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  1. #1
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    As ski areas or B/C-S/C users, What is our duty?

    The Revy thread is pretty well a lost cause. The last post asked this question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caucasian Asian View Post
    But if you are going to open terrain that close to some very deadly areas, you need to do much more to protect people from themselves. I'm not going to fault RMR for building the Ripper, or these two poor souls for what happened, but more needs to be done to prevent more people from going down there.
    And there is the issue, plain and simple.

    What do you suggest?

    I think most of the people who have skied for a number of years in the West would be pretty upset to see chain link fences and no sidecounty/backcountry access.

    It has become the next amenity to allow some freedom to explore outside the marked boundaries.

    So how does a ski area delineate between the prepared and aware and those who need us to save them from themselves?

    The thought of a simple awareness campaign really caught my eye.

    A reminder that going outside any area boundary means you are prepared.

    For the weather and changing conditions, for avalanche and snow related hazards, to (if needed) survive a night outside.

    Ideas?
    Mister Man! Mister Man! Mister Man. They left this card.

  2. #2
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    It's a sad reality that people are going to find ways to kill themselves no matter what you do.
    Friend was up at the Canyons ski resort 2 weekends ago when we effectively doubled our snowpack in a week and the avy conditions were off the hook. Ski patrol was telling people if you got caught in a slide OB they weren't coming for you because it was too dangerous to be in non controlled areas. My friend said their was still a ton of people going out the gate without beacons, probes. etc.

    I think gates and rope lines, etc. are needed to help people that have no interest from leaving the resort from accidentally leaving the resort.

    Shit, look at all the stuff people do every day that endangers them and others that goes on. Texting and driving, speeding in bad conditions (just had a thing in the news that 20 highway patrol people have been hit helping out with accidents in the last few months..)
    When life gives you haters, make haterade.

  3. #3
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    Personal responsibility. You can't save people from stupid. Natural selection is not really all that bad of a thing.

    Sucks for the rescuers as I know that shit can be pretty heavy to deal with, but such is life.
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  4. #4
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    The Canyons created their own problem with the placement of 9990 lift.
    Recommendation from the show and tell prior was to place to top of the lift lower so a line of sight view of Dutches wasn't possible. Woulda also made for a longer ridge walk.
    The EIS from Snowbasin expansion was taken to court. The judge's recommendation was to do a study of the impact on avalanche terrain both within the boundary and new slack country created.
    An act of congress eliminated the purpose and need.
    Both decisions have resulted in multiple deaths.
    Who's passing the buck, where?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wra View Post
    The Canyons created their own problem with the placement of 9990 lift.
    Recommendation from the show and tell prior was to place to top of the lift lower so a line of sight view of Dutches wasn't possible. Woulda also made for a longer ridge walk.
    The EIS from Snowbasin expansion was taken to court. The judge's recommendation was to do a study of the impact on avalanche terrain both within the boundary and new slack country created.
    An act of congress eliminated the purpose and need.
    Both decisions have resulted in multiple deaths.
    Who's passing the buck, where?
    How about Brighton? First time I skied there I was freaked by all the people ducking ropes, etc. And, given the clientele they seem to attract it's been a recipe for disaster. One little rope between a 17 yo kid and dropping fresh powder in Snake Creek.
    Last edited by sfotex; 02-01-2010 at 07:46 AM.
    When life gives you haters, make haterade.

  6. #6
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    The Brighton decision was not without controversy. Look at the scar left on Clayton. Questions raised went unanswered based on the greatest good for the greatest numbers.
    Who's passing the buck, where?
    Don't have answers, only questions.

  7. #7
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    I don't get it

    I am not being a smart ass here but how can anyone fault The Canyons when they have what four seperate signs including the infamous "YOU CAN DIE" at the top of 9990 and they still have dopes going out of bounds.

    I recently talked to someone from the east that was complaing that the ski patrol at The Canyons had told them not to go OB, "what right do they have"?

    What do you do?

  8. #8
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    From a philosophical view, everybody is responsible for their actions.

    From a business view, dead customers are bad.

    Since people will do stupid things given the opportunity, it may be in a resorts interest to limit the opportunities.

  9. #9
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    Rip it up, live to do it again tommorrow!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wra View Post
    The EIS from Snowbasin expansion was taken to court. The judge's recommendation was to do a study of the impact on avalanche terrain both within the boundary and new slack country created.
    An act of congress eliminated the purpose and need.
    Both decisions have resulted in multiple deaths.
    Who's passing the buck, where?
    One of the FS' stated reasons for denying the Snodgrass expansion for Crested Butte is avalanche concerns. From the FS denial letter:

    Avalanche: There continues to be uncertainty over the potential for the increase of avalanche frequency and severity along Gothic Road. Concerns persistently raised by knowledgeable locals perpetuate the issue. Among three commissioned studies there is little agreement.
    Boundary Management Issues: Your proposal for Snodgrass Mountain would increase the frequency of backcountry access into known avalanche areas such as the Glory Hole. There will be a resulting uncertainty of success of boundary management efforts.

    Just throwing it out there...

  11. #11
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    Interesting question.

    Seems like it's two things that kill people. Either they go somewhere they shouldn't and hit trouble, or spend more time exposed without gear and succumb to that.

    For the former, I think areas should tighten up that ropes mean no, period. Go under one, you get one warning, name called in to dispatch, next time pass is gone. Period. Areas need to get out of having 'gray areas', like off to skiers left on Sac over at Targhee, where there's a rope, but everybody ducks it cuz it's only closed for occasional cat skiers. Maybe double strand the ropes so people almost can't duck under them.

    So then skiers have to go through gates. There's the areas last chance to educate. At Grand Canyon they got really concerned about ten years ago when their SAR calls and deaths of people hiking to the river in a day and back without proper food/h2o spiked. They started a PSAR program, preventative SAR. Hired youngsters for the summer to hike the top mile, intercepting people, being good eyes and ears, and even providing a little food/h2o if needed. I think the areas and USFS should split such a position, or fold it into their mountain host programs. Face to face contact is much, much more effective than all the signs in China.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  12. #12
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    Europe gets it...we do not. These are horrible accidents and vibes to our lost friends but in Cham there would not be one post about it. Discussions would be very matter of fact. " They skied off piste/ob without a guide and the mountain took them" They would mourn and move on. There would be no debate over fault or prevention. Most people in Cham are thankful and marvel at the feat of puting in the Aguille du Midi lift. They accept and understand the risks of venturing off the upper station. Not my opinion, just an observation. So i guess our duty is to be informed and inform others as best we can.

  13. #13
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    "face to face contact is more effective than signs"

    That is exactly what this guy said, they guy told me I shouldn't go, went anyway.

    I also rememebr the fataility at Snowbasin two years ago where the dad and two kids were stopped in the morning by patrol and later that day the three of them went into Hells Canyon and one of the sons was killed.

    I just don't know how much more you can do when at least in the Wasatch so much BC is accessed so easily.

  14. #14
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    Europe gets it...we do not. These are horrible accidents and vibes to our lost friends but in Cham there would not be one post about it. Discussions would be very matter of fact. " They skied off piste/ob without a guide and the mountain took them" They would mourn and move on.
    http://pistehors.com/news/forums/viewthread/432/... I know this is probably an English site but it still shows that people are talking about the accidents(local politicians). These accidents can lead to deaths in SAR so it hurts more then just the initial participant. Europe still talks about it and it still is a problem in Europe.

    Maybe double strand the ropes so people almost can't duck under them.
    That I would think would work pretty well. Maybe triple or a different type of fence in certain known spots or dangerous spots.
    Or how about exit gates that open only when a beacon is within a meter, or if you swipe a pass that you can only get by going through patrol; or a discount in a day ticket if you sit and watch a video; or put a patroller at main exits during certain weeks... MLK, Christmas, Presidents week

  15. #15
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    we had a fatality on a green catrack last month ...you can not protect people from everything

  16. #16
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    So the other day, I get done hiking up to East Vail, and there's a group of 4 people, none of them with gear clicking in. 3 others behind them coming up the hike without gear either.....this was just a few days after a certain someone (I won't mention here) got rocked in a slide in the same spot his friend died exactly a year before.....but I digress. Vail patrol has even now put up a board stating the avi conditions, which on this day were considerable (probable)

    There are two really bad layers, the one the recent snow is sitting on, and the shit layer of garbage contacting the ground.
    I've heard story after story this year of people in slides up there. Most seem to go unmentioned here.

    Anyway, the whole "darwin" argument is fine, as long as it doesn't effect others not in their group. Sure, these gapes can go out and get themselves killed, and as long as it's not through ignorance rather than recklessness, then that doesn't bother me as much.

    What does bother me is the fact that not if but when they have a multiple fatality burial back there and have to ziplock 3 or more bodies, we're in danger of losing our access all together. That sucks.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion View Post

    So how does a ski area delineate between the prepared and aware and those who need us to save them from themselves?


    Ideas?
    Didn't you guys used to make us gapers pass a beacon test and show that we had rescue gear and knew how to use it, at Big Sky back in the fifty's or whenever the hell that was???

    Blurred-
    You've seen the whole spectrum of behavior's inside and outside of gates, you have any thoughts how areas could better manage it, or they're doing ok now, it's just individuals being willfully ignorant? [not talking about your park exploits ]
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    Didn't you guys used to make us gapers pass a beacon test and show that we had rescue gear and knew how to use it, at Big Sky back in the fifty's or whenever the hell that was???
    I believe that was as recent at the 90s.

    Yes, Big Sky used to do that. Back in the days before electricity and the Lone Peak tram.

    The installation of the Tram and the opening of all the new terrain became too much of a full time job to spend ensuring that people had the "right gear" or could perform a simple beacon search.

    To go out the gates all that is required is the willingness to open them and step over the line.

    To access certain controlled and tested terrain within the area requires proof of gear. (strange eh?)

    Someone in the Revy Thread mentioned doing stickers, a small step but a step nevertheless.

    The Know Before You Go program for people who are interested.

    http://utahavalanchecenter.org/education/kbyg

    Another possible idea.

    At any rate, I help to allow people to leave by a gate to access some pretty cool yet potentially dangerous terrain, I would like to feel that at the very least I can help them understand that their decision may have consequences.
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  19. #19
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    I always get concerned when we're in our side-country and see people with no gear. I have hesitation skiing some of our lines not out of the need to keep them a stash, but because I don't want to involuntarily become their guide. It also concerns because of the chance of them dropping in above us. I try to educate when it seems appropriate, but the proportions of people in the know compared to not is scary most times.

  20. #20
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    access

    The other side of this is what happens if you start checking if people know what they are doing, have avy gear etc and they get injured of killed anyway? I think some lawyer will then try to assign liability to the ski area because they did not check thoroughly enough. Maybe you have them sign a waiver but the last thing a ski area wants to do is have people stationed checking for signed waivers. Some ski area have tons of side country access, what a pia for whoever has to do it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdude2468 View Post
    The other side of this is what happens if you start checking if people know what they are doing, have avy gear etc and they get injured of killed anyway? I think some lawyer will then try to assign liability to the ski area because they did not check thoroughly enough. Maybe you have them sign a waiver but the last thing a ski area wants to do is have people stationed checking for signed waivers. Some ski area have tons of side country access, what a pia for whoever has to do it.
    This is also important with regards to opening and closing backcountry. Alpental closes their backcountry in high danger conditions. Baker doesn't do this because it would suggest that when it isn't closed its safe. Its a slippery slope to try to manage bc access I think. I think the only way is education, signs, not things like fences. Besides, in places where it snows a lot, digging out fences takes a lot of man hours.

  22. #22
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    And the level of comfort with avalanche danger is so subjective. I don't want to justify my decision to ski patrol. Some people have a knack for skiing tech terrain in high danger, and doing it safely by just knowing the terrain and where a slide will run. Seems like there's always a spectrum of debate on someones decision to ski on a particular day, just because one person has a lot more avalanche education than another doesn't mean they're opinion is correct.

  23. #23
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    Seems I remember a gate at Blackcomb off Jersey cream being "closed until further notice" due to high danger. Resorts could have patrol close access gates at their discretion, making going out the gate a pass-pulling fine. That would suck for trained users but safer for gapers following sucker tracks...

    Near Pete's stash at Vail by the lift house there is the "Lynx cage", the boundary is roped and they have 10' mesh netting. No tracks in there!


    Any whistler mags comment? If you poach a closed gate what's the deal?

  24. #24
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    I think the only way is education, signs, not things like fences
    If there are certain places that are easily noticeable exits or high consequence area (recent RMR deaths) the fence would work. But ya education is def a better answer, if you can find a way to educate.

    The other side of this is what happens if you start checking if people know what they are doing, have avy gear etc and they get injured of killed anyway? I think some lawyer will then try to assign liability to the ski area because they did not check thoroughly enough.
    First thing we do is kill all the lawyers. haha. Ya your probably right. But if you really wanted to make it happen with a liability release it could be implemented into a pass scanning system, I would imagine. And and a resort doesn't necessarily have to station someone there they just need a system that can scan.

  25. #25
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    Unless you're talking about an additional signed waiver just so gapers have to acknowledge their dumbass potential, ski areas are already protected from a lot of liability because of the little words on the back of the day tickets.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

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