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Discussion Starter #1
A fairly decent 3 part series taking a look at ski area accidents, deaths, and the protections ski areas in Colorado enjoy. It raises some valid points on the back end about how this is handled. I thought the final piece fell a little flat though. Still worth you time to read it.

Part 1: Colorado system for investigating ski accidents raises concerns - The Denver Post

Part 2: Colorado ski industry enjoys protection from law, waivers - The Denver Post

Part 3: Colorado skiers die on groomed, blue runs after hitting trees - The Denver Post
 

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54 in 51 million...those are great odds. Brief scan seems to be tourist on blue runs...duh. Maybe we should require folks to wear a "bib of color" that denotes their experience...like Canada drivers have a N for new and a L for learner stickered on their car.
 

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Maybe I'm wrong here..

Colorado resorts (espially Vail resorts) almost annoy me the way they mark every little obstacle and place slow signs and yellow jackets all over the mountain. Utah, Idaho and most mom and pop resorts have a couple signs and volunteer ski patrol. A lot of resorts overseas are basically backcountry mountains with a tow rope or chairlift.
I tend to side with the resorts point of view. If you don't want to risk injury, don't go skiing. Most ski resorts go to great lengths to promote safety. There will be lapses, but they are good for the most part. I can see the inbounds avalanche at Vail being a case since it was not fully roped off, even that is sketchy. I'm sure the kid knew full well what it was. Skiers/riders losing control and bashing into trees are on their own. Collisions are caused by people ignoring skiers code or basically asking for it by not skiing with common sense.

Morons overcrowding the resorts is the issue.
Vail wasn't letting people on the hill a few weekends ago, 24,000 people on the mountain! Crazy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just find it interesting that the Ski areas are fairly immune from lawsuits, but that they don't have to track and maintain data on accidents and deaths at the ski areas. Overall I think the resorts around here do a solid job. Again, I think the article points out some valid flaws in the system.
 

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Wow, that Ski and Safety Act is pretty powerful in Co. - extra waivers for season pass holders as well, hmm. It is a tough pill to swallow if something catastrophic occurs, but I agree that if these waivers were not in place ticket prices would increase. If I had to guess....+50%. The ambulance chasers would come out of the woodwork and resorts will pass the costs onto skiers/boarders or risk going out of business.

I was surprised that helmets did not reduce the overall death rate, but the reasons the article cited made sense.
 

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I just find it interesting that the Ski areas are fairly immune from lawsuits, but that they don't have to track and maintain data on accidents and deaths at the ski areas. Overall I think the resorts around here do a solid job. Again, I think the article points out some valid flaws in the system.
Yeah that is crazy, they do seem to almost hide injuries. I was Keystone earlier this year and seen a skier bash into a tree, he was out. Helicopter came while we waiting in line. I was curious so I googled it, looked for any kind news... Nothing.

The only ones you find reported are deaths. I'm sure they track everything for their use. Bad PR if something like that gets out I suppose.

I can't believe it protects them from accidents such as the snowmobile accident and chairlift mishaps caused by the lift operators. I feel like that's out of line.
 

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Yeah that is crazy, they do seem to almost hide injuries. I was Keystone earlier this year and seen a skier bash into a tree, he was out. Helicopter came while we waiting in line. I was curious so I googled it, looked for any kind news... Nothing.

The only ones you find reported are deaths. I'm sure they track everything for their use. Bad PR if something like that gets out I suppose.

I can't believe it protects them from accidents such as the snowmobile accident and chairlift mishaps caused by the lift operators. I feel like that's out of line.
For the most part you won't hear about anything other than a fatality. We have so many people with scanners and walkies in the area that we are trained on exactly what to say if we witness something while working or have to radio something in to the office or ski patrol.

We had a snow-shoer who died last week in a quarry to the west of our resort. Was not on our "property" at all. 10 minutes after being discovered though there were already locals coming down to the lift talking about how "some guy just skied off the quarry and broke his neck."
 

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Working at a hospital at the base of the largest us ski resort I see tons of injuries.... All sorts. Skiers more than boarders and about 95% of serious injuries are tourists/front range 20 day a season peeps. Rarely is it a local mixed in the bunch of injuries. Last year two locals died though.... Kid in an avy and older ER doc from a fall..... The rule of thumb though is when you move to the mountains you will get injured/break a bone in your first year, learn and move on.

It's just part of active sports, risk of injury. People should accept that if they want to do it.

I do find it as a disservice to not report serious injuries, people need to see it reported these days to know it's a reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, that Ski and Safety Act is pretty powerful in Co. - extra waivers for season pass holders as well, hmm. It is a tough pill to swallow if something catastrophic occurs, but I agree that if these waivers were not in place ticket prices would increase. If I had to guess....+50%. The ambulance chasers would come out of the woodwork and resorts will pass the costs onto skiers/boarders or risk going out of business.

I was surprised that helmets did not reduce the overall death rate, but the reasons the article cited made sense.
It is very powerful and well protected for sure. Ski areas are the number 2 source of revenue for the state. The only thing that pulls in more dollars are hunting and fishing licenses and the related business that segment drives.

I am not sure on the waiver thing. Season passes used to cost a lot more here. A season pass for Vail and it was only for Vail was over $1k. Season passes for the lesser big guys, Breck, Winterpark, Keystone, were between $700-$800, and only good for the resort you bought it at. Lift tickets were much cheaper by the day. $60 lift tickets were the expensive ones back then. Lot's of deals ranging to $20-$40 a day for lift tickets. It ran like this until the late 90's. Then the pass wars happened. Season passes got much cheaper, and offered multiple resorts. Quietly, single day ticket prices sky rocketed. So I don't really think the waivers had much to do with prices. Ski areas operated on the previous model for 40 years and managed to stay in business.

Like any business they want to stack the odds in their favor.
 

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Ahh, I see. I didn't see how buying a pass or a daily lift ticket affected liability costs. For someone who prices insurance for a living, I should have picked that up.

But season-pass waivers — used by most, if not all, of the state's ski resorts — essentiall[y extend resort protections beyond the ski act. Even as many of these ski areas have been gobbled up by big companies — Intrawest, Powdr Corp. and Vail Resorts — that own ski areas around the nation, and a number of ski areas have at least doubled in size, these waivers release them from "all liability" in exchange for the buyer's getting a discounted rate. In many cases, the buyer also agrees to reimburse the resort for attorney fees and costs if the buyer sues the resort for negligence, as well as to pay those costs if a third party, such as the buyer's medical insurer, sues the resort.
 

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Two words: accept responsibility

We as a society have lost that concept.

People are sueing for spilling hot coffee, which is supposed to be hot, on themselves, and winning. People are suing for drinking windex and getting sick because the bottle didn't say "don't drink this you dumb shit, it will make you sick" and winning.

50 years go, your kid jumps the neighbors fence and their dog bites your kid on his ass. Owner of the dog shoots your kid in the ass with rock salt and runs him off. Kid gets home, dad whips that bitten, rock salt sprayed ass with a switch and sends kid to apologize for getting footprints on the neighbors fence.

Today, dog gets euthanized, dogs owner gets sued and loses, and kid grows up feeling entitled.

Given that, it's not surpirsig that companies generally and ski resorts specifically are doing everything they can to limit liability.

In reality, it should be that if someone ducks a rope and gets buried in an avy, or loses control and smacks a tree, or gets hurt in any other way that is not remotely related to negligence on the resorts behalf, tough shit. Learn from it.

If an employee of the resort with a history of alchohol abuse gets wasted and then runs over a group of 5 year olds hanging out at the base, he and the resort should be held liable.

Setting a hard limit of $1 million liability no matter how gross the negligence, or saying "I broke a nail getting off the lift, give me money" are both just bad.
 

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Fuck, I saw that shit.

Watch out on the slopes. People are out actively trying to get in a collision to support assholes like that ski law guy.


I ALWAYS talk to people, hoot and holler, and call out what side I am on to slow ass people.

Most of the time, I am going at a pace that basically makes me invisible, and the you get fucked when you are going slow and goofing around.

 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
That sign is over by Dumont. One of our members on the board works in accident/injury claims as a trial lawyer. He does do some ski law cases. He knows this guy. My understanding is most of this guys cases are against other people. Aka the guy who slammed into you from behind when you had the right of way. Yes he does sue the resorts too. In fact I am pretty sure that is the guy quoted in the article.

I don't necessarily like it, but ski areas do not have a blank check to do what ever they want without fear of penalty. Without guys like that, you would have a lot more problems that stem from upper ski area management decisions. A little fear is a good thing.
 

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Damn, that sign is bullshit. I don't know, this issue is interesting. While I don't think resorts should be 100% immune to any sort or liability, especially in instances where there is clear negligence, I certainly understand why they have attempted to stack the deck in their favor. As the article mentions, if they didn't, the insurance requirements and lawsuits that would result wouldn't allow anyone to stay in business.

The Ski Patrol involvement with accident reporting is interesting out west. At my local hill in the east, accident investigation is divorced from the patrol and is undertaken by separate staff members known as "mountain safety." These folks investigate the accident and write the reports, while the Patrol is only responsible for responding to the incident and providing appropriate medical care. Seems to work well as Patrollers are definitely not trained in accident investigations.

I also agree that this issue points to the need for self-responsibility, which is sorely lacking in many aspects of our society. If the resort is allowing employees to blaze around the trails on snowmobiles, picking off guests, then yes, they should be liable if someone gets hurt. On the other hand, if an avy occurs or someone loses control and slams into a tree, that is on them. There is definitely a risk associated with strapping wood onto the bottoms of your feet and going careening down an icy precipice. Having ridden for many years I have had my fair share of injuries. There isn't oe time where I thought to myself, damn, I wish I could suck some money out of the resort because I got hurt. I mean, it's not like we are out here in the mountains golfing or something like that. :dunno:
 

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That sign is over by Dumont.
I don't necessarily like it, but ski areas do not have a blank check to do what ever they want without fear of penalty. Without guys like that, you would have a lot more problems that stem from upper ski area management decisions. A little fear is a good thing.
To your first point if someone wrecked me from behind because they were out of control and it injured me so seriously to need medical attention I would need somebody to help me sort out who is paying for my medical bills.

I'm also not shocked that tourists on blue slopes are a problem. I've seen entirely too many skiers using poor wedge form and going too fast, and you occasionally see the idiot snowboarder who is just pointing it downhill on the heel edge unable to switch to toe-side.

I'm with Kill in that there has to be some room for legal maneuvering against the ski resorts because we need to be able to protect ourselves against issues of negligence and accountability. I'm also with the other posters who are claiming if you smack into a tree that's your own damn fault.
 
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