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Another Nathan Hall? - Page 2

post #31 of 115
Well Chris Mercer, just let me know which hill is yours and I will ski a different one. : Now if you hit someone, any Colorado procecutor will have a field day with the posts by you on this forum.

[ March 04, 2003, 05:01 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #32 of 115
When I am surfing, if I take off first ..... it's my wave and if you take off in front of me you are fair game. It's been that way forever.

Skiing is NOT surfing.

The concept of "my line" is absurd. It does not and has never existed in skiing as a concept except by those who are very new or very ......... "challenged".

Smack me from behind and give me that "my line" crap and you may find some other creative venues for socially unacceptable behavior.
post #33 of 115
Originally posted by disski:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Chris Mercer:
and also with this conduct code i believe there is somewhere where it states that before traversing sideways on a mountain it is manditory that you look uphill and check that they are no people coming. could this come into play as well?
ummm not in MINE there isn't...

from the Thredbo web site...
Regardless of how you enjoy your snow sport, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are inherent risks in all snow recreational activities that common sense and personal awareness can reduce. These risks include rapid changes in weather and surface, as well as natural and artificial hazards such as rocks, trees, stumps, bare spots, lift towers and snow gun hydrants. Observe the code listed 1 to 10 and share with others the responsibility for a great experience.
1)know your ability, always stay in control and be able to stop and avoid other people or objects. It is your responsibility to stay in control on the ground and in the air.
2)Take lessons from qualified professional instructors to learn and progress.
3)As you proceed downhill or overtake another person, you must avoid the people below and beside you.
4)Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or run or are not visible from above.
5)When entering a trail or run or starting downhill, look uphill and give way to others.
6)When riding chairlifts always use the restraining devices.
Always use suitable restraints to avoid runaway skiing/boarding equipment.
7)Observe and obey all signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails or runs and out of closed areas.
8)Before using any lift you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
9)Do not ski, snowboard, ride a chairlift or undertake any other alpine activity if your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
10)If you are involved in, or witness an accident, alert Ski Patrol, remain at the scene and identify yourself to Ski Patrol.

Know the code
It’s your responsibility. Failure to observe the code may result in cancellation of your ticket or pass by ski patrol or other authorised personnel.
</font>[/quote]I think Chris is somehow elaborating on point 5 above...
post #34 of 115
I've better clarify.
What Chris says is a distortion of point 5, I've heard many people reasoning the same way.
That's simply wrong. If you're behind someone, then you have responsibility of keeping enough distance separation to allow you an escape manoeuvre.
post #35 of 115
Originally posted by Chris Mercer:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
[QB]>......Second, with respect to "taking the blame", perhaps we can reason by analogy. What happens when 70 y.o. "Grandma" heads onto the interstate ...and gets rear-ended ... Who is at fault? [QB]
yes, but that is like merging into the fast lane on a highway going fast......****in learn how to ride the mountain before gettin in other peopel's way......you turn into a moving tree otherwise. or at least stack yourself up with football gear, so when i ****ing plow over your ass by accident, i don't kill you and get blamed.</font>[/quote]Thanks for your response, Chris.

In the case of "Grandma", I was actually more interested in learning what really happens (maybe from some lawyers or LE types) than hearing what people, you included, believe should happen in this situation.

With respect to on-the-hill behavior, did you see my comments stating that the incidence of collisions caused by truly good skiers (eg, patrollers, instructors, etc.) is negligible even though they spend much more time on the hill than recreational skiers. Their at-fault accident rate should be compared to that caused by people who have been skiing recreationally a couple of years.

The take-home message that I derive from this comparison is not a sarcastic comment about possible permitting, but an exhortation to (a) learn to ski more like good skiers do (ie, in control and with a high level of situational awareness), and (b) if you are not quite there yet, admit it (even if just to yourself), and modify your skiing so you minimize the chance you might cause others suffering and pain.

I strongly suspect your opinions on this issue will change dramatically if you are ever hit from behind and wake up a couple of months later in the hospital, paralyzed, drooling, and not able to even take care of yourself - maybe for a few months, maybe forever. I really doubt you would be thinking, "yeah, the other guy had the right to do this to me, and I know I should have gotten off the f**ing mountain to be sure I was out of the way of him and all skiers 'better' than myself."

Tom / PM
post #36 of 115
There have been many times where I've seen a very good skier miss hitting someone below, but only by a few feet. In those cases, I feel certain that since the skier avoided the accident, he/she feels that he/she was in "control" for purposes of the skier safety code.

Perhaps education relating to the Skier's Code should clarify that merely because you missed a skier, doesn't mean you were in control. Instead, being in control means that you avoid downhill skiers with an adequate safety zone. Picture each skier with a 15-20 foot circle around them and its the uphill skier's responsibility to avoid entering that safety zone (which zone is obviously moving).

Before I'm flamed for proposing something that's not enforceable, I'm not advocating for a system that is enforced based on actual feet from a skier. Instead, I'm trying to come up with an educational method for teaching skiers what it means to be in control with respect to a downhill skier. (I'm picturing one of those safety posters with a picture of a big yellow circle around a down hill skier).

Near misses don't constitute "in control" for purposes of the Code.
post #37 of 115
What Skidmo suggests seems more in line with reality and what I envision the code to suggest. Is it measurable or enforceable? No, but I have this wacky notion that we should all be responsible for ourselves and avoid having patrollers, yellow jackets, referees, linesmen or mommies monitoring our skiing and trying to assign responsibility after somebody is ran over.
post #38 of 115
Controlling speed by "skiing the slow line fast" is still controlling speed. A skier's own personal reaction time has something to do with what is, and what is not, a speed at which the skier can control direction sufficiently to avoid injury to herself/himself or to others.

If a person is skiing at a speed that does not allow THAT skier in THOSE conditions to control direction to avoid reasonably forseeable obstacles, then the person is skiing just too damned fast, whether the obstacles be trees or people.

Sometimes, the only direction available for the purpose of avoiding injury is - RIGHT THERE! One must STOP, because there is no other choice and no other safe place to go. One must be able to STOP in time to avoid injury, in situations where stopping is the only means available.

A person driving a car at 100 mph in my residential neighborhood full of children can't possibly contol direction sufficiently -or stop - to avoid injury or death in forseeable situations.

Even with ABS, there are times when a driver has no other option than to STOP - because there's no place to turn.

Speed contol through carving affords more directional control than speed control - at the same speed - through skidding. However it may be accomplished, skiing within the limits of one's ability includes skiing within the speed limit at which an individual is able to control direction to the extent required by the circumstances.

[ March 04, 2003, 10:13 AM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #39 of 115
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
[QB]>......Second, with respect to "taking the blame", perhaps we can reason by analogy. What happens when 70 y.o. "Grandma" heads onto the interstate, doesn't pick up speed quite as fast as everyone else, and gets rear-ended when she is still doing 40 mph a quarter mile after the merge lane ends and everyone else around her is doing 65 mph. Suppose both she and the rear-ender survive. Who is at fault? She shouldn't have been going that slow, but 40 mph is still faster than the minimum speed on the interstate. OTOH, the person behind has the obligation to drive in such a way as to avoid slower drivers in front. Etc., etc.
yes, but that is like merging into the fast lane on a highway going fast......perhaps they should select a side in which the quicker traffice moves....like roads. if they're going to threaten people with jail term for an accident when you're sliding 30 mph on ICE!, they might as well require a permit to ski as well. so you already know how to ride down the mountain, checking all sides, looking at all places...then it would be easy to tell who has been riding longer, check when hey got their permit. not to necessarily tell who is a better skier, but who has been on the mountain for more years. they would have more skier/mountain awareness. and those with out a permit are automatically blamed, like drunks. i just believe this is what our sport could turn into if we let these infractions by newbies blame the better skiers of the sport. it maybe be an extreme case of what could happen, but it helps you get the idea. ****in learn how to ride the mountain before gettin in other peopel's way......you turn into a moving tree otherwise. or at least stack yourself up with football gear, so when i ****ing plow over your ass by accident, i don't kill you and get blamed.
post #40 of 115
I had the opportunity today to talk with a Breckenridge Ski Patroller (not an incident responder)about the event that preciptated this thread. Quite interestingly he said when all is said and done this will probably turn out to be a tragic accident not a criminal act. He was quite annoyed the local media (and regional media who have picked up the story) have portrayed this as another Nathan Hall criminal act without having all the relavent facts available. There are significant factual questions as to what actually occured. It may not be a clear cut as some have portrayed.

Mr. Wills (the accused) stayed at the scene, as he was required to do, when he easily could have skied off. Mr. Wills also voluntarily went to the Medical Center where Mr. Henrichs was taken when he was not required to do so. He was arrested there upon the allegation of the vicitms son who might not be the most credible witness given the emotion of the circumstance.

No doubt it is a tragedy, any loss of life is a tragedy. In the next few days we should see how this starts to play out in the legal arena as the District attorney sifts through all the varied reports.
post #41 of 115
Thanks, Ski&Golf. Skiers who might choose Colorado as their vacation destination should watch this closely.
post #42 of 115
Thread Starter 
I am not sure that I will be clear here. Obviously the death is tragic but at this time I feel badly for Mr. Wills as well. I am sure that when he came here for his vacation he did not think that he would be the cause of a mans death and in up in jail. I tend to put myself in his shoes and would feel nothing but despair and anguish over that. Until more details are known he has my sympathy.

What I take from this story is a warning to be careful, not only of others but of my own actions as well.
post #43 of 115
Let me borrow from that, and reverse it: Let me be careful not only of my own actions, but also of the actions of others.

At this moment, we have insufficient information to know who did what to whom. The accused is innocent until proven guilty. The evidence may show that the accused skied in control and was struck by the deceased, who was out of control and responsible for his own fate - or maybe not.

Discussion of these issues creates awareness, and that's good. At the same time that theories of safe skiing are usefully discussed, let's not reach judgment as to the guilt or innocence or anyone before the evidence is presented and considered in a controlled environment.
post #44 of 115
A ski instructor friend once told me that there are two rules in skiing...

1. Don't hurt yourself.
2. Don't hurt anyone else.

It's simple; It works.
post #45 of 115
Good one, Pinhed, sums it up nicely.

Fastman: if you are skiing slowly, or in control etc etc, and you have a "freak accident", you should still be able to control what happens to the extent that you do not hit someone else. It's that simple.
If you cannot control the fall enough to avoid hitting grandma, the kid, or falling off that cliff, then I repeat, you are skiing at the edge of your ability.
post #46 of 115
if you are skiing slowly, or in control etc etc, and you have a "freak accident", you should still be able to control what happens to the extent that you do not hit someone else. It's that simple.

I've never plowed into anyone, nor do I plan to. But I would think most expert skiers have heard of in-bounds death slides. You know, when conditions are such that the ski area brings out the signs that say, "Falling may result in severe injury or death." Humor me. Have you ever heard of self-arrest technique?
post #47 of 115
Originally posted by ShiftyRider:

When skiers fall, are they in control or out of control?
Ummm actually you CAN fall IN CONTROL...

When I learnt to rollerblade the first think I learnt was HOW TO FALL... so you can use this as an emergency stop (don't do it at speed on a hill)...

For a year or two my ski instructor had to keep telling me to 'stop sitting down' ... my previous instructor used to scare me a LOT - my reflex when I saw something I didn't want to ski was to find a spot & 'SIT'... ie throw my butt sideways at the snow... Many people would comment on my 'controlled falls' as they were obviously controlled (I always ended up sitting in a nice SAFE spot & never missed the landing point which may have been only 1/2 metre spot)

Watch a kid on skis having a tantrum - they rarely 'fall' into a skiers path or the snowtrain's path etc ... always just where THEY want to fall
post #48 of 115
Originally posted by ant:
Good one, Pinhed, sums it up nicely.

Fastman: if you are skiing slowly, or in control etc etc, and you have a "freak accident", you should still be able to control what happens to the extent that you do not hit someone else. It's that simple.
If you cannot control the fall enough to avoid hitting grandma, the kid, or falling off that cliff, then I repeat, you are skiing at the edge of your ability.

Ant, your logic just befuddles me! : Do you really believe a person taking a sudden unexpected fall while performing carved GS turns down a groomed black does or should possess the ability to control the direction of the fall and the distance traveled? Have you ever taken one of these falls or seen someone take one?

Do you have a concept of how fall zones expand with speed and pitch. Even if the skier exercises great caution by maintaining considerable distance from other skiers on the slope, because of these expanded fall zones no one on the slope is entirely void of risk.

The only way to totally eliminate all risk to others would be to only ski in this manner when the slope was completely void of other skiers. That situation so rarily exists that in essence what your philosophy does is define anyone making GS turns on groomed black runs as reckless. No one is totally absent of the possibility of falling at anytime, no matter how high their ability level, so in the situation I present no skier would qualify as in control in your eyes because there is some element of risk to others (in any senerio other than empty slopes) and as such would bare potential exposure to litigation. Are you really ready to impose that to our sport? :

Is anybody out there with me on this or am I the only dog in this fight? Do you want to see your potential to enjoy the sport legally challenged as your skills improve? If some of the opinions expressed on this thread were ever implemented into legal standards It would spell the end of my involvement in the sport. Would you be glad to see me go or would you be joining me?

When it comes to lawyers, I think Shakespear had the right idea!!
post #49 of 115
Yes fastman - I agree there ARE freak accidents...

I get angry when people hit me for stupid reasons - but a real accident I can deal with & they do happen...

I once saw my instructor knock a lady down... after he hit a ROCK (like 10") that a groomer had dug out of the road & then recovered with a thin layer of snow...
he minimised the 'damage' in the way he hit her but sure took her down... (He was keeping her away from trees)
She looked much less stressed when he & I hauled the rock OUT of the cattrack to place it in the trees....
post #50 of 115
Nobody mentionned that the density of skiers on the slopes of many ski area has increased a lot since there is high speed quad. Some ski area limit the skier density on the slopes by slowing down the chairs or limiting tickets sales or both. Some area don't. An increase in the density of skier will increase the risk of collisions. I am not saying that this is the case here and that people should not watch their skiing but nobodys is monitoring those density in some ski area and maybe they should. Should ski area be accountable for the density of skier on their slopes. This should be a factor that contribute to accident.
post #51 of 115
Frenchie does have a point. Perhaps the reason that I did not see any collisions at DV has more to do with limited ticket sales than it it has to do with being a skiers only mountain.

Another factor that influences these accidents has to do with how people are accustomned to moving in crowds, under any circumstances.
As anyone who has lived in a crowded urban area can tell you, most people are highly inefficient in choosing a line to move through a crowded area. Having worked at the WTC in NYC for 8 years, I have nightmares to this day, when I think about how many people must have suffered unfortunate deaths, simply because they could not get out of the area quickly enough, without trampling someone are getting trampled upon.

On another note, did you ever watch a crowded aerobics class at a gym? People who are obviously moving in the opposite direction of everyone else and causing human collision, will not alter the way they move.

But I don't think basic movement skills will ever become part of an elementary school curriculum, so we are kind of stuck with what we have.

When I attend sports medicine conferences, some presenters make the generalization that many recreational skiers lack both agility, as well as the ability to DEcelerate. This is evident in the # of ACL injuries that happen, but that's a whole different topic.

So someone can have reasonably good skiing skills, but their reaction times, vis a vis agility, may be somewhat impaired.
post #52 of 115
The merging into traffic issue was brought up.. I concur, but remember cars ahve mirrors and people "tend" to use them. How often do you see a beginner or intermediate skier look back before changing direction? Rarely. In defence of them, they are just trying to stay upright, not that it is a excuse, but the way it is.

If it was that crowded.. MOST advance skiers would have slowed down before this would have even happened. And you have to be going darn fast to not only take someone down and knock them into the woods and hard enough into a tree to do this kind of damage.

Have I ever hit someone while skiing, Yes. But.. it tended to be going slower on a crowed slope. I tend to ski faster than most, but I am very aware of my suroundings. I do not ski 40 MPH when the rest of the trail is doing 10-20 MPH. Anticipation of what the other skier is gonna do plays a big part.

Side note: FWIW, I do not and have no plans on wearing a Helmet.
post #53 of 115
1. Don't hurt yourself.
2. Don't hurt anyone else.
Holistically I tell my students "if you look after your own personal safety then you are looking after everyone else we SHARE the hill with"

My thoughts on reading the article in the local paper about this accident mirror SKI&GOLFS.

The bottom line is there is way to much MACHO "MY LINE PISS OFF" going on out there. If someone yells "on ya right\left" I usually lift the appropriate pole to about chin height just to make sure they don't mean "GET OUT OF MY WAY". I have not been wiped out this year but my poles have a few dents in them. Give the "MY LINE" people something to remember is my motto. Pulled three tickets this year and "explained" the "love thy neighbour" rules to a few skiers\boarders at the same time. Nothing like stopping next to all the "DOH" people standing in the middle of a run and politely in my weird accent saying "nice view from here .... WATCHOUT". Amazing how many people give you the "ITS MY RIGHT TOO" bullshit. Why so many people seem scared of being seen as "INFERIOR" if they care for others on the hill eludes me.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #54 of 115
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by man from oz:

My thoughts on reading the article in the local paper about this accident mirror SKI&GOLFS.

Why? While I can certainly understand this is not the type of publicity resorts would wish for. I think it is good that this type of incident gets coverage. It raises awareness that if you do ski out of control and cause injury or even worse that you maybe held accountable and face very serious consequences. There are many skiers out there that have no idea of the “code” or think that it is merely a suggestion.

I applaud you that you were willing to pull tickets. I think it should happen far more often than it does. Numerous times I have overheard someone bragging that a patroller yelled for him or her to slow down. That it is somehow a confirmation that they must be good to ski so fast as to warrant a warning. But that is another thread.
post #55 of 115
Kima, I agree with what you say, but at the same time we must remember that this man has been arrested and incarcerated under a charge of recklessness that goes beyond even Nathan Hall's negligence conviction. And STILL the authorities don't even know if the tragedy was the Brit's fault. I find this incomprehensible.
post #56 of 115
Thread Starter 
Ahh Shifty Rider. Are you referring to a much larger problem of "news" being reported without complete facts?

[ March 05, 2003, 11:45 AM: Message edited by: Kima ]
post #57 of 115
Fastman --- I'm on your side on this one

I've been watching this thread for a while here, and I've been a little surprised by the extent to which people are convinced that they are infallible.

hypothetical situation: If you are on a crowded trail, you will invariably be skiing near people. Stopping is quite possibly the worst option you have; stop in the middle of the trail and you are a gigantic obstacle, but on the edge of the trail, lots of purported experts will be coming along fairly quickly (whether you feel their speed is justified or not is irrelevant: they're going fast and you have to cope). So, you putter along the trail keeping your speed down and skiing with your wits about you. Fine. That's the logical course of action and the responsible way you should ski. however, if you catch an edge and fall onto a patch of ice (this happens all hte time at whiteface) and slide into someone, you've done all you could to be responsible, yet you still fell and hit someone. you weren't out of control except for that freak moment at which you caught an edge (something everyone does from time to time), you weren't going fast or not skiing in an alert manner. In fact, this type of fall (in my experience) is caused most frequently by intermediates who simply make a mistake or are caught off guard and then slide on ice. Self arresting on ice is nearly impossible. So, should this person be held accountable by the mountain and the 'victim'? of course not! skiing as a sport has lots of inherent risks, and while we must be responsible personally for skiing within our abilities at a reasonable rate of speed, we also accept certain risks of the sport. As avalanches are a risk you assume if you ski out of bounds, a dynamic environment full of possible (human) accidents is something you accept when you ski at a resort. if someone is egregiously out of control, inebriated, or both, and causes serious injury to someone else, they certainly havee a large share of the liability, but if they were skiing at a moderate speed and caught an edge or had a similar minor error, something nobody can be expected to prevent 100% of the time, that person should not be legally liable for the accident. they should certainly be hospitable to the victim, etc, but the 'victim' accepted that sort of risk when they purchased their lift ticket and began skiing in a crowded area. If we were all risking being thrown off of mountains by ski patrol and/or sued (or even held criminally responsible) every time we caught an edge on a crowded trail, skiing would be about as exciting as bridge. the sort of skiing this model of the world people are advocating implies is a skiing world in which resorts are avoided at all costs, damaging their success and the heartiness of the skiing industry. even worse, the type of skiing on mountains would become extremely defensive and painstaking; to the point that the sport would lose a large part of its appeal to any new audiences, and drive disgusted veteran skiers away.

While I do have a strong belief in individual responsibility, I understand and believe that in the skiing world, one accepts risks. One accepts not only the risk of the mountain and oneself, but also other people. No skier is infallible, and many a skier in complete control one moment, skiing at a low speed, has lost that control the next moment and nudged or knocked over another skier. they are not irresponsible or dangerous, and should not be jailed or fined or thrown off of the mountain.

I have to go work in a lab for a few hours and prepare for a few eaxms tomorrow, so my rant is ending here.
post #58 of 115
I'm with you too Fastman. I don't care who you are or how many years you've skied without an accident. Things can go wrong - equipment failure, sudden loss of visibility, hidden ice or rocks, other people doing something completely unexpected... Yes, if you're good you can most likely recover from one or more of these events, but not always, and it doesn't prevent freak things from occuring. Anyone ever had a ski come off and even though the brakes deployed the ski shoots straight down the hill? Or suddenly went from being able to see clearly to being in a white out (or blinding sun) in an instant?

Life is not black and white. You cannot say that if you EVER hit ANYONE under ANY circumstance, you're guilty of negligence because you must have been out of control. It may be the most likely explanation - but it is not a given. There's a reason these things are investigated, and a reason you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Put me in the group where if it comes to the point where I feel I could be risking jailtime for an accident regardless of the circumstances I won't be skiing at resorts anymore.
post #59 of 115
Put me in the group where if it comes to the point where I feel I could be risking jailtime for an accident regardless of the circumstances I won't be skiing at resorts anymore.
Me, too. I definitely will not ski in Colorado at this point.

What we have, according to the latest reports, is only one witness. The deceased's son said the accused skied into the deceased at 10-20 mph. The deceased was said to be skiing 5-10 mph. The "weapon" (tree), unlike the Nathan Hall case, did not belong to the accused. The accused invoked his Miranda Right.

The accused has now been incarcerated for what, four or five days now?
post #60 of 115
Here are two sites carrying the story of this tragedy. Just for fun see how many facts are different in the two stories. Makes me wonder about the quality of the reporting from one or both sources.



Remember the charges here are criminal not civil. The standards for criminal charges are very strict and the state has the burden of proof. The charges at the time of the news reports were 1st degree assault and reckless endangerment. These should be changed to something like manslaughter, or dropped, now that the victim has died.

I suspect that many of us have been involved in auto accidents. In your experience, is it common for the at-fault-driver to be arrested for assault or reckless endangerment? No? I thought not.

While I do not take at face value the charges, I suspect that what happened was not the usual run of the mill collision between skiers. The problem is the news reports do not fully report the details. They only report what they knew at the time of publication.

It is probably not a good idea to jump to conclusions about what happened until the facts are fully described. But once the facts are known, have at it.

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