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  1. #1
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    WAPO article about a slide death in Switzerland


  2. #2
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    Was about to link that.

    3 years in jail? WTF?
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  3. #3
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    Interesting, I wonder what the intent of the article is. Just a human interest piece? It’s certainly not aimed at this audience


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  4. #4
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    My understanding is that in Europe avalanche deaths are considered acts of man rather than acts of god. I've read about skiers being prosecuted for setting off avys that hit other people. If such an event happened in the US--an avy death on a school outing there would be liability but probably not a criminal case. The article mentioned they don't have punitve damages in Switzerland. Maybe the criminal liability is in lieu of that.

  5. #5
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    I don't really see any evidence of negligence. Backcountry skiing is risky, and Emily and her parents willingly took on that risk when they signed her up for that school. Sad story though. She sounds like a really cool young woman. RIP

  6. #6
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    ripped in half by an avalanche… jesus.

  7. #7
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    I know someone that was killed in an avalanche, he had his leg torn off at the hip joint and eviscerated through the wound


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by m2711c View Post
    ripped in half by an avalanche… jesus.
    I know, right? That's brutal. Can't imagine how that must compound a parent's grief. I really feel for those people, even though I don't want to see the trip leaders blamed. I mean they've been leading successful bc trips with this school for decades without serious incident. Is it really a crime to make an error in judgment on which slope to ski, on one trip after all those years? Seems like a weird way to look at it. Curious to see how it turns out.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    Interesting, I wonder what the intent of the article is. Just a human interest piece? It’s certainly not aimed at this audience


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    Even though some of the technical aspects and nomenclature were a bit off, as a father of an only-child teenage daughter, that article's intent seemed to be aimed straight at my gut.

    (I also happened to start reading it immediately before taking our aforementioned only-child teenage daughter to her hip hop dance class. On the drive there, she started complaining about the temperature in the 40s F then praised Savannah where a friend of hers lives. Instead of responding with advocacy for outdoor activities in the backcountry amidst cold weather climates, I shrugged and thought to myself, just as well I suppose.)
    Mo' skimo here: NE Rando Race Series

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahman View Post
    I know, right? That's brutal. Can't imagine how that must compound a parent's grief. I really feel for those people, even though I don't want to see the trip leaders blamed. I mean they've been leading successful bc trips with this school for decades without serious incident. Is it really a crime to make an error in judgment on which slope to ski, on one trip after all those years? Seems like a weird way to look at it. Curious to see how it turns out.
    In the U.S., no, not a crime.
    But grounds for a big civil lawsuit.
    According to the article though, over there it's exactly the other way around.
    Mo' skimo here: NE Rando Race Series

  11. #11
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    WAPO article about a slide death in Switzerland

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan S. View Post
    Even though some of the technical aspects and nomenclature were a bit off, as a father of an only-child teenage daughter, that article's intent seemed to be aimed straight at my gut.

    (I also happened to start reading it immediately before taking our aforementioned only-child teenage daughter to her hip hop dance class. On the drive there, she started complaining about the temperature in the 40s F then praised Savannah where a friend of hers lives. Instead of responding with advocacy for outdoor activities in the backcountry amidst cold weather climates, I shrugged and thought to myself, just as well I suppose.)
    Her parents were avid backcountry skiers according to the article, her father was a ski patroller and trauma doc. That something like this happened shouldn’t be surprising, sure it’s terrible and I can’t imagine one of my daughters dying this way but there seems to be some cognitive dissonance.

    Emily was an adult legally and responsible for her decisions. It’s a horrible tragedy and I really don’t see a need to place blame. That’s why I wondered what the intent was? Foment outrage, sensationalize the death of an American? I don’t know.

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  12. #12
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    WAPO article about a slide death in Switzerland

    Another reminder that the mountains want to eat you. RIP

  13. #13
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    Nobody in the media didn't notice all the attention the NYT got for "Snowfall." This wasn't that or anything even close to it, but I think they saw a tragic avalanche story with a human angle and thought it was worthy of the general public's attention.

  14. #14
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    What a tragedy
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "everybody's got their hooks into you, fuck em....forge on motherfuckers, drag all those bitches across the goal line with you." - (not so) ill-advised strategy

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahman View Post
    I don't really see any evidence of negligence. Backcountry skiing is risky, and Emily and her parents willingly took on that risk when they signed her up for that school.
    I'll play Devil's advocate here:

    It was a major mistake for IFMGA-certified guides to put students on a 40-degree slope above fatal exposure. Backcountry skiing is inherently risky, but this was an avoidable risk, especially for professionals.

    I can't speak to whether that mistake justifies the guides potentially spending three years in prison. But, it was certainly a major mistake and it doesn't seem completely out of line for the Swiss legal system to potentially consider it criminal negligence.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    I'll play Devil's advocate here:

    It was a major mistake for IFMGA-certified guides to put students on a 40-degree slope above fatal exposure. Backcountry skiing is inherently risky, but this was an avoidable risk, especially for professionals.

    I can't speak to whether that mistake justifies the guides potentially spending three years in prison. But, it was certainly a major mistake and it doesn't seem completely out of line for the Swiss legal system to potentially consider it criminal negligence.
    I could see that, although they did ski the same slope above the exposure prior just didn’t hit the trigger. Personally I don’t think I would be comfortable skiing above that exposure, any avalanche or fall would be fatal. Too fine a line. In the end, the students agreed when asked to ski it again.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    In the end, the students agreed when asked to ski it again.
    I wonder if any of them had concerns that they never spoke up about. Sounds like a textbook example of the Expert Halo.

  18. #18
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    That does seem like a questionable call, but to me it seems this Wellhorn climb was their last bc tour of the year and they were probably pushing the envelope a bit in more advanced terrain. I also think a factor not mentioned could have been that Emily herself was unable to complete the ascent and ski the first run. When deciding whether to make another run, how much did they factor in her likely desire to participate after her knee was feeling better? If not for the fact that she didn't ski the first run--and she by all accounts was a very popular and well-liked member of the group--they may not have had any real motivation to ski another run. But as to why they skied a different part of the face on the second run, that is probably where the error in judgment occurred. I'm not sure how much being above exposure factors into it. You wouldn't want to get caught in a slide regardless.

  19. #19
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    That's the 2nd incident I've heard of recently involving trauma that was previously unimaginable to me. Blunt force...yep got it makes sense. For whatever reason, getting ripped apart was not something I had conceptualized as an outcome until very recently. Awful. Message received.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    That's the 2nd incident I've heard of recently involving trauma that was previously unimaginable to me. Blunt force...yep got it makes sense. For whatever reason, getting ripped apart was not something I had conceptualized as an outcome until very recently. Awful. Message received.
    See my post above. Changed my perspective about avalanche trauma and most of the people in our small community of backcountry skiers.


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    That's the 2nd incident I've heard of recently involving trauma that was previously unimaginable to me. Blunt force...yep got it makes sense. For whatever reason, getting ripped apart was not something I had conceptualized as an outcome until very recently. Awful. Message received.
    Not bagging on anyone, OK?

    Most people think getting caught in a slide means getting entrained in a bunch of fluffy snow and maybe getting buried until your group does a well executed beacon search and then digs you out, blue but alive.

    The statistics tell a different story. What really opened my eyes was the Bay Street accident and a presentation by the investigator who talked some about finding one of the victims in more than one piece.

    The forces in a big slide just don't register with a lot of people. This was a pretty big slide and a 600' cliff.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahman View Post
    I'm not sure how much being above exposure factors into it. You wouldn't want to get caught in a slide regardless.
    Exposure should be a huge factor in BC decision making. Overall avalanche risk = likelihood of a slide x consequenses of a slide. While you never want to get caught in a slide, setting off a small windslab could be considered a low risk hazard if you're skiing a long planar slope with no terrain traps--a full burial is extremely unlikely and at worst you might lose a ski and have a shitty slog back to the car. That same slide above exposure is certain death.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion 2020 View Post
    Not bagging on anyone, OK?

    Most people think getting caught in a slide means getting entrained in a bunch of fluffy snow and maybe getting buried until your group does a well executed beacon search and then digs you out, blue but alive.

    The statistics tell a different story. What really opened my eyes was the Bay Street accident and a presentation by the investigator who talked some about finding one of the victims in more than one piece.

    The forces in a big slide just don't register with a lot of people. This was a pretty big slide and a 600' cliff.
    Big slides can snap whole stands of mature trees like toothpicks. It's amazing that meatbags like us survive as often as we do.

  24. #24
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    ^^^ That is the crazy thing. Saw the aftermath of a guy that triggered a 80' x 4' deep hard slab in a tight, rocky, early season chute that narrowed way down to mabye 15' wide, he and his dog must have been going 60 mph when they came out the bottom and then way across a cat road. Big boulders everywhere cause it was late October.

    He and the dog were totally fine.

    There are enough of those kind of stories that it gives us mortals a thread to cling to.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  25. #25
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    My reading comprehension sucks but I didn't see anything in the article about a pit getting dug, just a mention of the group leader pushing a ski pole into the snow

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