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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    13,191

    RIP, skier death on Vail chairlift

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/sk...phJ?li=BBnbfcL


    VAIL, Colo. (AP) — A skier appears to have suffocated to death at a Colorado resort after he fell through an opening in a chairlift seat and became caught with his coat wrapped around his head and neck, officials said.
    © Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

    Jason Varnish of Short Hills, New Jersey, died of positional asphyxia Thursday at Vail Mountain's Blue Sky Basin area, according to Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis.

    The death has been ruled an accident but authorities are still investigating how it happened, the Vail Daily reported.

    Bettis said an initial investigation found the chairlift's folding seat was upright instead of in the down position, leaving a gap. Varnish's coat became caught in the chair when he slipped through the gap.

    “The coat ended up going around his head and neck area putting his neck in a position that compromised his airway,” Bettis told the newspaper.

    Blue Sky Basin was closed about 24 hours after the accident, and reopened around midday Friday.

    “We take all incidents seriously and are conducting a full investigation,” Vail Resorts said in a statement. “The lift has been thoroughly inspected and is operating normally.”


    Last edited by Bunion 2020; 02-18-2020 at 05:59 AM.
    Ooof!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Tahoe
    Posts
    12,845
    same chair where the guy fell through and was hanging pantless in 2009, and also for the seat not being put down.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
    Posts
    12,575
    Pretty sad shit. I understand why the chairs fold up for snow etc, but they need just a little clip, or magnets or something to keep them from flipping up on windy days while the chair is running.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    5,570
    Where was the lifty? Don’t they fold the seat down and assist loading?

    Never been there so not sure.


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    3,593
    And if they couldn't flip the seat in time, what about hitting the emergency stop?

    Disclosure - never been a lifty.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    937
    I have been at detachable lifts were the only attendant was inside ( the control building )

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Tahoe
    Posts
    12,845
    Quote Originally Posted by skiJ View Post
    I have been at detachable lifts were the only attendant was inside ( the control building )
    Yeah it looks like Vail is going to go through the ringer on this one, and deservedly so. With the well documented history of this happening before, they failed to institute (or at least enforce) any safety standards to prevent it from happening again. I don't understand why they are currently allowed to run the chair.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    3,194
    This will be a record payout, esp if it is essentially the identical issue as in the previous accident


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
    Keystone is fucking lame. But, deadly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    the ham
    Posts
    7,108
    Yeah, no kidding. The 'who could've foreseen this?' argument is out the window.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SF & the Ho
    Posts
    6,069
    At least he died doing what he loved

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
    Posts
    12,575
    I really really hate to be the guy to point out the obvious......but lifties are notoriously underpaid, high AF, and don't care. The worst now is cell phones. I rode a chair the other day that services some pretty novice terrain and has alot of first time and child lift riders. The liftie at the top shack was definitely watching youtube or something on his phone and never looked up once to check on the people offloading the chair.

    I will also say I have encountered some very attentive, helpful, friendly lifties recently who really care about the customers, especially kids/novices. So I don't want to pigeonhole all lifties by any means.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Tahoe
    Posts
    12,845
    ^while that's true it doesn't change vail's responsibility.
    back then. seat up, fall through, caught by equipment, litigation, settlement
    JANUARY 6 (2009)--In a bizarre incident that will surely lead to litigation (or an out-of-court settlement), a skier at Colorado's ritzy Vail resort was left dangling upside down and pantsless from a chairlift last Thursday morning. The January 1 mishap apparently occurred after the male skier, 48, and a child boarded a high-speed lift in Vail's Blue Sky Basin. It appears that the chairlift's fold-down seat was somehow not in the lowered position, which caused the man to partially fall through the resulting gap. His right ski got jammed in the ascending chairlift, and that kept him upended since his boot never dislodged from its binding. As seen in the photos on the following pages (which were snapped by fellow skiers), the Skyline Express lift was stopped shortly after the pair's botched boarding resulted in the man dangling from the lift. The exposed skier was stuck for about 15 minutes before Vail personnel backed the lift up and successfully dislodged the unidentified man from the four-seat chair. The images on page four and five were taken by Marty Odom, a local photographer who happened upon the rescue scene. In a statement released this afternoon, Vail Resorts, which operates the ski area, reported that the skier was not injured after being "suspended for approximately seven minutes." The press release did not explain how the mishap occurred, only that "the man was caught on the chair."
    Last edited by powdork; 02-16-2020 at 11:12 AM.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Park City
    Posts
    3,311
    Paying a lifty comes right out of vail shareholders dividends. Can’t have that.


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    I rip the groomed on tele gear

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    YetiMan
    Posts
    11,228
    I fear maybe there’s a trajectory of society’s decreasing tolerance for risk that’s creeping closer and closer to a critical level where the prospect of hoards of the general public casually interacting with this inherently dangerous heavy machinery will be judged untenable as a business model.
    Not today, not tomorrow, but I fear it’s coming.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
    Posts
    21,575
    Doesn't anybody else see this as a strategy to reduce lift lines at Vail? Corporations thinking outside the box.




    Too soon?


    Sorry for the loss on such a stupid accident, Fail is going to pay big on this one. Terrible and totally preventable tragedy, under paid lefties or not.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    truckee
    Posts
    12,116
    15 minutes to get him down? Combination of poor training in lift operation and obvious not paying attention by the lift op and maybe understaffing. If seats are flipping up there should be a minimum of two lift ops at the bottom--one to flip seats and the other to do everything else. I've seen plenty of lift ops jump on potentially dangerous situations. I also had a lift op miss that people behind us in line were trying to load a chair we were already on the loading bar for and knock two of us off a 3 foot drop off at the end of the loading ramp and another miss that the snowboarders behind us had grabbed the back of the safety bar to tow them to the loading bar and had brought the bar down so that the bar hit us in the back and knocked us down--and then the lift ops let the guilty parties load. I hate to dump on lift ops--IME the stereotype is mostly false--but in this case involuntary manslaughter. But also, lift op is a safety critical job. Pay and training should be commensurate.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    937
    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    I really really hate to be the guy to point out the obvious......but lifties are notoriously underpaid, high AF, and don't care. The worst now is cell phones. I rode a chair the other day that services some pretty novice terrain and has alot of first time and child lift riders. The liftie at the top shack was definitely watching youtube or something on his phone and never looked up once to check on the people offloading the chair.

    I will also say I have encountered some very attentive, helpful, friendly lifties recently who really care about the customers, especially kids/novices. So I don't want to pigeonhole all lifties by any means.

    There is lots of Responsibility to go around on this - and unfortunately(,) it cost this guy his life.

    Vail is a liable party ; I would not want to be the lifty responsible for seeing that the chairs were properly loaded ; the skier himself ( Why would you try to stay on a detachable With the seat Up (!) ... Only If you expect to ride to the Top... I would do Everything I could to Get OFF that chair ! !!

    I do see how one might Sit not realizing the seat was Up... But Get Off. ! !! )

    . . . the next people in line... Did they call out a warning (?) or called for the chair to be STOP-ped... (?)


    Accidents happen -- but stuff like this reaffirms my belief that our technology has surpassed our intelligence.


    ( I'm) Sorry for the rant. tj

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Central VT
    Posts
    4,196
    I was pissed bc my 4 year old’s melt down ended my ski day early today. I then read this and am now just happy to be home safe.


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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    on the banks of Fish Creek
    Posts
    2,076
    Ticket prices will rise next year to cover this payout....

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Tahoe
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    15 minutes to get him down? Combination of poor training in lift operation and obvious not paying attention by the lift op and maybe understaffing. If seats are flipping up there should be a minimum of two lift ops at the bottom--one to flip seats and the other to do everything else.
    just want to be clear that was the 2009 incident. I haven't seen anything regarding times for this one. In the Vail Daily article there is only mention of CPR given to him at the base of the chair. And it sounds like a hanging. Not sure how long that takes but I would think three to four minutes?
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  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    OOTAH
    Posts
    2,624
    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    just want to be clear that was the 2009 incident. I haven't seen anything regarding times for this one. In the Vail Daily article there is only mention of CPR given to him at the base of the chair. And it sounds like a hanging. Not sure how long that takes but I would think three to four minutes?
    From what I have heard locally it was in the 4 minute range and they could not resuscitate.
    Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    On a genuine ol' fashioned authentic steam powered aereoplane
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    12,575
    I have a question that you guys can probably answer. Is it true that most lifts don't have a "reverse" gear? I maybe wrongly assumed that they knew the guy was stuck, were unaware he couldn't breathe, and thought their best bet was to continue to run the chair until he reached the top station and they could get him unstuck?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    on the banks of Fish Creek
    Posts
    2,076
    one direction only.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    13,191
    High Speed detachables can be run in reverse. However it is usually policy to ski the line to warn to riders that the lift will be run in reverse. Mainly to keep people from freaking and jumping.
    Ooof!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,509
    Most lifts can't run in reverse. There are exceptions and you'll usually see a sign saying "this lift is designed to run in reverse" or something similar.

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