maryland boarder kills women at jackson hole
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KevR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
anybody catch this?
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Teen charged with manslaughter in skier's death on Wyoming slope



JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A teenager accused of fatally injuring a skier with his snowboard on a slope has been charged with manslaughter.

Witnesses said Heather Donahue, 28, of Shrewsbury, Mass., was skiing slowly on an intermediate slope at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort last week when she allegedly was hit by the teen on a fast-moving snowboard.

Donahue died Friday at a hospital, apparently from head injuries.

Authorities did not identify the 16-year-old snowboarder, who also was charged Friday with reckless endangering. Teton County Sheriff's Sgt. Lloyd Funk said the county attorney would decide whether the teen should be tried as a juvenile or an adult. The manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The snowboarder suffered only minor injuries. He was released to an adult family friend and has returned home to Maryland, authorities said.
JohnL
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,510 posts
Crush
March 7, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004
996 posts
I dunno what to say except that just today a student in my computer class told me today he went to ffas Alta last year and was hit by one of three German skier straight-linin' it off the side of the run .... my student received over 40 stitches in his leg as a result ... it's nice to go fast (gosh I got yelled at last week for smokin' some "old fart" (his words)) but this kind of thing happens all the time... what are you going to do?! Some people are a$$h0_e$ and that is a fact ... try to be safe and look over your shoulder when you can ... maybe you should ski like me .. warp-speed ... at least you will not be hit from behind!

PS .. curiously one of the docs in my class (an ER doc specializing in ENT and head trauma) states that helmets are minimally effective ... due to compressive-spine injury ... and 1/3 off all accident victims in head-injury accidents that are fatal are wearing head gear. I'll tryo to get an exact quote this week.
Bumps
March 7, 2005
Member since 12/29/2004
538 posts
I'd be interested in seeing your instructor's source data. I have a feeling its related to a specific type of activity (i.e. motorbike). All the data I've seen for skiing shows dramatic differences in severity of head related injuries and recovery when a helmet is worn. However, I will admit, I have seen an argument made on the likelihood of incurring a head injury to be very small, so therefore why should one wear a helmet. My problem is that I can't win the lottery, but I'd probably "win" at this. I'm probably a little bias, I lost one of my brothers to a head related injury in a car accident. I also saw a neighborhood friend turned from a "player" who had the world at his fingertips into an 8 year old child stuck in a man's body. I buy the side air bags. I wear the helmet when I ski, bike or roller blade. I'm not risk adverse, though I must admit I was even less so 10 years ago. I still have the not so perfectly healed broken bones and scars to show for it (which BTW get less cool with every year and I'm still not 40). I look to crossing the street as an analogy for wearing a helmet. One can't remove all risks, but It still pays to look both ways, before dashing across a busy highway. And it keeps my head warm .
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KevR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Ah thanks for the link. I do have to say I get a bit baffled by folks' comments on helmets as being some huge panacia against injury. I was hit by car cycling, broken leg, busted up knee and I was repeatedly asked while recuperating if i was wearing a helmet at the time. Yes, I was wearing a helmet and my head was never touched -- should I have strapped one on my knee then? Then again, I was also wearing a helmet when i was involved in a multi-bike pile up and thwacked the road rather abruptly ringing my bell hard and splitting the helmet in half! Now that was good I did have it on. In a fit of feeling somewhat naked without it, I bought a helmet two seasons ago and wear the thing around the slopes -- under no illusion that it necessarily will do much of anything at all necessarily. This poor women could have just as easily died from a ruptured spleen on the spot... but she didn't, she died later and folks have to bring up the helmet. Running someone over at full speed will almost surely cause massive bodily injury to one party or the other -- in this case the victim. Doing it on purpose or with extreme negligience is criminal behavior and should be treated as such... which it is. A civil suit will almost certainly follow the criminal trial... let's see who has more money -- Jackson Hole Resort or the boys parents... Hmmmm?
KevR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Another solution (BTW) to decreasing these types of accidents would be to remove from the slopes the people that cause most of the injuries on them -- that would most likely be males aged 14-24 (whatever matches motor vehicle accident data).
NOW that I sort of like...
Crush
March 7, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004
996 posts
I should add that in the summer of 1991 I had a totally severe motorcycle accident that forced me to lay my crotch-rocket down at over 55 miles an hour and with luck of God I survived with not a bone broken but some internal injury. My open-face helmet had a 6 inch crack in it from bouncing my head off the pavement ... guess I'd be lame brain-wise today (actually maybe I am brain-damaged no kidding) but it did save me....
KevR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Good you slid on your back dude! I saw this rather horrific ER show once where some poor kid slid on his front... well, he survived minus most of the front of him...

So -- what have we learned?
1 - wear a helmet even if they are useless sometimes
2 - ban all 14-24 yr old males from the slopes (& roads!)
3 - slide on your back, not your front

Anything else?
Roy
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

A civil suit will almost certainly follow the criminal trial... let's see who has more money -- Jackson Hole Resort or the boys parents... Hmmmm?




I hope the mountain doesn't get sued or at least doesn't lose the case. Does anyone have information on mountains getting sued in these situations?
SCWVA
March 8, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
I wear a helmet religiously when I ride my bike, even if it's just down the street to pick up beer. I do not wear a helmet when I ski or board. My wife and I have had many debates on whether we should get helmets for our kids. This season we bought a helmet for my oldest son. He loves it.

My question is whether or not a helmet makes kids or people in general more reckless or fearless? Do people helmets think/feel like they are indestructable?


A helmet might have saved this lady's life. If the kid wasn't wearing a helmet, would he have been going slower and been able to avoid the lady? I don't know.

Helmet or not, we all need to ski/board in control.

All in all this is very sad for both families.
tromano
March 8, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
John, Thanks for the link to Epic. Its a sad story. This sort of thing has to stop.
JohnL
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,510 posts
Some further information for those not familiar with Jackson Hole. Laramie Bowl (the site of the accident), is relatively speaking, one of the more crowded ungroomed areas of the mountain. However, by eastern standards (and by many western standards), there is plenty of elbow room in Laramie Bowl; it is a large open bowl with about 270 degrees of entrance possiblities. Sections of Laramie Bowl are rated at Double Blue, but there are Black-rated sections. Many posters on DCSki would find Laramie Bowl to be a bit daunting.

All areas are "Safe Skiing" areas, but I wouldn't label Laramie Bowl as a "Slow Skiing" area. Nor is it labelled a "Slow Skiing" area by JHMR.

IF the descriptions of the incident are correct (as per Epic), the snowboarder should be prosecuted fully. IMHO, a ten year sentence would be appropriate. He would be sacrificing a valuable period of his life and would hopefully learn an important lesson in life, but he would still be young enough to start his life over. Not all collisions merit jail time, but based on the descriptions, this one does.
nakedskier
March 8, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
91 posts
Quote:


My question is whether or not a helmet makes kids or people in general more reckless or fearless? Do people helmets think/feel like they are indestructable?






I've been debating getting a helmet this season and finally decided to get one before next season starts.

I know my limits and without a helmet, I only launch off the sides of jumps and rails. But I know myself, if I get a helmet and head into the terrain park with it on, I know I will be more "adventurous" and try to improve my terrain park experience. Without it, I'm limiting myself and it's keeping me from doing dangerous things.

On the other hand, wearing a helmet would save my noggin from a collision from behind like what was seen here...

You'll be seeing me in on next season! I'll be the skiier doing helicopter's and 360's in the terrain park (not saying I can do those now...)
KevR
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I recall thinking Laramie was a bit of a bowling alley when I was there. problem is the line between the advanced skiing and easier skiing in casper/laramie and even over a bit further is sorta right there in laramie bowl. Alta chutes comes down one side I think, rendevous bowl, hobbacks etc... are all on the other side of laramie -- so it acts kinda like a funnel and you get this big mixture of skiing abilities in it. Having said that, I can't think of any reason its excusable to run someone over deliberately (as has been reported) -- EXCEPT (and this is only a minor consideration), we do know teen brains do not develop congnitive adult abilities at the same rate their bodies mature, so there may be a big disconnect there between cause and effect at that age level.

Not sure about punitive damages of 10 yrs, or X yrs. Easy to play an armchair general -- I'd hate to be on that jury, that's for sure!

In terms of Civil court -- it seems like there would be something. I mean at least a settlement for wrongful death -- who knows maybe there were kids, lose of mom for life, perhaps income as well, that's some compensatory damages right there!

Just raises lift ticket prices ever higher ... perhaps we shold simply increase the lift ticket rates of folks 14-25 -- males that is.

Shadow
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/22/2005
22 posts
My feeling is that there should be no debate. Helmets are a good thing.

My subtle hint that I needed a helmet actually came on a ski lift. I was on a non-detachable lift with two others when the guy in the middle (new skier) fell over and his pole went between my legs. Looking down I discovered that he had not removed the strap from his wrist and I soon found my leg up in the air which caused me to dump. Then to add insult to injury the chair smacked me on the shoulder and drove my head into the ramp.

That week I did research and found the most highly rated helment (for those interested it was the Gyro Number 9) and bought it without regard to cost($130 five years ago). Best investment I ever made. I can't even begin to tell you of the number of times that my helmet has saved me in the last five seasons from getting completely brained from falling on hardpack or from getting run over by jumping, crashing, or straight lining people. My feeling is that if any piece of safety equipment saves you from getting injured worse than if you didn't have it that piece of gear has just paid for itself. I don't know about anyone else but a hospital stay is not my idea of a good time.

Bottom line...Get a helmet. It will save your bean and, believe it or not, once you start down the hill you forget that it's on.
KevR
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I bought a Giro too. I reasoned that they are big in the cycling market and have lots of data to back up their designs. I figured the ski specific helmet manufacturers probably didn't have a huge amnt of accident data to go on so the giro was a better product (even if the company was new to skiing) -- sitting here writing this I can see my logic amnts to nothing more than a wild *ss guess. having said that -- helmets are no panacea and won't cover every situation, you're simply trying to reduce risk.

The women in this situation may or may not have been wearing a helmet (i don't seem to recall the article firmly stating one way or other but maybe) and with the RIGHT kind of collision or at a high enough impact rate, the helmet will be useless anyway...

Also -- as has been suggested, it seems possible helmets may increase skier risk taking in some instances -- don't know the answer really but feeling safer may indeed mean higher risk taking some individuals.

I can only speak for myself here and much like a cycling helmet I tend to totally forget I am wearing while skiing so I don't think this has occurred in my own behavior. But I have been STRONGLY pre-conditioned with the cycling helmets which i have been using much longer.


Along the lines of risk taking, I do know that i ripped a ligament in one knee (not ACL) and after it healed and the doc learned i was going to ski on it, suggested I *NOT* wear a brace as brace wearers tend have a higher re-injury rates (playing the tape back...)
Shadow
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/22/2005
22 posts
Quote:

Also -- as has been suggested, it seems possible helmets may increase skier risk taking in some instances -- don't know the answer really but feeling safer may indeed mean higher risk taking some individuals.




I guess it would depend on the person. Wearing a helmet has not encouraged me to take more risks but that's just my personality. The person who would probably be more inclined to take risks is probably the same person who would drink twice as much diet soda cause it has half the calories! Actually, I've seen more than my share of people not wearing helmets who would be classified as NAFOD by my best friend. (NAFOD = No Apparent Fear Of Death)
Bumps
March 8, 2005
Member since 12/29/2004
538 posts
I guess NAFOD is a state of FUBAR.
I was going to say, I don't think wearing a helmet or not wearing a helmet changes ones risk taking on the slopes. But as I sit here and right this, I'm thinging racers where helmets when racing, but often not when skiing for recreation. Does it give them a 1% edge in confidence when racing, I have no idea, but it might. I wonder if anyone doesn't where a helmet when out for a day with the family, but does when they hit the diamonds?
Crush
March 8, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004
996 posts
I'll put closure on this thread ..

1- Take the damn snowboarder to court and procecute the h3ll out of him, garnish wages, get liens on property etc and if you want the best ambulance-chaser in the dc area contact Jack Orlander in DC.

2- Watch you back, ski faster than everyone, and be offensive all the time. And I don't were headgear except while racing.
tromano
March 8, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Ok I jsut have to say this. People who don't think helmets are better have probbaly already taken too many blows to the skull...

Seriously though.... We are talking about minimum protection here folks. If the minimum isn't enough for you there are other options. If you like, body armor with sharpened spiked carapace are options to protect from and ward off offensivve skiers / boarders. Let us not forget that helmets are both warmer, more comfotabe, and better fitting than all other hats I have tried. If you have a Greg Brady style curly mop then you may be warmer and more comfortable with the "natural wool". I would wear a helmet for the comfort alone.

The statement that having a helmet will increase the risks is totally riddiculous. Risk is being mitigated by wearing a helmet. So if your behavior does not change then your risk is less. If you change your behavior to push the limits beyond where you were before then you a taking a "calculated risk". Also it assumes that you think about risk at all. The kinds of people who take the insane risks that inevitably lead to many serious accidents are exactly the same who don't think about the risks at all. So over all: Helmets good, no helmets bad...

And Don't Do Drugs!!!
Crush
March 8, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004
996 posts
- crap .... i do lots of drugs .. oh well..
KevR
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
It could be worse, you could do lots of drugs and NOT ski...

Rich
March 9, 2005
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
I was at J.H. last year (never without a helmet). Felt a slight thud and went down. Looked back and saw some guy (NO helmet) laying in a pool of blood (that everyone saw from the lift the rest of the afternoon). His no-helmet head was no match when he ran up on me - people said he didn't look under control - didn't even try to stop or turn as he overtook me. I felt sorry for his kid he was skiing with - both skiing without helmets. Think the kid learned anything?
bawalker
March 9, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
January 1 I went to Wisp for the first trip out this year and I was coming down Muskrat around 8pm that evening. The resort was winding down for the day and I looked up behind me and saw about 5 idiots bulldozing their way down the slope on boards. I figured I'd pull over and let them by and they went on their merry way. Well I decided to finish up by going down Boulder run and right there at the "U" turn there were those guys with beers in hand. I decided to get down off there as fast as possible before they decided to try and get me to join in on their bizzarre behavior. About halfway down they started riding up behind me, beers in hand, no helments and it was all I could do to straightline to get away from them because they were obviously upto something.

Boy do I wish I was a courtesy patroller or ski patroller at that time, yank their tickets and hold them to be arrested for public drunkeness... just to make an example of safety on the slopes.
ScotS244
March 9, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
What the hell is going on with this thread? All this focus on who wears a helmet and why? I don't think that was what KevR was pointing out. A WOMAN DIED because this little punk ass douche bag hit her on his snowboard so hard and fast the fvcking thing broke in half. She was standing off to the side and apparently this dick came straight at her from a long ways off. This "kid" needs to rot in prison. Helmet or not, a disaster like this was %100 preventable and not because a helmet was worn or not. Christ! Go ahead and wear a friggin' helmet... or don't. It's your choice, but hopefully you'll never be on the end of a runaway sh!t sack going at least 40 mph, because if that happens it's not a choice you made and the helmet may or may not save your life. In the end I feel horribly sad for the family and friends of this woman. Some of the best skiers I've ever seen frequent Jackson Hole and believe this was the most blatant collision ever witnessed. Now how do you stop that kind of sh!t from happening? That's what you should be thinking about.
KevR
March 9, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Well I did suggest banning all males 14-25... but no one picked up on it!
The thing is -- it *seems* to me with skis being easier than ever to rail, and borders doing the same at high speed in traditional "slow speed areas" -- we may just have to really do something or we'll have even more of this sortof thing either by accident or on (seeming) purpose.
And further, it's definitely in our best interest as the snow community at large to figure it out before its foisted upon us by some outside agency...
At least that's what I think.

SCWVA
March 9, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Please ScotS244 do not hold back. Let it all out. Holding it in is not good for you. I think it will make you sterile or bald, no blind, or may be something just falls off? I don't know.

Your reply was very well put. I agree 100% with you.

If the Ski Patrol doesn't want to police it or don't have the resources, then I guess it's up to us the skiing public.
Bumps
March 10, 2005
Member since 12/29/2004
538 posts
This is sad. Like all of these types of "accidents", It will have major impact on both the victim's family and the 16 year old kid's family. Of course the victim's family loss is simply unreplacable. Particularly to the kid(s)who lost a mother.

It looks like this 16 year old may be used to set an example that there is personal liability when skiing or boarding in a manner that puts others at risk of injury or death. I think I saw someone in the Epic thread mention a lynch mob atomsphere out there. It is very easy to put ones self in the role of the victim. How many times have each of us had near hits from behind. Luckily, serious injury is still pretty rare. I'm unsure trying to make an example of this kid will accomplish much if this crash was caused by the fact he was inexperienced and out of contro, unless a copy of the verdict is handed out to every person who rents a board or skis. I have the feeling that the Ski resort is going to end up in court as well.
tromano
March 10, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Bumps,

You may be thinking of my post on epic... Post #71 All I can say is that they will both get their days in court. Hopefully both sides will get justice.

Anyway, I still think this sort of thing is a seceond level effect of advancing ski technology (shaped skis, better boots and bindings, etc...) The fact that now a person can ski at a relativly high level with only a few days under his / her belt is the problem. If you are an athletic young person, I am sure you can enjoy the illusion of competence on even many black runs after skiing only 10-15 days. Of course you may not hav emastered the finer points sucha s how to stop or avoid obstacles at high speeds. But it deosn't matter since you are a "big man" and cna tackle the black diamonds... When "learning" is so easy many will not even take a lesson at all. Inexperienced skiers do not know the dangers posed by skiing too fast on crowded hills. They often do not know the basic courtesy of skiing and given the lax enforcement at many areas, they may not think the "rules" apply to them.

Tom / PMs post is right on about how to deal with dangerous behavior. The boarder guy in that post is an example of the asshole and thuggish behavior of an experienced boarder. I just cannot believe this. What a turd. Linkage

--
Tim
KevR
March 10, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
That's an intersting post from the other board. There's been growing scientific evidence that teenage brains don't develop at the same rate as their maturing bodies and thus many simply cannot logically deduce cause and effect very well in that age bracket. So we have a problem, rocket ship skis/boards and dumb-asses. Not a good combination!
JohnL
March 10, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,510 posts
Quote:

I'm unsure trying to make an example of this kid will accomplish much if this crash was caused by the fact he was inexperienced and out of contro, unless a copy of the verdict is handed out to every person who rents a board or skis.




Deterence? Justice? Even my postulated 10 years is a much more civil sentence than the old eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth. Perhaps a gradual degradation of the me-only, go for it, outlaw culture? Outlaw culture is great, and I totally bought into it at that age, but one of its foundations is, if you do the crime, you do the time. Would you accept this same behavior from a 16 year old on the Beltway? If not, then why would you accept it on the slopes?

Quote:

There's been growing scientific evidence that teenage brains don't develop at the same rate as their maturing bodies and thus many simply cannot logically deduce cause and effect very well in that age bracket.




This is a lame cop-out defense. How will brains ever mature if the person is living in an artifical bubble-boy world where the effects of what you do don't matter? Environment is a pretty strong factor on development.
warren
March 10, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003
485 posts
Kevin,
What the h*ll are you talking about My 9 year-old daughter fully understands cause and effect. She's been raised to apppreciate that there are consequences for her actions (both good and bad). Maybe this teenager didn't comprehend that fact if his parents didn't take the effort. I see it more and more these days that there is lazy (non-existent) parenting and then they blame everybody else in the world

-Warren-
finsoutoc
March 10, 2005
Member since 09/30/2003
172 posts
I think you are on to the root warren. in the superpipe at roundtop, we always see little kids come in who clearly should not be riding it. most of the time they are with their parents who encourage them, however, if they get hurt, these are the same people who would call a lawyer. at the same time, when we try to regulate that and explain tot he parents why their kids should hit the reg pipe first, it usually gets ugly.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 10, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,647 posts
Don't mean to make light of this tragedy with tweak to above subject line, just couldn't resist ACC tourney reference. I saw pretty intense convergence of gapers and hotshots on Tahoe ski slopes. Definitely had to keep antenna up at lower levels with lots of boarders and skiers screaming down from steeps above. Best solution is like driving on beltway, keep up with or exceed the speed of other traffic or pull way off onto the shoulder of the road.
KevR
March 10, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Relax, relax -- here's a ref to what I am referring to.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec04/brain_10-13.html

anyway, doesn't make it any easier to met out justice, my knee jerk reaction is the eye-for-eye thing, just like every one else
KevR
March 10, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
woops, i see i've been hijacked! No idea how to unhijack it.

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