In-depth series on skier deaths in Colorado

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by SBrown, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. SBrown

    SBrown Chuck Norris Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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  2. Ken_R

    Ken_R Getting off the lift Skier

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    Wow, Did not know there were so many. The fact that most deaths occurred at Keystone and Breckenridge does not surprise me at all. Both but specially Breck get MEGA crowded specially on the Peak 9 and 8 areas. It is insane. The deaths at Snowmass are a bit surprising since it is mostly uncrowded and mellow.

    While ALL of those deaths are indeed tragic. Considering how many skiers visit the resorts each year IMHO statistically the sport is quite safe for what it is. The question I would ask is can the resorts do more to make the slopes even safer?
     
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  3. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Skier

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    Less grooming. :duck:
     
  4. Eleeski

    Eleeski Getting off the lift Skier

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    We live in a very safe world. We challenge ourselves with our recreational activities seeking that adrenaline rush. The challenge is fun. Remove all the risk and you remove the fun. Safety is not the prime driver in my skiing - nor should it be.

    Yes, I enjoy reliable bindings, reliable chairlifts, marked obstacles, padded towers, the slow signs and enforcement on Mountain Run, avalanche blasting and all the rest of the actions that make skiing quite safe. But sometimes safety gets taken too far. Too many closures this year took away the powder. My reasonably modern and serviceable bindings aren't indemnified any more so nobody will touch them (reducing my safety?). I'm pressured to wear an uncomfortable, balance upsetting and vision restricting helmet.

    Since most of the accidents involve trees, are we going to close tree skiing?

    How does this relate to the suicide issue?

    We live in a very safe world - but we all die someday.

    Eric
     
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  5. fatbob

    fatbob Getting off the lift Skier

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    Nah - obviously it's trees. Those out of control bits of lumber killing left right and centre - ban them and go full Euro.

    The article is interesting in attempting to challenge the industry's culture of secrecy. While some of the grieving relatives clearly have the wrong end of the stick - I don't think there is really such a thing as a safer resort unless you are avoiding high density traffic skier on skier collision, I think there is definitely a case for open disclosure and promotion of death statistics. Would be bit of a reality check on the morning upload if you were faced with a large sign - Please ski in control 5 deaths on this mountain this year and resort staff were positively encouraged to engage customers in safety chat based around newsworthy incidents. Rather than the existing - let's pretend it's Disneyland corporate face.

    Not because this will directly make things safer but mainly to give the yahoos something to thing about when they think straightlining a piste in the back seat is just a laugh. Maybe RTA stats prove that that policy doesn't work - I don't know - I tend to naturally lift off when I see a roadside memorial.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  6. Don in Morrison

    Don in Morrison Morrison Claystone Skier

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    Oddly, my reading of the articles planted the thought in my brain that you shouldn't ski at X resort because people are more likely to run into trees there - that the trees at some places are more deadly than the trees at others. Meanwhile, all season long I rode a lift that had tossed someone out, without thinking much about it. I'm more concerned with collisions than trees, even on the rare occasions that I venture in among them.
     
  7. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Skier

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    Didn''t read either one of the articles in full so may be a bit off base.
    I am sure most of the bodies were recovered among trees. That doesn't mean the dead ones were skiing trees when they lost it.

    I do agree with your sentiments regarding safety.
     
  8. Guy in Shorts

    Guy in Shorts Tree Psycho Skier

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    Pretty simple that if you ban male skiers your death rate will drop by 80%. This one simple move would save all those lives that would otherwise will be lost.
     
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  9. Ken_R

    Ken_R Getting off the lift Skier

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    Bingo! :D

    Steep mogul runs are the safest runs in any resort. Specially at Vail. Most skiers avoid them like the plague! :roflmao: Always uncrowded :D
     
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  10. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    Won't removing trees increase avalanche risk?
     
  11. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    At Breck, close Spruce?

    I don't know if the accidents would redistribute to other runs, though.
     
  12. Eleeski

    Eleeski Getting off the lift Skier

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    That won't matter because they already close any time it's snowing.
     
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  13. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    I don't understand the first article. It says Summit is the deadliest county for skiers. Then it says that Wolf Creek has the most fatalities per visitor, and that Aspen is second in line. I ... guess if there are more absolute-number fatalities in Summit, you can express it that way, but it seems kind of meaningless without the context of acreage and visitors.

    The fixation on Breck also bugs me. Same reason. It *is* interesting how few fatalities were reported at Vail and Beaver Creek. Although I'm not sure that in terms of statistical significance, 50 deaths over the course of years of skier visits is actually any different than zero.

    They did the same thing with shark attacks a few years ago - a few people got bitten and it was like sharkmaggedon. I swam in the ocean, and even a friend of mine with a math PhD gave me crap about it. People lose their minds when it comes to risk.

    I feel for the parents, but at the same time the idea that you can make your kid safer by skiing at the place with 3 fatalities a year vs 5 out of bazillions of visitors is ... misguided.

    Generally speaking, the article comes across to me as more fear-mongering than useful. I completely agree that there should be transparency and follow-up for both fatalities and injuries at ski resorts. I suppose the article is useful for casual skiers who have never even considered that someone could die skiing. But the number of people who die, expressed as percentages, is so vanishingly small that I'd be surprised if a scientist could draw any meaningful conclusion from it.
     
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  14. KevinF

    KevinF Call me "Lefty" Skier

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    Vermont's Mad River Glen -- land of virtually no snowmaking, hardly any grooming, narrow, winding, old-school New England trails -- has never had a skier fatality.

    I think there are a lot of factors that go into that statistic -- it tends to attract a more experienced skier who is more aware of the potential dangers, the ancient lifts prevent slope overcrowding,etc. -- but the very nature of their terrain prevents the "go stupidly fast" mentality as well.
     
  15. Ken_R

    Ken_R Getting off the lift Skier

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    It is all about common sense. One can't just make a broad assumption regarding the risk since there are many obvious factors like terrain and snow and weather conditions, crowds plus your own skill, equipment and judgement. If you are an advanced or expert skier you have lots of options on the hill. The problem is with beginners, people starting out. They are corralled into certain areas by their limited skill and confidence and that is when risk rises exponentially. Specially when you mix in skiers of other abilities and speeds. Recipe for disaster really. I mean, Little happens when you think about it.

    Regarding tree skiing. When I first skied in Colorado more than 30 years ago not many people ventured into the trees at all. Now it is all the rage and has been for years. Why is that? Internet videos? Snowboards and Wider Skis? Crowded trails? Powder addiction? probably all of that and then some. You cant really control it. It would really suck if they roped off 1/2 the mountain. Part of the allure of skiing is the possibility of adventure and exploration within the confines and relative safety of the avalanche controlled resort boundary.

    So IMHO resorts should leave things as is regarding the mountain.

    Where needed improvements in safety and rescue staff might be necessary (training, equipment and facilities) given the increase in crowds. Thats about it.
     
  16. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    I wonder how many fatalities actually happen *in* the trees vs. people hitting trees while skiing groomers, and especially skiing along the sides of groomers trying to get the last remnants of freshies. I don't know about anyone else here, but I'm not skiing fast when I'm actually skiing trees.
     
  17. cosmoliu

    cosmoliu Booting up Skier

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    I agree, and that is one of the things I like very much about spending the majority of my day in the bumps. I find bumps endlessly interesting and challenging. There's always something to improve on. Groomers, on the other hand, can get boring quickly, in my experience and IMHO. And Deer Valley, groomer heaven, scares the crap out of me. (Sorry, @Lorenzzo ) Too many skiers with marginal skills skiing waaaay too fast. (That emphatically does NOT include Lorenzzo) Whenever I ski there, my head is continuously swiveling.
     
  18. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Yup.
    And the discussion about tree deaths is interesting. Most cases of tree collisions seem to be people on groomers, losing control and hitting a tree off to the side.
    @Jed Peters is alive to tell his story, but I'd venture a guess that he wouldn't suffered the break he has if he'd actually been tree skiing.
     
  19. CalG

    CalG Booting up Skier

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    The tone of the article is wrong. It is not the ski areas responsibility to report to the public. That is what the various state departments and offices are for.
    How might this parallel an article about fatalities and serious injuries at shopping malls? They happen you know. But you hardly hear about them unless you follow the obits.
     
  20. Ken_R

    Ken_R Getting off the lift Skier

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    Yep a steep Mogul run will take care of those skiers within the first 15 feet. :D
     

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