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Skier death at Winterplace
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Updated 11 years ago
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11 years ago
Charleston Gazette

This was in the charleston gazette this morning. Sad to see.
11 years ago
Just like amusement parks (i.e., Disney, Universal) deaths and injuries go unreported. I wish there were Federal laws to require reporting, but there are not. Bet you didn’t know someone DIED AT SNOWSHOE last week! You won’t see that on Snowshoe.com! Employees are instructed to keep quiet. You know how half the people on Cupp shouldn’t be there. This women was one of them…kissed a tree…to death.
11 years ago
Rich,
This has been one of my pet peeves (and I’m sure many other skiers as well). People ski WAY beyond their ability level. I wish resorts would institute a test and indicate your ability on your ticket/pass. On President’s weekend, I was at the Shoe. I was making a run down Lower-Shay’s when I heard behind me scraping/chattering getting closer and closer. I finally darted off to the edge of the trail and saw a school-age kid zoom by totally out of control (straight-lining with arms waving, etc ) If I hadn’t quickly moved out of the way, there probably would have been two of us hurt!. Ok, my rant is over…

-Warren-
11 years ago
No … your rant-is-right. Unfortunately “Business” rules tell them to Encourage, not Discourage patronage. Did you know they did that at Hunter Mountain, NY. They made kids ski a test run on the Greens side and have a Patroller punch their lift ticket to make it valid on the blue/black lifts!
Short related Snowshoe Story: saw a l-i-t-t-l-e kid taking off the top of Shays in a wedge. I tried to stay up on him figuring I could save his life if heading for the trees. Not only did I play hell trying to keep up, he headed right down LOWER SHAYS making the best linked wedge cristies I’d seen. I met him at the bottom where he skied up on his Dad who said “yeah, I just go ahead and he meets me at the bottom”! AND HE WAS 5(FIVE). Ya gots to know your limits! HE DID and COULD. Cutest thing (2’ tall, half was the helmet) I’d seen there - and good. There’s adults there that SHOULDN’T BE.
11 years ago
Yeah, this is a pet peeve of all of us, I suppose. You see a lot less of this at the bigger resorts out west- or maybe there’s just fewer people per acre so the “out of my range” types don’t attract the same level of attention. Winterplace seems to attract a particularly high number of clueless people though.

I think a lot of this has to do with people underestimating how dangerous skiing can be. You spend your time either skiing greens where you can’t get hurt bad, and then you and your buddies try out a steeper run because, hey, you can’t really get hurt on the green so the same rule must apply on steeper runs, too, right? Yeah, right.

But we’ve all done it before. I was definitely in over my head once at Steamboat and almost got my ticket pulled by a ski patroller (at least they were stern enough to threaten to pull my ticket… I think the only reason they didn’t was because it was clear I had absolutely no intention of going back to that run the rest of the day). You do have to go a little above your ability to improve. So there has to be a little leniency here.

However, it’s also clear that some people just have no concept about how much danger they’re putting themselves and other people in. There really should be tougher penalties for doing so.
11 years ago
Now it’s my turn. As most here know, I am no huge fan of VA and WV skiing. HOWEVER, I had no idea how good I had it until last week. My family (wife and 2 kids) starting skiing three seasons ago. They have been with me to Snowshoe, Seven Springs, Wintergreen and Blue Knob without even the slightest of problems. We went to the Pocono’s and beginners hit my wife and son 3 times in 2 days! North East PA has it much worse than we do………………..
11 years ago
I myself can honestly say I’ve been on both ends of this argument. When I first learned to board and only on my third trip out, I had two friends who were expert boarders actually convince me to go down “The Drop” at Timberline. Mind you, I still didn’t even have full balance on a board yet and I wrecked and rolled down off that trail.

Then last year when I was cruising down Wisp Trail at wisp, I got taken out by a 5 year old on skis who was straightlining it down the trail with his mom in tow. For a moment I thought maybe I had my ACL taken out, but thankfully I was OK afterwards. The kid starts bawling as if he was severely injured. Rather he was absolutely OK and then no sooner does he get up does his mom congratulate him on how well he did, and he starts straightlining it down the rest of the slope.

The problem lies in two areas. First people have a lack of respect of the slopes they are on. This includes being aware of changing conditions, what ski/board equipment can really do and the shear ignorance of going straight to the top to fly down off a trail. The second problem is that for those whose risk management parts of their brain are over developed, there are stupid friends convincing them to finally do something well beyond their abilities. This includes the parents looking to show off their kids by taking their 8 year old down Cupp.

I’ve often thought of what a potential solution would be for this. Unfortunately due to the rising operating costs of a ski resort business in the Mid-Atlantic, resorts need more and more volume of skiiers to make financial ends meet. So when I think about training courses, passing tests, ‘proving’ ones self before getting a ticket, I realize this would create a bottleneck so large no one would ever make it to the trails. I just can’t imagine seeing a place like Wisp or SnowShoe requiring everyone who shows up to show an instructor they are capable, or to watch a video, take a class, etc. You’d have hundreds if not thousands backlogged with no one on the trails.

Maybe a database system where you show your ID of having been there before after having taken advanced lessons which gives you an ‘unlimited’ ticket which lets you go at any part of the mountain. Where as the newbie has a different colored ticket that lets patrol know they can’t go on blacks, blues, etc. Although again, with as many people as I see on MLK day, that is still almost impossible with as few patrollers vs as many people having to watch tickets.

One real possibility is for ski resorts to create volunteer/paid? programs where they create a secondary skipatrol staff. This staff probably wouldn’t be medically trained to help in an accident like the regular ski patrol, but this group of volunteers could ride the slopes all day watching for erratic and stupid behavior. The resort could bestow on these volunteers to punch/pull/clip a ticket when they see wreckless behavior or out of control skiing on the slopes. Best of all would be the final authority that this group could have when pulling a ticket. They pull it, it’s final, you now go home.

However even something to that affect would require true dedicationg to the slopes on a daily or regular basis with dedication to safe skiing/riding.
11 years ago
I was at SS last Saturday and a very bad accident happened over at SC on Flying Eagle. I didn’t see it happen but came buy just after. The person injured was a boarder who ended up going off trail, falling into a ditch, then stricking a fallen tree (didn’t strike anyone else). Appears he/she struck the tree at chest level at a high speed. Took the rescue folks some time to “board” him/her before lifting him/her from the ditch. Seems the patrol did a good job. Could this be a different problem from the one Rich referred to (I think he said Cupp Run)? This accident was one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time and really had concerns about their injury. I wish him/her the best!
11 years ago
That is very sad to hear but I wish I could say it was shocking. I’ve often joked with friends that a trip to Winterplace wasn’t complete unless you witnessed an near death incident. But in all seriousness, it’s an indication of how dangerous skiing there and at almost any ski resort can be. I agree with you Warren, there should be some sort of aptitude test. Many people have no clue what they are doing and I’m not talking about knowledge of proper skiing form but just an understanding of the potential dangers. This is particularly true at Winterplace since a large percentage of their skiers are first-timers. I suspect many posters on this board grew up skiing and were taught how to ski by their parents but for many, they are going out there with little clue as to what they are getting into and no one knowledgeable enough around them to warn them. This is not meant to be a knock against them, I was one of them once. The extent of my coaching going into my first trip was being pointed towards the rental line. Fortunately I have enough fear of pain that I kept myself out of harms way. If you’re lucky a few harmless falls will let you know you’re in over your head. For others it’s a harder lesson.

When you think about it, it’s really amazing how easy it is for a person to unknowingly get themselves in a very dangerous situation. You can’t just go out and rent hang-gliding gear or scuba gear. You’ve got to prove to them you know what you’re doing first.
11 years ago
It’s probably a lesser problem out west because when they say it’s a black or double black diamond they are not kidding. There is a very real chance of serious injury or death so I think folks are less likely to push it. Around here though folks take local hills less seriously without doing the math. Fast is fast regardless of where you are and trees are hard and very unforgiving. Sliding above your ability is fine and necessary to improve but the limit should be inched higher slightly every time. When you can navigate a blue under control and in no danger to yourself or others I think then you are ready for the next step.

I’ve seen it so many times, and the terrain park is a great study in this, where people with absolutely no ability get on slopes way above their head and while they think it’s hilarious everyone else runs the risk of being injured. Not cool.
11 years ago
Quote:

I think a lot of this has to do with people underestimating how dangerous skiing can be. You spend your time either skiing greens where you can’t get hurt bad, and then you and your buddies try out a steeper run because, hey, you can’t really get hurt on the green so the same rule must apply on steeper runs, too, right? Yeah, right.





I’m not sure you can’t seriously hurt yourself on many green trails. That’s part of the problem. Green is supposed to be easy but I guarantee that at any given time you could find some who is in over there head on a green trail and quite possilby traveling at a rate of speed that could do some damage, particularly when you consider the drop off that many of these trails have into the woods.

Many advanced skiers forget just how hard skiing was to learn. Quite possibly because they did it as a kid. As a result, they become as much a part of the problem as the beginners themselves. I saw a man going down Cascade at Silver Creek with a 4 year old teathered in front of him. The kid could barely lift his skis, much less control them. What could the kid have possibly been learning from that?
11 years ago
OK, I’ve started and killed several posts on this topic. Let’s try again.

First, I skied WinterPlace for the first time this season, and was pleasantly surprised by the terrain and the snow, but the crowd was scary. Not in quantity, but in quality. Far too many church groups, tourists, and once-a-year skiers trying to negotiate terrain way beyond their ability. There was entertainment value in the amazing wreck, faceplant, and “How did he ever recover from that?” exhibitions, but I’m glad I wasn’t mowed over by one of those bozos. I think the 15 year olds on shorty skis are the worst.

As for kids on the blacks, I took my youngest to the blacks exclusively after, at 5, he was clobbered by a church group kid on a snowboard on a green at Wintergreen. I just find the blacks safer. Now, I did my best to make sure he stayed in control, and he’s well aware of the responsibility code. The result? I sure wish I could ski the double blacks out west like he could when he was ten, and he’s the type of kid who never skis past a wreck without stopping to help. I thought he caused a wreck once, but when I asked, the response from the wreckee was “No way! Those dudes have it together”.

So … 5 year olds on Shay’s or Cupp’s? Go for it, but make sure they do it right. I’ll feel a lot more comfortable ten years from now when those same kids are out there making me envious.

As for the fatalities … they happen, to bad skiers and good ones. It’s a hazard of our sport, and part of what makes it so darned exciting.

Ski fast people, but ski smart and have fun.
11 years ago
Quote:

This is not meant to be a knock against them, I was one of them once. The extent of my coaching going into my first trip was being pointed towards the rental line.




My story is similar, except I bought gear before ever skiing, and then assured my friends that I’d done it before. Man! We’re talking lace boots, and 6’ 6” wood skis with SkiFree cable bindings. I came flying down the headwall on that first day out, and smacked HARD into the shack that served as a lodge at this Northern Wisconsin hole-in-the wall (or should I say pimple on the earth?). Heaven help any poor soul who might’ve gotten in the way. Thirty-eight years later, I can honestly say I don’t remember ever crashing into another person on the slopes, but there have been some close calls.
11 years ago
When I see a trail that causes a distinct puckering sensation, I steer clear. I hope to some day be good enough to throw myself off a cliff or down a steep tree run, but no way I wanna die alone wrapped around a tree in the snow. (well, i suppose dying skiing is a better way to go than some)

I got smacked in the face by a woman’s poles just Saturday. She was fiddling with gloves on the narrow traverse heading to Shembogan at Blue Knob. Suddenly she swung poles out perpendicular to her body at head height. I shrieked (not quite like Ned Flanders or a little girl, but close). Took the shaft of the poles in the cheek. I coulda lost an eye. She gave me a dirty look.

It’s amazing how unaware people are of those around them. Why do people like to stop in narrow blind turns and block the entire trail? Why do they love to gape just on the other side of a jump?


mm
11 years ago
Quote:

Just like amusement parks (i.e., Disney, Universal) deaths and injuries go unreported. I wish there were Federal laws to require reporting, but there are not. Bet you didn’t know someone DIED AT SNOWSHOE last week! You won’t see that on Snowshoe.com! Employees are instructed to keep quiet. You know how half the people on Cupp shouldn’t be there. This women was one of them…kissed a tree…to death.




A ski industry official called me about this issue. There was an accident on Sunday at Snowshoe and the person was flown out by Healthnet for “precautionary reasons.” The person did not sustain fatal injuries. Medical evacuations at ski are routine these days—nothing to get alarmed about. Every fatality that occurred on the slopes at Snowshoe since 1994 because of a skiing or snowboarding accident was reported to the media via a press release.
11 years ago
Quote:

Just like amusement parks (i.e., Disney, Universal) deaths and injuries go unreported. I wish there were Federal laws to require reporting, but there are not. Bet you didn’t know someone DIED AT SNOWSHOE last week! You won’t see that on Snowshoe.com! Employees are instructed to keep quiet. You know how half the people on Cupp shouldn’t be there. This women was one of them…kissed a tree…to death.




I am concerned about safety on the slopes but I also want to make sure the facts are reported. I’ve been in touch with some of my industry contacts, and according to my contacts, there was *NOT* a fatal accident at Snowshoe last week. There was a medical evacuation from the mountain due to an injury, but it was not a fatal accident.

In the past decade, every ski-related death at Snowshoe was announced and reported to the media in a timely fashion.

It is also inaccurate to say that Snowshoe employees are instructed to keep quiet about accidents — that is not the case. Employees are instructed to refer questions about an accident to the resort’s Communications Department. That is codified in Snowshoe’s employee manual, and I believe most ski resorts have a similar policy. The reason for this policy is to prevent misinformation and rumors from spreading. In fact, most companies (regardless of industry, or topic) have similar requirements. The Communications Department exists to get accurate, comprehensive information out to the press in a systematic and timely manner.

I have covered the mid-Atlantic ski industry for over a decade now, and I can’t think of an incident where a local ski resort actively tried to withhold information about a ski fatality. You won’t see a resort putting information about an accident on the front page of their web site, but in my experience they get the details out to the media and don’t try to cover up any accidents. I’ve been told it’s one of the toughest aspects of their job (for all resort employees, from responding ski patrol members to the communications department). It’s hard to be unemotional about such a thing.

In general, I have chosen not to provide extensive editorial coverage of local accidents on DCSki. I do this mainly out of respect for families who have lost a loved one. For example, I certainly would not want a family reading a long stream of comments from DCSki readers assigning blame to a victim for an accident, especially when it would be difficult for any of us to have all the facts. I hope you can all appreciate my position. Instead, I try to ensure that DCSki has regular coverage promoting skier safety awareness.

- Scott
11 years ago
Quote:

Rich,
This has been one of my pet peeves (and I’m sure many other skiers as well). People ski WAY beyond their ability level. I wish resorts would institute a test and indicate your ability on your ticket/pass.




There have been times when I wanted to express this same sentiment.

Unfortunatly, the “pass a test” thing can be a two-edged sword. Yes, it would be nice to keep the “riff-raff” off the expert slopes. However, as was already mentioned, it can put off many folks, as well as the potential to create a bottle-neck on a crowded day.

Also, there is the issue of liability. First, just who determines if somebody is “good enough” to go over there, and what criteria do they use? One person may say somebody is “good enough” wheras somebody else may not. Now, what if that “good enough” person got up there and wiped out hard and got injured. It could come back onto the resort saying, “Well, you guys said he was good enough to ski up there, but actually was not”.

And for the patrol enforcing ski safety, unfortunatly, much like the police dealing with moron drivers, the patrol cannot be everywhere, all the time. Also, somebody mentioned setting up a “safety patrol” to just enforce the rules. Many ski areas already do this. They are often refered to as “courtsey patrol”, “safety patrol”, or “mountain host”, depending on the area. Not only do they help the regular ski patrol enforce the rules, but they often help with general questions, i.e., “Where is the bathroom?”, “where is a good place to get something to eat?”, etc, as well as just general guest service, such as helping somebody having trouble putting a ski back on after a wipeout. In fact, this is a good way if you want to become proactive in promoting skier safety. Check at your favorite resort and see if they have such a program, and if they take volunteers. You may even be able to get some free skiing out of it as well. The best place to ask is usually at guest services and/or the ski patrol office. I’d start at guest services. If they don’t know or can’t answer, than try the ski patrol office.
11 years ago
Come to think of it, I almost got run over by a kid at Wisp this December. He came barreling across a trail sitting on the back of his skis. I swerved, and although we were skiing side-by-side it’s like he didn’t even see me. I was up against the side of the trail and he kept moving toward me, until there was about three feet left between him and the trees… and I was in that three feet.

I told him to watch out and he told me “f*&% you.” He was from some church group up from Jacksonville. Why do church groups manage to find the most vile tempered teenagers and display them to the public?

Kennedy, you’re right that you definitely have to inch your way up. It’s easy to misjudge- sometimes you overestimate and wind up on an easier trail than you guessed, and sometimes you underestimate and sideslip down for safety.

And Murph, you’re right, I didn’t mean to say greens are THAT easy. My experience with my girlfriend at Wisp proved that, as have some other experiences previously with beginners elsewhere. What looks deadly flat to me (and probably most people on this board) can look like the TABLE EDGE OF DOOM to a beginner skier. It doesn’t help that a lot of novice terrain serves as catchments for numerous runs on a mountain. Consequently you wind up with a lot of different skier types barreling down the same run. I’ll bet some of the worst accidents happen on novice terrain, which explains the “slow skiing” signs that have become predominant.
11 years ago
John, Thanks for setting the record straight that while there was an injury, no one died. Unfortunately not all DCSki posters make a corrected post. I was at the Shoe the 25th through yesterday and heard talk about a person getting a concussion and kept overnight in a local hospital. Maybe this was the injury; if so, she apparently was basically OK.
The Colonel
11 years ago
No problem. Helicopters actually make skiing much, much safer. My hat goes off to the brave medvac crews who fly missions to places like Snowshoe and Timberline to pick up injured skiers. Those people, local ems, and the NATIONAL SKI PATROL do wonderful work. It’s up to us to ski responsibly and keep their workload as light as possible.
11 years ago
Late Sunday afternoon, at Snowshoe, I was skiing down the narrow “Lower Hootenanny” to ski the “Widowmaker” slope. Suddenly a boarder, traveling fast, cut right in front and when I tried to execute an “emergency stop” I hit a patch of ice resulting in a real “yard sale”. I was OK but it could have been much worse because I fell on my pole which was stuck at a 45 degree angle between the center of my chest and the surface. The composite material pole snapped and I avoided a major injury. A skier above me stopped to help pick up my gear as riders continued to go past us at a high speed, even though my gear, my body and the Good Samaritan probably narrowed the trail by a third on the right side. As I got up to retrieve my gear and move off of the trail I heard the telltale icy chatter of a skier approaching at an alarmingly high rate of speed. Suddenly she noticed that the path ahead was cluttered (no idea what she was watching before since the straight trail meant the accident was easily visible from above) and she fell, flying into the ditch and hydrants head first. Fortunately she was OK, although quite dazed. I believe that most accidents, including some of my own, are caused by excessive speed and a lack of full attention. This is especially true here in the east where the thaw/freeze cycle can result in ice just below a seemingly snowy slope, making an evasive maneuver difficult, if not impossible, to execute. “Defensive Skiing” is as important as “defensive driving”, meaning always be aware of the environment around you.
Take Care and Think Snow!
The Colonel
11 years ago
I don’t have a problem with inexperience on the slopes nearly as much as I have a problem with it on the lifts. I can’t stand a 20 minute lift ride because people cannot load/unload the lift.

I’ve always thought that lift personnel ought to be outfitted with markers of one color for each lift. Three stops of the chair per day for you and you’re booted off that lift for a few hours. Of course, there would have to be atleast one beginner-friendly lift, but it sure would make my day more enjoyable.

There are “Experts Only” trails so why not “Experts Only” lifts?
11 years ago
I also posted this as a new topic. Ski accidents are not funny, but this one???!!!
Many years ago while skiing at Mt. Sutton, just over the Canadian border from VT.; I met a contingent of Commerce Dept. ski clubbers staying at the same hotel. In the group was a young, somewhat athletically challenged, woman named “Jane” (not her real name). Sutton had a ski off at the start of each week to determine what class level was appropriate for each ski weeker. “Jane” and another guy were put in the beginner class, and by days end, both were moved to a “remedial” beginners class of two - Jane skied ever so slow and fell often and the other guy always bombed straight down whatever green slope their class was on. He was always fussing at “Jane” for falling and going so slow. Well, late on the third morning (these were all day lessons, by the way) I looked up from the line at the bottom T bar and saw “Jane’s” class coming down the slope, and the guy was going full bore, straight down. Now below us was a parking lot, so the resort had placed a very solid four rail fence to prevent ski jumping into windshields. From the line we watched the guy in the remedial class getting closer without any signs of slowing down…did I mention we were in French speaking Canada? Suddenly we all moved aside to avoid being clobbered and this guy went full bore into the fence, straddling a post, skis on both sides and under the lower ankle high rail. He hit standing (collapsed?)straight up. There was a moment of stunned silence and everybody shouted as one “are you all right?” He responded with a long painful moan while still up against the fence….I mean he had been going as fast as one could go on this short slope. With no response observed several formally in the lift line asked the same question in French, and he responded in French with the same loud painful moan. The ski patrol arrived quickly and pulled the guy off of the fence, BUT before they arrived, little “Jane” reached the bottom, skied up to her classmate, put her hands on her hips and said “Better to fall down than to hit the fence!!!” By the way, he was back skiing the next afternoon.
Speed can kill, or cause a sudden octave switch in one’s voice!
The Colonel
11 years ago
Quote:

I don’t have a problem with inexperience on the slopes nearly as much as I have a problem with it on the lifts. I can’t stand a 20 minute lift ride because people cannot load/unload the lift.

I’ve always thought that lift personnel ought to be outfitted with markers of one color for each lift. Three stops of the chair per day for you and you’re booted off that lift for a few hours. Of course, there would have to be atleast one beginner-friendly lift, but it sure would make my day more enjoyable.

There are “Experts Only” trails so why not “Experts Only” lifts?




Sure, I ‘ve seen plenty of those out West *doh* .. Are you talking about out here in mid atlantic area ? *sigh*
11 years ago
They need two lift lines, one would be an express line for people who are ready to ski right on and ride up. The other could be for people who stand around and dawdle, for whatever reason. Some dawdlers I run into on a regular basis are: people talking on phones, people waiting for friends, people who can’t ski well enough to get in line, people dealing with equipment issues. It’s irritating when people are clogging up the line in front of me while empty/part-empty chairs whoosh by.

I have heard a lot of complaints about snowboarders clogging up lift lines at both ends with the buckle/unbuckle sequence, but the good ones are as anxious to get back on the hill as everyone else and are not really a problem (they usually have the routine down). I’d say it’s a small minority that are getting in the way because they are snowboarders (ie, they would be in another category above).

The biggest problem seems to be people who are not in a hurry to get through the line, and end up blocking traffic. Last week at Wintergreen, two kids were waiting at the “toll gates” for the Blue Ridge Express. Just standing there, while the gates opened and closed and the lines of people behind them were stationary. Someone finally asked, and it turns out the kids were just waiting for their friends! If I ever did something like that, my dad would have bonked ski poles over my head. I was not an angel by any means, but did learn to be considerate of others!

Best story, which I shared on EpicSki recently: I am next in line for the Big Acorn lift at Wintergreen, with three other people (it’s a quad). The first chair passes, so I ski out behind it. The three other people were confused, and waited a long time, finally skiing out right in front of the next chair which scoops them up sideways and dumps them in a pile on the bench. SO there I am standing on the red line like a good boy (I had even centered myself since I was the only one there) and now there’s a chair loaded with a tangle of arms, legs, skis, and poles heading for me. The chair scooped me up before the lifties hit the stop button, and I had no choice but to sit on the lap of this lady. Chair finally stops, and I stand up while the three other folks play twister for 20-30 seconds and compose themselves. The risks of being a single!

Craig
11 years ago
Interesting story Craig. I actually wrote to Wintergreen management in late-January about inattentive lifties on the A-side lift (and a few other things). I received an immediate response, thanking me for my comments and assuring me certain items were addressed that day. I’ve noticed better service on Acorn since then. When was your experience?
11 years ago
It was Jan 27, if I remember right. The last couple times I have gone, I would say the liftie attention rate is all over the place. For the most part, they are not really paying a lot of attention when it’s a light day. Not sure if it’s any better on weekends.

Back in December, I saw an issue at the top of B.R. Express where a guy on my chair fell on his way off the lift, losing a ski in the process. Like an idiot, he walked back up the ramp to retrieve his ski, right in the path of the next chair which was full of people. Somehow there was not another crash, but I expected the chair to be stopped. We looked in the control room at the top, and the lifty was busy talking to someone else and did not even notice the situation. I was kind of pissed about that, and another couple safety issues I saw that day, to the point where I considered e-mailing somebody in management, but I never did. There are a lot of situations where inexperienced skiers/riders could hurt innocent bystanders getting on/off the lift, and the staff could certainly do a better job anticipating and avoiding those cases.
11 years ago
Quote:

… I was kind of pissed about that, and another couple safety issues I saw that day, to the point where I considered e-mailing somebody in management, but I never did. There are a lot of situations where inexperienced skiers/riders could hurt innocent bystanders getting on/off the lift, and the staff could certainly do a better job anticipating and avoiding those cases.




I think it’s always worth contacting management. For those of us who ski regularly at Wintergreen, it’s easier to write it off as a bad day (but still not excuseable). For those who might be first-time skiers at WTG, it could color their whole impression. I think there have been an unusual number of inattentive lift attendants on the Highlands this year too. I felt bad when a friend we invited up reported that the lift attendant on the Highlands was a moron and he waited way longer than would have been expected if the attendant knew how to process the line.

Re out of control skiers/boarders, recently my dad was completely knocked off his skis, flipped in the air, and landed flat on his back when a boarder slammed into him from behind. This was mid-week, on Dobie, with plenty of room to avoid a collision! (And, my dad skis pretty slowly, with very predictable turns.) There were no ski patrol around, and the boarder zoomed off with no apology. My dad reported this to the lift attendant, who said there was nothing she could do.
11 years ago
This thread made me think of the time a boarder ran over my brother’s skis on Widowmaker at Snowshoe. My brother caught up with the guy at the lift (approx age 18-20) and said he could have at least stopped to apologize. His response was something like, “F you. It’s not like I knocked you down or anything.”
11 years ago
Quote:

Charleston Gazette

This was in the charleston gazette this morning. Sad to see.




Tried to google some more current info on this incident but had no luck. Anyone have any more details?
11 years ago
I had close one in the terrain park at Whitetail the weekend before Utah. I was hitting one of the tables and about a second before I left the lip this kid on snowblades flies right across my line in front of me. Lucky we didn’t have a mid air collision. I followed his ass down and told him how lucky he was that I didn’t nail him mid air and to call his drop and watch his line. He didn’t seem too fazed by it. Maybe the mid air would have been a solid learning experience.
11 years ago
Quote:

Re out of control skiers/boarders, recently my dad was completely knocked off his skis, flipped in the air, and landed flat on his back when a boarder slammed into him from behind. This was mid-week, on Dobie, with plenty of room to avoid a collision! (And, my dad skis pretty slowly, with very predictable turns.) There were no ski patrol around, and the boarder zoomed off with no apology. My dad reported this to the lift attendant, who said there was nothing she could do.




That is pretty bad — he could have been really hurt. Next time that happens, contact ski patrol directly and give a good description of the boarder, even point him out if possible (which may be tough after you’ve gotten your clock cleaned and are laying in the snow). Hitting someone from behind is one of the worst offenses a skier/rider can commit in the eyes of Ski Patrol — the downhill person always has the right of way, and the up hill person must be able to avoid them. When they can’t, it’s a pretty serious violation (=skiing out of control).

I have seen a lot of this at Wintergreen, and unfortunately ski patrol doesn’t seem to be around enough to catch the problems. After watching a couple near-misses this year, I am a lot more aware of traffic behind me.

I am kind of surprised the lifty said she couldn’t do anything. At other ski areas, I have seen ski patrol waiting at the top of a lift ready to “intercept” someone who was reported by lifties at the bottom.
11 years ago
I can tell you that a couple of season ago, I had a guy (a good skier but bad judgement) air a mogul on the side of upper-Ballhooter zooming by my daughter by mear inches!!! I caught up to him and said that was a bad call. He told me as how he’s not hit anyone in the 55 days he’s been skiing that season. When I complained to the liftie, she basically laughed at me and said I could gripe all day as far as she’s concerned. I later filed a complaint with both Snowshoe and Intrawest management explaining how they were now liable via their inaction if anyone was hurt by this guy. In this case, I received a reply indicating that she was wrong, no longer worked there and they indeed are supposed to inform Ski Patrol regarding reckless skiing complaints.

-Warren-
11 years ago
I was at Whitetail on Tues. night. The runs off the front side HSQ were full of young male skiers and boarders going straight down at very high speeds on the verge of losing control. They did this over and over coming within inches of others. The patrol were nowhere to be seen. In fact I haven’t seen ski patrol at any mid Atlantic area pull a ticket or even warn anybody for at least 15 years. I have concluded that they have abdicated their duties, perhaps with the encouragement of management, in order to keep ticket sales up.
11 years ago
I believe this sort of behavior is exacerbated by putting terrain parks at the bottom of easier runs and providing no localized access to just the park, or having the park as a standalone entity away from a run…

As such many boarders, who (seem) to have little interest in carving, then sort of straight-shot their way down to get to where their interests lie… the park. And herein lies the problem.

In my mind, localized transporation directly to the top of a park of some type (rope tow, moving platform, etc…) in these areas might help things quite a bit.

Angle Drop at Whitetail is a good example, completely ruined really by the terrain park at the bottom — well really the boarders that make use of it. It’s not uncommon to see rows of boarders sitting on their butts on this hill, and as they make their way down — having NOT A CLUE as to how to actually use their board at all that i can tell…except to more or less go straight, or slide a bit to check speed. (all that often need to line up for a jump)

So, while there are other issues involved, perhaps a little technology and planning could mitigate many of these issues…

(thus avoiding making anyone take any personal responsibility for themselves, or learn how to use their equipement in any way … or the resort operators from having to fine their cash cows…, etc…, etc…)
11 years ago
Kev I agree and disagree. I agree that putting the park at the bottom of Angel Drop without considering the need for localised lifts in advance was a bad move but in a way it had to be done. Previously it was at Stalker so boarders and skiers rode the beginner lift to get back to the park. As a result you have a bad mix of people who can move pretty fast mixing with a group that moves slowly or unpredictably. It also opened the temptation for beginners not ready for a park to try their hand at it because it was accessible. Moving the park to Angel has reduced this mix but it does overload the quad and upper Angel with skiers and boarders who just want to session the park. WT has apparantly been talking for a while about putting in a drag lift solely for park use. This would probably alleviate a good deal of the traffic from Angel Drop.

I disagree that this is a solely boarder thing. Check the park on a regular day, more and more skiers are hitting it and hitting it exclusively. Twin tip skis are becoming more common. And for every time you’ve seen a reckless boarder I’ve seen reckless skiers. I nearly got taken out at 7 springs by a skier on one of the green trails heading back to the front side. I was riding down on the right side of the trail taking it easy waiting for my wife and this guy rips by within 6 inches of me without calling his line. I was tempted to open up and follow him down but I was with my wife and didn’t want to leave her on her own. I had a kid on skis come off Home Run at Whitetail and come all the way across Limelight right in front of me. I had an oh s*** moment and managed to avoid her. Her dad was following her in slacked jawed oblivion.

Saying that the terrain park ruined Lower Angel is a matter of opinion. Personally I was bummed that Exhibition was allowed to bump up. That was a great cruiser run with great rollers and terrain changes unfortunately though thats just how it is so I make the best of Farside and Bold Decision.

All in all it’s hard to attribute blame completely to anyone in this case. I feel that Whitetail did what they did in the interest of safety on the interim and also in alleviating traffic on a slower lift. At some point I’m sure a drag lift will be installed and traffic will be alleviated to some degree. Unfortunately though we are still limited by the number of trails, width of those trails and volume of sliders. The only way to be ahead of the curve is to get there early and leave early and slide defensively. Skiing and boarding around here is a lot like driving. A lot of times it’s not you thats the problem it’s everyone else around you thats a danger.
11 years ago
Quote:

Personally I was bummed that Exhibition was allowed to bump up. That was a great cruiser run with great rollers and terrain changes unfortunately though thats just how it is so I make the best of Farside and Bold Decision.




Kennedy,

Would you like to see all the trails at WT be groomed smooth every night? There a lot of people who go to WT to just to ski the bumps, me included. Besides, the bumps at WT never get very big.

From what I’ve read on Epic and other places, is that most of the people who are killed at ski areas (not OB) were experienced skiers that were skiing blue groomers, not the bumps.

So be careful out there, no matter what you ski.
11 years ago
Kennedy announced in another thread that he doesn’t care much for bumps, so I’m guessing he wouldn’t mind seeing all the runs groomed at Whitetail. Fortunately or no, there’s limited terrain at most (all) Mid-A resorts so accomodations are necessary- including terrain parks on good intermediate runs and bump runs of former cruisers. Though, as a bump skier I kind of preferred them on Bold Decision, but that was just because I wanted the “double diamond” to be as difficult as possible.

Bottom line of skier deaths… skiing is an inherently dangerous sport and I think we’d all agree that we’d like to see more folks be aware of this. It would reduce the fatalities and dangerous situations that we’ve all been in (and sometimes created), but it wouldn’t bring them to zero. Accidents and idiots abound in this world. The ski patrol could do more but ultimately they are like traffic cops: good for cleaning up the mess that occurred. How we get more front-end respect for the sport is the difficult issue.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to pack for Park City (idiot hitting the road!) and… thousandth post.
11 years ago
“There a lot of people who go to ____ to just to ski the bumps…”
Here Here. Snowshoe has even managed to turn Lower Shay’s into a Groomer. I followed a five(5) year-old the other week doing a wedge down it. Long live Outer Limits (if you know where I mean!!!).
P.S. - could we finally bury the Death thread…start a new thread, quit replying to this one.
11 years ago
Hey I’d love it to be groomed and smooth with maybe a soft layer on top. I was lucky enough last season to hit Exhibition one morning after it had snowed and they blown some snow on it and hadn’t groomed it in. It was glorious. 6 inches of fresh soft stuff over a nice base layer with cool rollers. Man it was nice. But the reality is that there are plenty of skiers out there who love bumps and I’m not selfish enough to begrudge people bump runs. If thats what rocks your world then hey I’m happy for you have at it. In the meantime I’ll have a blast elsewhere. But I think the same goes for the park. I like it from time to time, I’m not very big into jibbing, but some people love so let them have at it too. We all get out kicks in different ways. I’m a freerider at heart. I love carving and going fast, I love tree runs in powder and hit jumps off natural terrain. We’re blessed with diversity. Telemarkers, freeskiing, frestyle skiing whatever. I get a kick out of watching people grinning ear to ear after a run because that is what it’s all about for me.
11 years ago
Quote:


Best story, which I shared on EpicSki recently: I am next in line for the Big Acorn lift at Wintergreen, with three other people (it’s a quad). The first chair passes, so I ski out behind it. The three other people were confused, and waited a long time, finally skiing out right in front of the next chair which scoops them up sideways and dumps them in a pile on the bench. SO there I am standing on the red line like a good boy (I had even centered myself since I was the only one there) and now there’s a chair loaded with a tangle of arms, legs, skis, and poles heading for me. The chair scooped me up before the lifties hit the stop button, and I had no choice but to sit on the lap of this lady. Chair finally stops, and I stand up while the three other folks play twister for 20-30 seconds and compose themselves. The risks of being a single!

Craig




You mean, I am not the only one that had something like this happen to (Oh I wish I had a dollar ever time this happened to me - I could’ve gotten myself a new pair of skis)?

On the topic of funny lift stories. I was waiting to get on Lift 4 there at Massanutten (the quad that runs up along side Southern Comfort). I am standing there expecting the chair to come up behind me. I look back and watch as the chair was coming around and figured it’ll be there within the next few seconds. I’ve ridden this thing so many times that I’ve pretty much got the timing down so I knew exactly when to sit down to catch the chair. Well, I went to sit down as I was expecting the chair to be there, only to end up on my @$$ on the ground! They had stopped the lift right before the chair got to me! I felt like a goob, as I cannot even remember the last time I fell while getting off a lift, let alone while getting on one!

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