In-depth series on skier deaths in Colorado

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

  1. Lorenzzo

    Lorenzzo Snow Skier Skier

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    No that's no good. You're going to have to fall into a hole at A-Basin.
     
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  2. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Hmm. Not this season, okay?
     
  3. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Head First Skier

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    Hey, get with the program, do you really want him to miss all those filing deadlines? :P
     
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  4. Lorenzzo

    Lorenzzo Snow Skier Skier

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    And I thought this was a community. See Eggshell Skull. She's the ideal complainant.
     
  5. TahoeCharlie

    TahoeCharlie RetroMan Skier

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    Totally agree with your second paragraph. In Europe, if you are going to venture away from the visible bowls, slopes and pistes, then you hire a guide for the day. As for the first, I guess you could call it an "uncontrolled area" if you skied off the single piste coming down from most chairs; but that's like calling Siberia Bowl "uncontrolled" if you traverse over under the Palisades or you traverse from Shirley into the Funnel as those areas are never groomed. The vast majority of slopes in Europe are NOT groomed; your just ski them - Sort of like lift-accessed "backcountry" skiing.

    Here is an example from Courchevel, first pict: the entire slope is skiable; 2nd: notice trail signs.

    IMGP0192.JPG IMGP0169.JPG
     
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  6. François Pugh

    François Pugh Getting on the lift Skier

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    It is quite different in areas where they get a lot of snow and you can ski on and off the marked trail without problem. In a lot of places in my part of the country, the snow on the trail gets packed down by the groomer, and although the snow may be level with that beside the trail, it is a lot harder. Skiing off the edge of such a trail causes your ski to sink, and you risk skiing under a submerged branch, or skiing back onto the trail your skis, a foot or so under the surface suddenly stop when they run into the hard snow and you don't (been there done that).

    When I read these stories about skier deaths, I think, "There, but for the grace of God go I." I enjoy the thrill of speed, and although I'm not usually trying to ski faster, I'm not usually concerned with trying to ski any slower either; I try to make perfectly clean carved arc-2-arc turns with as much g-force. When I was a younger man and spent more time skiing steeper longer terrain I was definitely one of those skiers who would seek an adrenaline rush by skiing as fast as they could. Back in the days when I was a speed seeking skier, I would ski all the runs including the moguls at a resort just to say I had skied them and so I would know every run, but I would then choose the best available run or line to maximize my speed. All other things being equal, I would choose a smoother run than a mogul run. But if the only way to reach max speed had a section of moguls on it, I would ski that line, making up for lack of skill with strength and athletic ability. The reason the mogul runs are devoid of high speed skiers are that these skiers now have a better option.

    Yes, the moguls will usually cause a beginner to fall before they reach warp speed, but if you look at the stats, it's typically an expert skier skiing fast, losing control and ending up hitting a tree. Removing all the groomed runs will not stop the 20-40 year old expert skier from skiing too fast, loosing control and smacking a tree.

    I do not want to see groomed steep runs disappear; I still enjoy them, even though I now enjoy slow skiing in moguls too.

    Skiing is a risky sport, and people easily become oblivious to the risk. Having skied hundreds of days at 50+ mph, it can seem very safe until something happens and your internal speedometer gets re-calibrated. I'm all in favour of reminding folks that, yeah, they could die doing this.
     
  7. TQA

    TQA Booting up Skier

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    Ski and snowboard deaths in the Alps are up to 100+ per year. I guess the figures for the whole of the US would be in the same ball park?

    I would like to see an in depth analysis comparing the two. Remember almost nobody in Europe skis through trees at speed and treewell deaths are very rare.

    Europe does seem to get more avalanche deaths with multiple people buried.
     
  8. NonNativeRado

    NonNativeRado Astonishingly Mediocre Skier

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  9. NPhoenix

    NPhoenix Joe G Skier

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    Looks like that might be a non-ski related death, I'm guessing heart failure. Which reminds me, after skiing at Copper a couple months back. We're packing the van at the Alpine lot and heard a women screaming. We came upon a unconscious ~60 year old male and started CPR with his wife/girlfriend/friend screaming in the background. Luckily an off-duty paramedic came and others to help and to try to calm down the women. We brought him back to barely breathing with a very weak pulse. We inquired later that he was transferred to Denver but didn't hear anything else. We pray he made it but it didn't look promising.

    My point for bringing this up is it took the ambulance at least 15 to 20 minutes (maybe more) to find us. We told them them exactly where we in Alpine lot but I could hear them roaming far east before finding us. I kept thinking there is a firehouse in Copper, right down the street but I'm guessing they don't do ambulances which come from Frisco or somewhere else. I respect the first responders and don't fault their effort but with the haphazard setup of some parking lots, I could of probably saved 10 minutes by driving out to the road to flag them down. Anyway, just a thought if this situation occurs to you. BTW, the ambulance had to park a couple rows over due to cars parked in every direction.

    Back to topic, I think if it is non ski related then it shouldn't count (such as heart issues). Hmmm, I need to eat better.
     
  10. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    Um, patrol? Probably could have responded a lot quicker.
     
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  11. NPhoenix

    NPhoenix Joe G Skier

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    Possibly, although the free lots at Copper are as far away from the mountain as you can get. You also pass the fire station on the bus ride to those lots.
     
  12. SkiNurse

    SkiNurse Spontaneous Christy Pugski Ski Tester

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  13. NonNativeRado

    NonNativeRado Astonishingly Mediocre Skier

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    I wish patrol or the people monitoring would have conversations with the speed demons flying through family zones... and the people in over their heads snowplowing or falling leaf down blue runs... etc.

    I think it would also be useful to not groom alongside the tree line. Bumps/moguls will force people slow down while skiing along trees.
     
  14. dlague

    dlague Waitin' for Wintah Skier

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    What I find interesting, after reading this thread and some of the articles I have researched, is the fact that so many have died running into trees. This blows my mind since many of the ski resorts have very wide runs or open bowls. In fact coming from the Northeast, my wife appreciated the more open skiing. Keystone and Breck are the two resorts that are statistically higher and as their runs get "skied off" according to west coast standards skiers migrate to the edges as they do back east. Especially on those [powder days where people are looking for that last uintracked. Many ski at top speeds and all it takes is a simple edge catch and it can be over. Actually the conditions at Keystone can become very east coast like and with some of the wider skis I see, carving is not in the cards and smearing turns on firm is not good.

    How many of us here like to open it up and hit high speeds? Well, there is a lot of risk in that alone. Tree skiing in Colorado is a bit more open than back east and as a result people ski the trees faster also a high risk factor.

    Lets look at Loveland - two deaths last year both were the result of hitting a tree. 95% of Loveland does not have trees! The bottom of Chair 8, bottom of chair 4, off chair 1 and some off chair 6 but low angle.
     
  15. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Getting off the lift Skier

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    The only real ski accident I've had was hitting a tree. Not "in the trees" and in fact on a green slope. A small protruding rock sheared off a ski right as the trail turned. I couldn't react before I started ricocheting off trees. Helmet and my arms saved my life. The wrists paid the price as I put up my arms between my face and the tree. Helmet was still cracked. Skull wasn't.
     
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  16. dlague

    dlague Waitin' for Wintah Skier

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    Perfect example regarding skiing a trails edge

    According to witnesses, the 23-year old day skier from the Denver area skied off the side of the trail and crashed into a tree. According to the coroner’s office, witnesses said it looked like Hunter caught an edge before veering off the trail.

    It can happen to the best!
     
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  17. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    Yes, I think it's skiing into trees most of the time, not skiing trees. I started a thread last year about managing risk in skiing.

    To me, one of the big take aways is trying to ski far away from objects that will kill you if something goes slightly wrong. A caught edge can mean a pulled muscle in the middle of a run, and instant death if it pulls you into a tree at 40+ mph. Lift poles are another example. I worry when I see people going real fast real close.
     
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  18. dlague

    dlague Waitin' for Wintah Skier

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    Steep runs can be just as bad - I caught an edge going down a steep bump run Pali Face at A Basin. I tumbled about 4 bumps before I stopped. To be honest. I was scared shitless that I was going to tomahawk all the way down and in to the woods and die. I got too cocky and was going too fast and when I tried to stop, my skis hit my son's skis then caught an edge trying to recover and down I went. Taught me a huge lesson.
     
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  19. dlague

    dlague Waitin' for Wintah Skier

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    National stats for the same time frame more or less - 377

    upload_2017-8-30_13-26-2.png
     
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  20. TexasStout

    TexasStout THE Texan is here! Skier

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    Do these numbers include/exclude from avalanches?
     

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