannot accept the possibility of getting seriously hurt or even killed if you screw up, there are normally blue groomers to either side of a terrain park that are perfectly available.
post #26 of 42
Extreme Sports provide Extreme Adrenaline, Extreme Excitement, Extreme Grins , and upon occasion, extreme injury. All of this leads to extreme insurance premiums for resorts, manufacturers of products for resorts(lifts, cats, rails, etc.), and an increase of resort expenses which trickles down to you and me.

Injury and other sad things that can happen when we enjoy this sport are something we all feel deep because we know we are a part of this great sport. Who didn't feel an impact when Doug Coombs met his end? He was the best of the best.

I hope we all do what we need to be as safe as we can be on the slopes,but not at the risk of forgetting to get the adrenaline up!
post #27 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
Hey stevens man did you see the huge jumps and stuff the rage guys were building up at stevens?
Yes, those jumps are just huge. I rarely go to park and when I do I only take some upper part jumps and skip big ones.


So some people saying that park was not designed to be safe.... I'm just curios if anyone have ever seen any park which is designed to be 100% safe? It is possible at all?
Let's say there is no park at all. Snoqualmie is very flat and boring but someone can manage to get to the top of Summit West, straightline down and slam into the building. Is this resort fault?
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevensMan View Post
Let's say there is no park at all. Snoqualmie is very flat and boring but someone can manage to get to the top of Summit West, straightline down and slam into the building. Is this resort fault?
You could certainly find a lawyer to take the case and a jury stupid enough to believe that the resort was negligent in not placing airbags all around the base area buildings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevensMan View Post
So some people saying that park was not designed to be safe.... I'm just curios if anyone have ever seen any park which is designed to be 100% safe? It is possible at all?
As Albert Einstein said "only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former". Or, if you prefer, "never underestimate the ingenuity of idiots". It doesn't matter how many engineers and safety expert you get designing the park -- somebody will find a way to hurt themselves badly.
post #29 of 42
Article says the kid flew 110 feet in the air...now, I dont' want this to lead in the same direction as the "how fast" thread...but 110 feet seems like a pretty far distance to me.

Here's why -- seems like a 50 foot table top is pretty darn big, no? Is it common to be much bigger than that (from the lip of the takeoff to wehre the table ends and the downslope/runout starts)? Assuming the table top was that big, then the LZ would have to have been less than 60 feet if he outflew it. Maybe my math and thinkin is all wrong, but I'm assuming they are measring 110 feet downslope, right?

Anyone out there who knows how big the feature was? Any estimate how fast the kid woudl have to be going to fly that far? The places I ski, people are not usually blasting full speed through the park.

Sorta related, anyone know what the typical downslope LZ size/length would be in comparison to the size of the tabletop?
post #30 of 42
It doesn't,or shouldn't,take a rocket scientist to figure that when your skis leave the ground there is an increased chance that something may go wrong.In order to fly 110 feet downslope,even if he was only 2 feet off the ground,he had to be moving pretty quick. Wonder if the jury factored "operator error' into the equation.
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