Your Support Helps!

Help us keep free. Please support with a donation.

Source: #RideAnotherDay

In the past couple days many of you have read about two skiing tragedies: one affected multiple lives (a 5-yr old girl who was killed by an out-of-control skier), and the family she leaves behind, plus the alleged “killer,” a 40-yr old skier who has been charged by French authorities with manslaughter.   As always would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this.

The above is horrifying to all of us, and a true example of the most disturbing  trend I’ve noticed over 30+ years: an explosion in reckless skiing and riding.  As a ski instructor I see this ALL the time, and I’m always wary of super fast skiers/riders, particularly when I’m teaching, because then I’ve got real people with me for whom I feel incredible responsibility to keep safe.

Clearly something should be done about this epidemic on our slopes.  But what?

First, I’ve made it a point to start reporting instances of too-fast, or out-of-control skiers/riders. I’ll report occurrences to either “courtesy” patrol or ski patrol, and also ask them “why don’t you position staff on green and blue runs which attract too-fast skiers, and move them off under a threat of getting their ticket pulled”?  If patrollers hear this frequently, they’ll do something – they’re first responders.

On trail signage at Park City Mountain Resort          Photo: Jon Weisberg

Second, whether I’m in a lesson teaching kids/adults, or simply free skiing myself, I take great care to constantly look uphill before starting down, to see whether or not I’ve got clearance for my next 15-30 seconds of turns.  And I’ll always wait the extra time to let fast people go by me.

In a lesson, I’ll make sure to place myself in a constantly turning series of arcs that place me between my students and faster skiers above.  I can still observe them do a skiing task, and yes, it’s risky for me, but I believe the combination of my turning back and forth, along with my students immediately below me, makes that section of trail unappealing to super-fast skiers.

It’s sad ski areas don’t do more to police the trails.  But they don’t need to…by law.  If you read the all-encompassing “waiver of liability” contained on the backs of all day ski tickets, and included as a mandatory item to read and e-sign before you’re allowed to purchase tickets/passes online, ski areas in general have zero liability for bad things that happen on their hills…it’s all part of the inherent risk of skiing.

For me, I’ve got to TELL ski area courtesy patrol, ski patrol or management when I experience a dangerous situation, especially on green/blue terrain where there’s the expectation that skier proficiency is lower; therefore the speed of guests on that terrain should be lower!  If we don’t tell responsible ski area people about dangers we witness, then we shouldn’t expect anyone to take reasonable actions.  It’s up to all of us, because no one wants to hear about an innocent skier or rider being killed by an out-of-control skier – but’s it’s happening.


  1. Great topic.
    I have noticed this as well after skiing several decades and there is little or no consideration of others by those who ski in safely.

  2. My last message and last sentence should have said no consideration of others by those who ski unsafely.

  3. David E. Putnam says:

    John….I have heard that a large percentage of the skiing/boarding demographic aged 18 to 30 can be counted to be skiing “impaired”…..boozed or on substances. An instructor in Stowe this season has been run into TWICE with serious injuries resulting both times. I read. Western instructor was killed. Serious!

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for your comment – yes, probably true , as it was likely true for that demo when WE were those young guys…but the huge change is the increased numbers of very fast skiers/boarders

  4. This is a tough one. An experienced and proficient skier can ski faster and safely give a wide berth to slower skiers, and knows when to slow down in congested zones. He/she also knows to look up before heading down, and even during wide sweeping turns to check for faster skiers and boarders. It’s also a good idea to stay on the front side (as opposed to heel side) of snowboarders, where they can see you better as you pass.

    We all love fresh, smooth groomers, especially as seniors. Those are the runs that need the most monitoring at crowded resorts. A competent patroller/safety monitor can easily spot an out of control speeder, but the resorts have to back them up. I knew a good, hard working patroller at a major resort who stopped a couple of speeding boarders a few years back. They had their go pro on, and when they argued and cussed at him, he returned the favor. They put it on youtube and he was fired. I have not seen him since.

    • Hi Roger,
      Thanks for your reply – yes expert skiers, under control, are not the problem generally, however they inadvertently make life more difficult for learning & lower skill skiers when they zip down the easy green and blue runs. Larger crowds inevitably lead to more mishaps, falls and collisions

  5. Thomas Harvey says:

    The worst out of control skiing I’ve observed were at Alta and Stowe. Alta because of its laid back western atmosphere and limited patrolling invited reckless skiing. The last time I skied Stowe it was full of New England prep school kids who tore about Mt. Mansfield as if they owned the place. In both places I saw serious collisions that ended in severe injuries. Patrols were nowhere to be seen. After that I crossed both places off my list.

    • Hi Thomas,
      Thanks for your reply, however I’ll have to stand up for Alta as a ski area that typically does more than most areas to keep reckless speed demons at bay. And Alta is certainly not an area I would cross off my list – every skiing fanatic should experience Alta in their lifetime!

  6. This year has been the worst for out of control skiers. Passes to cheap, all are buying and are home more with time on their hands. No one takes a lesson and they just go downhill fast with no regards to others. They don’t know how to stop and think its funny if they come close to you. Both skiers and boarders are culprits. This started last year but this year it is so much worse. Not funny to anybody over 50 to get run down. No policing on the mountain by ski patrol that I see. And this is mid week skiing …I would not be on the mtn weekends , that would be deadly. Some mtns are better then others.

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your comment – I agree. Also important to emphasize that I consider both boarders and skiers to be guilty. Stay safe!

      • Katherine Jeter says:

        John, the Alliance For Skier & Rider Responsibility has been working diligently to promote safety messaging and initiatives at resorts across the country. Regretfully, we have faced disinterest and pushback. Our sport must be safe to be fun.

        • Hi, thanks for your reply. Is that org the one behind “ Live to Ride Another Day”? Resorts pay lip service only, while guests pay the real price

  7. Just was at Stratton Tuesday during industry annual demo days and was terrified by the speed those folks were going all over the mountai,skiers and boarders – THEY should know better. I’ve skied all my life and it has definitely gotten so much worse. Good article.

    • Abbi Seward says:

      I concur. Tuesday was mobbed. My group went and hid out on the Sunbowl side. We had planned to take a run down the front ….. until we re-thought that. And mostly Stratton is less crowded and more civilized than other mountains in the area.

      The mountains that had over two million passes sold ….. can be terrifying. Apparently no one learns the skier’s rules.

    • Hi Kathe,
      Thanks for your comment! I agree, have never seen it worse than this season. I think we all need to demand more of our mountains “on snow management “

  8. Peter Gordon says:

    I wonder if the proliferation of aps that track a skier’s speed might be contributing to this trend. I notice an increasing number of posts on social media where skiers (mostly of a certain gender) share their top skiing speed as sort of a badge of honor.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Fascinating observation. Other forms of behavior are being driven by apps. Why not skiing speed.

    • I think you make a good point! I used Ski Tracks (app) once as a beginner and shut it off for five years, for that reason. I used it again last week at Saddleback, where the trails were nearly empty (it was very, very cold). I knew I was skiing fast, and wanted to know how fast.

      But I think it’s important to talk to management, as well as patrol. I expect that patrol would be out pulling passes and policing if they were being told to.

      I agree that the recklessness on the mountain is shocking and destructive. I’ve been fortunate.

    • Hi Peter,
      Great comment and I agree – some of the ski apps are definitely contributing factors…because some of them, ive been told, post real-time “Leader Boards” that displays FASTEST SPEEDS for resorts. I use an app, SLOPES, that pro-actively does NOT display SPEED LEADERBOARDS because the creator himself believes it influences unsafe behavior – I love Slopes and use it every day.

      • Peter Gordon says:

        Thanks for the suggestion of Slopes. I’ll have to check it out.

      • This is especially disturbing to me John. I’d be willing to sign a request with other ski area owners to app developers asking to take down such challenges as “speed leaderboards”. Just today I was passed by a guy in a tuck from top to bottom at Snowbasin, where grooming is near perfect in the morning, and I always leave a “passing lane” on whatever side of the run I am carving on. I ski well enough that only a few people pass me in a day, not all of them in control, and I try to keep track of everyone around me, but now and then someone comes out of nowhere at 50 or 60. I don’t want them to have to choose between going off the run or wiping me out. When there is no new snow for weeks, the off piste gets rough, so everyone on the mountain is on the groomers and it gets crowded. It makes a big ski area a lot smaller, sadly.

  9. Bruce+Boeder says:

    I am of the opinion that the proliferation of helmets has given rise to a perception that skiers/boarders are protected from injury. As Michael Schumacher’s permanent brain damage injury while wearing a helmet shows, they only give limited protection (Schumacher was a great Formula 1 racer, for those who don’t recognize his name – Google it)
    I also am of the opinion that the invention of the parabolic ski, and now wider and reverse camber skis, has contributed to the speed increase. Back in the day it took skill to ski fast – and don’t get me started on the new equipment allowing skiers with limited skill to ski in deep powder
    My personal solution is to stay away from popular runs, ski mid week, and stuck to the side (preferably left side) of runs and never, ever stop in the middle of a run
    And at least at Alta snowboarders aren’t allowed!

  10. I’m a staff trainer, instructor, author, designer and lifelong snow enthusiast. If been at this professionally for almost 50 years. My thoughts:

    Unsafe hills is a problem rooted in lack of skills, understanding, and a disturbing trend toward no sense of community and/or accountability.

    Professional instruction helps skiers and riders with skills and awareness of hill safety. Pro-taught skiers and riders aren’t the typical offenders.

    Effective signage (a rarity) can help communicate both information and warnings in a way that people actually uptake. Most resorts fail at their options to communicate more effectively.

    Resorts that place profit above human safety by using their legal immunity to accountability miss the point that their bottom line would benefit by partnering with the public to promote safety and also enforce the consequences of reckless riding and skiing.

    Resorts have to step up rather than away.

    Staffing shortages across board this season have been a real challenge. Not enough instructors, not enough safety control, not enough ski patrol. Combined with the uptick in skier visits the imbalance explains some of the on-snow challenges we’re facing. That’s a socioeconomic topic that deserves serious exploration.

    • Katherine Jeter says:

      Nathan, thank you for all you do, all you say, and all you promote through your fabulous graphics to teach and encourage safe skiing and boarding. You are one of a kind.

  11. Never wore a helmet until maybe 2004 when at Whiteface with snow guns on a steep trail I glanced up before resuming my run and an out of control boarder sliding into me with no yelling just a grin! I pulled skis forward got spun around when he hit my tails and just ok! Chewed the 4 of them out told them I know patrollers and reported them. They slowed down and been wearing a helmet since into my 57th year skiing and racing.

  12. Silly fast skiing has become the thing these days. The equipment and grooming make it easier, and the ski films make it a desirable thing. Here are 2 self preservation techniques that you might consider adding to your tool chest.
    Ski with all of your senses. Tune your hearing to someone coming up from behind, an out of control skier will normally be skidding their turns and make a scraping sound. Be aware.
    Many ski areas have ‘chokepoints’ where a lot of skiers are funneled into a narrow area. Avoid them if you can, and do not stop in them. These often seems to be a place where skiers and boarders will go faster to get through.
    I have been hit too many times at too many ski areas.

  13. Scott Jimmerson says:

    Boy, timely topic. I’m 74. Patrolled at Steamboat in ’70 and ’71 before they required cowboy hats. Mt. Baker in the early ’80s with our 5 year old and snow boarders was awful. Baker management could care less. Switched to Whistler and it was much better for safety. Today we ski Brundage during the week when it is very quiet. The last two times up I had two very close calls that ended in shouting matches. I ski the edges and into the crud. Both times good skiers were right on my butt when I stopped to wait for wife. I came close to hitting one with my poles when they passed at about 30. Talked to 3 patrol later that day and they were going to pass my words on to management. Will it be safer the next time we go? NO! Passes need to be pulled and they need to be more active but I doubt the area can afford that. Frustrating deal.

  14. In years past, Oregon areas used speed control employees who stood all over the runs and monitored speed. Bachelor’s were famous. Those monitors disappeared years ago for financial reasons.

  15. Just this week I saw a report on TV about a boy who had been hit by a skier at one of Aspen’s resorts in Colorado and had his clavicle broken. The person that hit him left the scene. The boy’s mom spoke to a resort official who told her the chances of finding this person were slim. He also told her weekends were very crowded at the resort and a dangerous time to ski! I was horrified to hear a resort official actually admit this on TV. If they know it is dangerous, they should absolutely be doing something to try to rectify the situation. This is the reason I do not ski on weekends or holidays!

  16. Joanne Lasnier says:

    Any arrests or accountability for slamming into a child or anyone for that matter and killing them?
    Murder on the slopes is what it should be called and you are not accountable nor is mountain liable. Sad, very sad.

  17. There are a lot of things said in this thread based only on anecdotal data. There is a widespread impression, both in North America and in Europe, that skier/boarder accidents are up this year, and various hypotheses have been suggested as to why this might be the case. All in the absence of real data. A week ago, I had a discussion with a Ski Patrol member, who said it did not seem to him that skier/boarder accidents were higher this year than in his previous ten years on the job. In fact, actual data on skier/boarder accidents are very hard to come by. You might think that the National Ski Patrol collects such data, but, they do not. Skier/boarder accident data and trends are compiled by the National Ski Areas Association, who hold these data remarkably close-to-the-vest. It is a scandal that such data are not widely available. Analogous data for rock-climbing and mountaineering accidents are compiled and published annually by the American Alpine Club, and have stimulated a variety of improvements that have substantially reduced the number and consequences of such accidenbts. In Colorado, legislative effortts to force ski resorts to release skier/boarder accident data have been stalled for years. Perhaps some retired attorneys in this group might consider spearheading a campaigb to release and publicize skier/boarder accident data?

    • Hi Rich,
      Thanks for your comment – yes lots of anecdotal tidbits…ALL pointing toward same conclusion: it’s more dangerous than ever. Also, not surprising your interaction with ski patrol offered a contrary point of view. We, the lifelong skiing public, see reality more clearly than anyone. Think about it: people coming to skiing in the past 20 years think all the fast skiers are normal

      • John, for perspective, I’m a longtime ski instructor at Breckenridge.Yes, it is my perception there are more skiers on the mountain, despite resort assertion that skier visits are down. Yes, it is my perception (and that of my colleagues) there are more dangerous skiers/near-misses than in the past. Yes, it seems obvious this must be the case as pass sales go up. My colleagues have pushed hard this year for the resorts to become more pro-active at enhancing safety. But in the absence of data, the resorts have pushed back that skier visits are actually down this year, and so perhaps we are all wrong. My point is that it would be good to have actual data, rather than just perception, and then to use those data to make an effective case and force improvement.

  18. Skiing diva says:

    Sadly, this does seem to be happening more and more in resorts. I did report speeders to ski patrolers who were on the slope and got a pretty unsatisfying answer. They said, “Well it’s early season and the kids are just so happy and excited to be skiing.” I expressed my dismay and how dangerous it would be, if one of those skiers hit someone. Patrolers shrugged their shoulders, and we decided to end our ski day early. Then this happened at Grand Targhee, WY: According to witness statements summarized for the Jackson Hole Daily by Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr, a skier traveling at high speed collided with a 64-year-old Driggs resident while she was skiing the Rock Garden run off Fred’s Mountain with her husband on Monday afternoon around 3:30 p.m.

    The woman was life-flighted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, Carr said. She remained in critical condition on Friday, according the hospital’s spokeswoman. I think ski patrolers need to take people who are speeding on skis or snowboards more seriously.

  19. So many good points here. I love to ski fast and make wide radius turns in good light. I NEVER ski close to people or in such a way that if I should fall I’ll collide with them. I started in 1957 and I know how to hang onto a turn. In pre-covid Idaho our local hill was all but deserted during the week. If I want to ski fast I wait until the slope is clear and I have plenty of room. Great point on being aware of your surroundings – even the sounds of skidding turns. I’d take it one step further. Watch other people and how they turn. Often the Wild Ones run in packs. Other people have almost no control and are barely staying upright. If I see someone who looks dangerous I’ll get well out of their way or stop. Leave yourself an out in case someone explodes in front of you or pops out of the woods. The late great Stein Erickson was clobbered by a border that shot out of the trees and they collided. Stein was never the same and people say that contributed to his death a few years later. Keep a “what if” scenario running in your mind kind of like driving in traffic.

  20. Richard Kavey, MD says:


    Collisions are a very serious problem!

    Read your article and all the comments. Ski collisions are deadly serious, ask the famed coach Ron LeMaster – oh you can’t because he died this early winter after being hit by a snowboarder at Eldora. What a tragedy!

    Now comes the part in everyone’s comments where they establish their provenance to have an opinion. I have skied for 70 years, was on a Canadian college team, the equivalent of US DI and coached for USSA club teams for 40+ years. It is not an exaggeration to say I’ve seen a lot.

    Reckless skiing and boarding has been a problem for as long as I’ve skied. Extensive grooming has increased the speed people ski at. Before grooming, you had to be very skilled to ski 30 mph plus through the bumps – few even tried. Now with carpet smooth grooming anyone can ski 40 mph or faster w no ski skills, no balance, poor turning ability and no consideration of others. I don’t believe improvement in ski design is a factor.

    Now, let’s expand on that last point: consideration of others. Other than grooming, the only other significant change is the erosion of consideration for the rights, property, and in this case bodily integrity of others. If you run over a person with your car, that’s a crime. If you run into someone on your skis – crickets. No foul. As a psychiatrist I am struck by the extraordinary growth in pathological narcissism. If it was a stock, I’d buy it!

    Amateur ski patrol has told me it’s not their responsibility to police out of control skiing – their responsibility begins with removing bodies from the hill. Pro patrols used to control reckless skiing at major areas and most of them were deputized and could make arrests. I get the impression this is no longer true.

    Now, possible solutions. Declare any ski collision an assault legally. Put them in jail then launch tort suits. Area operators can’t waive negligence, lack of attempt to control reckless skiing is negligence. Sue the area operators who are negligent making an honest effort in controlling reckless skiing. Pull passes!

    I am fully retired so I have the luxury to ski during the week during the day when the hill is the least crowded I chose to ski on the least crowded run available which I usually have completely to myself. If I do encounter skiers, I let them go in front of me and don’t start skiing until they are gone because otherwise I will catch up to them fast. Ive never had a reckless skier roll up the hill and collide with me. Gravity can be your friend!

    On the occasions I do stop on the way down I position myself just downhill of a snowmaking gun, lift tower or huge hardwood tree. If they hit something it ain’t gonna be me!

    I applaud all efforts to control this menace to the sport we love. Unfortunately I have little hope things will improve.

    • Richard,
      Great comment! In particular I thought about your look back to the “old days “ when only a few green runs were groomed, and everything else got bumped up. As you indicated, those bumps acted as one heck of a deterrent to skiers without skills.

  21. Your commentary certainly rings true in light of recently publicized tragedies and from personal experience. I was blindsided by a speeder (don’t know if it was a skier or boarder because I was knocked unconscious and came to seeing stars and hearing voices asking if I was ok) several weeks ago. This was at Snowbowl, Flagstaff AZ. I have since learned (on Google and Yelp) that this mountain is known for notorious substance use and reckless inconsiderate skiing. This was midweek skiing but the presence of a large university 40 minutes away means many college kids can be there anytime. I was on a green trail and I know the ski etiquette but this individual either was out of control intentionally or perhaps substance fueled. Made a report to Snowbowl- never even got acknowledgment. I wish something could be done but as a friend of mine pointed out – business can and usually will operate with impunity when waivers are signed and they have not been successfully sued to cause them enough financial harm to change their ways. I love to ski but I was lucky to walk away with a mild concussion and no fractures. I am hanging up my skis – I don’t want to but the joy of skiing has been replaced by anxiety.

    • Hi Cynthia,
      Sorry to hear about your blind side collision by a maniac. I experienced the same – my first and so far only collision about 5-6 years ago…was free skiing defensively, on way to a lesson…then came to wondering what happened. Don’t give up skiing!

  22. Joanne Lasnier says:

    Ski defensively! Just like driving on all of our highways. Ski etiquette is no longer taught or reinforced. Takes the fun out of skiing but it will save your life. Be careful out there

    • Elaine Christie says:

      I’m sorry Joanne, but as a 30+ year ski instructor, I can tell you that safety is still taught. I make sure my students are familiar with the safety rules ( the kids get laughs out of my telling them no skiing or boarding under the influence of drugs or alcohol). But as outlined several times above, ski patrollers at different resorts have told me thatpatrolling doesn’t include speed control and removing tickets. I was told this repeatedly when reporting bad behaviour so it just astounded me). Without enforcement, there are no consequences to bad behaviour.

      I do know that at my home hill, the Park employees do enforce the safety rules and have thrown people out of the Park for failure to observe the safety rules.

      Our problem on the hills reflects the same problem we have on our roads, people going too fast for conditions, ignorance of safety rules, distracted skiing/boarding while videoing their own or other’s performance, and too many videos of professional skiers and boarders who do amazing things on snow that encourages far less skilled participants to do stupid things (I.e airbourne coming out of the trees without having a clear view of traffic and no spotter – just missed me at Big White on the green run to the condo mid-afternoon.). And yes, they do seem to run in packs or with at least one other person).

      • Joanne Lasnier says:

        Thank you Elaine for response . It is good to hear that those who take lessons are taught

      • Hi Elaine,
        Thanks for your comment! My only additional thought is that safety is not a one way street – even if our kids we’re teaching do ALL the right things, there’s still great risk to many when packs of skiers and/or boarders come flying down a run at speeds way in excess of what’s appropriate for their chosen trail (usually a green or blue). Thus the mindful skiers, keeping a lookout as they descend, often have no idea what’s approaching from above.

        And let’s face facts, lower proficiency skiers sometimes don’t know they’re about to turn until the instant they turn! Terrain changes, fear of increasing speed, so many elements contribute to the turn selection moment for skiers in early learning phases.

  23. Cansnowplow says:

    Speed compensates for boredom. Skiing on trails/slopes groomed to the eighth degree (especially groomers) leads to boredom for those who do not like variation between turns. I’m not talking the pitch angle. I’m talking about the undulating and changing conditions between turns. For those who are claiming to be long-time skiers like myself, the combination of man-made snow and grooming is the “perfect storm” for speed. The “Me” concept by our young adults have been left unchecked by today’s parents, “me” deemed acceptable. Thus, we have spoiled brats as our later generation who care for no one but themselves and have no scruples for their behavior. As the Indian Chief said, white man has made their bed and now we have to sleep in it. What to do? Make ski area personnel and patrol wear new gloves, boxing gloves and when they find the no-scrupled person pulling a “me” first, go up and duke-em. Aim for the chin, otherwise you may break their $200 goggles that they can easily afford to replace, because mummy and daddy have deep pockets.

  24. At age 82 I don’t climb up on roofs anymore. I don’t use chainsaws. I don’t shovel snow. I don’t cut my own grass. This is my last year of skiing. Its just too dangerous any more with the increased wildness on the slopes. Too many dangerous close calls for me.

    • Ronald+Magray says:

      Amen and 82 was my last skiing year. Agree there is increased wildness that leads to more danger. It seems that the goal is to get down the mountain as fast as possible. Long gone are the ways of John Claude Killy who dominated the sport in the 60s, and adhered to the recreational methods of enjoying skiing without speeding down the mountain. His theory was to make love to moguls not crush them with speed.

  25. “Courtesy Patrol?” Maybe your are referring to an ambassador program or a program of a similar name. Many courtesy volunteers are posted at the entrance of buildings or by directional signs. Few resorts offer an on mountain presence with their courtesy staff. Patrollers do not care to do speed control. They want to be first responders and help the injured. They don’t like being stuck out in a slow zone to deter “young invincibles”. One ski area in the Intermountain west tried a “Mountain Safety program.” It met with it’s own demise because they had to be stealthy in order to catch speeders, reckless skiers and rope poachers. In being stealthy they were too invisible for guests and management to know they were out there doing their job. I’m not sure if snowboarders are the demons many of us like to think they are but those of us around them need to be aware that they have a blind side. With the majority of them having their left foot forward, their left side peripheral vision is seriously compromised.

  26. Wayne Hintze says:

    Vail Resorts did something about this problem. They made it much worse! Two seasons ago when they acquired three resorts in the Mid Atlantic, they immediately dispensed with the services of the Mountain Safety Patrol whose purpose for the past 25 years, was to keep those slopes as safe as possible.
    One of those areas, Liberty Mountain Resort near Gettysburg, Pa, gets huge crowds on weekends and certainly needs the type of patrolling suggested in other comments. Much work by dedicated individuals went into making that a reality, but Vail just tossed the whole program out with no regard to keeping the slopes safe.
    Welcome to the world of corporate skiing. Expect things to continue to get worse, especially in Vail owned resorts.

    • Jack Rosenberg says:

      I was part of the Liberty Mountain Safety Patrol for 20 years, along with my friend Wayne Hintze. We did more than control speedy out of control skiers. We investigated all accidents and incidents and if there was an individual who was responsible for a reckless accident, we did no just shrug it off. These individuals were dealt with either by management or the appropriate legal authorities. Alas, vail just fired us all (about 80 patrollers!) and the mountain is getting crazier and crazier. we were out on the hill all the time and our red jackets were always seen by our guests, which made them feel more comfortable, since they knew we were there to keep our mountain safe.
      I still ski all the time with my former MS patrollers and we just shake our heads more than once or twice every time at the conduct of the young skiers.
      Stay safe and remember that you are not too old to ski, you only get old when you stop skiing!

      • Hi Jack,
        Thanks for your comment. Had no idea there was such a large safety patrol contingent until Vail bought Liberty. Sad commentary on this great sport/activity/lifestyle

  27. Terri Burton-Wire says:

    Just got home from a 2 week trip to Breckenridge. There are areas of Breckenridge that I will NOT ski! Too many crazy out of control skiers! I know the area well enough to avoid them. I was amazed at the number of people just straight lining the runs, totally incapable of making a turn. Maybe an occasional hockey stop to check their speed or avoid running into someone. One thing I noticed is that all of them were on 100+ mm powder skis, skiing on the hard pack groomers. These kids couldn’t get those pontoons on an edge to save their life. It seems like all the shops and reviews keep pushing wider and wider skies for everyone, even beginners and intermediate skiers, but most can’t handle them.

  28. Terri,
    Thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, all I’m seeing is people agreeing that there’s a huge problem with TOO MANY, TOO FAST SKIERS…and no ski area seems to be taking a leadership role in combating this insanity. Take a look at some of the “ski apps” where users can “compete” with others for Fastest Time. Seriously, numerous apps are actively encouraging reckless behavior for the ephemeral benefit of being the fastest skier on a run. Only one app I’m aware of, SLOPES, has pro-actively resisted this trend, and for the one key, responsible reason: it encourages potentially dangerous behavior. I have zero stake in SLOPES, however I love the app and have used it for more than two years. Stay safe!

  29. my husband was hit by a fast skier 35 years ago.. he almost died, has had 100 surgeries over the years and is permanently disabled from this one thing. the ski patroller responding told the fast skier he could leave.
    so bad skiing has happened over the years. the last unsafe situation I saw was a snowboard instructor, at a major resort, on the beginner hill, who had the whole class of kids sitting on the snow on the downside of a bump.. so you could not see them til you came over the roll.. they will sitting right in the middle of the slope. I am an expert skier and avoided them.. but I did yell at that instructor that put the students in harm’s way.
    I think every lesson should start with safety, ads constantly remind people of safety.. and I do like the mid run or end of run safety gates. Having staff out visible on hill can also help. but in the end, there probably won’t be much change. people feel they are not responsible for their actions.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Theresa, Your husband’s story is horrendous. Where did the collision occur, and was the person who hit him held accountable? Completely agree with you on that safety should be part of the lesson in every ski instruction class. Jon

  30. This is just a personal grip but my worst fears on the hills are young inexperienced show boarders who don’t watch where they are going. And often as not they get on runs they have no business being on. They will suddenly sit down on a hill with no warning sometimes 3 across and frequently in low visibility places. These kids today are just not being taught proper hill etiquette and they endanger themselves and the skiers around them.

  31. David Engel says:

    On a recent ski trip to Northstar, California, I was skiing on Burnout, an easy black diamond groomer with a friend. We were skiing at a moderate speed, working on our technique and staying well clear of other skiers.

    Suddenly, someone hit me from behind. I felt a excruciating sharp pain in my shoulder and I was tossed into the air before plowing into the snow face first. Ski patrol was called, the young teenage woman who hit me apologized many times. She said she had lost control. I was evacuated from the slopes.

    After trips to the emergency room, to other doctors, for x-rays, meetings with surgeons, I’ve learned that it is unlikely that my shoulder can ever be repaired. A separated clavicle and three torn ligaments results in my arm hanging down limply. Prior to this, I was an avid rock climber and raft guide even at age 66. The surgeon said that I should wait 6-12 months and if I decide surgery is needed, there is still a 30% failure rate. A teenage girl skiing out of control has changed the trajectory of my life.

    I write this because it’s imperative that ski patrol, courtesy patrols and ski instructors start to take an active role in stopping skiers/boarders from skiing out of control. There needs to be an enforcement of a safe area around each snow participant. There is no need to pass within 20 feet of someone else. This is a very serious situation that winter resorts MUST start to enforce. Now I live a compromised life because ski areas are not taking enforcement of safe skiing rules seriously. Safe skiing can only result if all those involved in the ski industry take this seriously and stop out of control and wild skiers/boarders.

  32. Wow, not surprised to hear this situation given the me me me attitude that is solidly in place in our culture. I was an avid skier for many years from 1986-2013 along with my wife. Got my kids into it 20m years ago .My younger son lost interest and quit 10 years ago. My older son worked for Epic Mountain and had free passes and was a ski junkie for 10+ years. He has cut WAY back do do his job, getting married soon, owning a house and maybe kids in a year or two AND….he has lost the bug, the trill, it isn’t what is used to be to him, he doesn’t care anymore. Understanding the situation spelled out here, I may encourage him to hang up the boards for good. My wife and I gave it up in our early fifties at the end of the 2013 season, the Colorado traffic on I70, the lift lines the crowed slopes, idiot skiers, overpriced lift tickets, expensive lunches, having to park in the next zip code and bus to the lifts and all the other costs and hassle out weighed the fun of skiing so we quit and haven’t missed it one bit. We were lucky to have really enjoyed about 25 really good seasons where we got out 20-30 times per season but the trill and addiction wore off and the down side worsened here in Colorado so DONE. I could ski free numerous times when my son worked for Epic but after March 2013 I never skied again, even with free lift tickets, I no longer had any interest in putting up with the masses or the hassles. I have great memories of my years of skiing and enjoy the memories, I have no desire to relive them and get back out there, reading this confirms I made the right decision to hang up the boards. Time to convince my son, it is wisest to hang it up as the idiots are running freely and out of contol now, the idiots appear to be running the asylum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *