Funneled With No Place To Go.

Who: Randall White

Where: Mt St Louis, Ontario, Canada, near Toronto

What Happened: Skier-snowboarder collision at convergence and crossover of blue ski runs. These were moderate to high speed runs without any warning signs, and it was a crowded day.  See recorded GoPro video for a detailed visual account of the accident, and thoughts on improvements.

Role of Ski Patrol: Neither person was seriously injured or required transport, so Patrol not called. The protocol at this ski area is for Patrol to take a “not injured statement and signature” from people.  That is for relief of liability. 

Lessons Learned:  Read maps carefully, ski off to the side of the run in busy intersections, go slow, and watch out for fast skiers behind you. Runs with funnel points should be avoided or approached with caution.

Advice: Wear a flashing red bicycle light on your helmet aimed behind you. Choose one of very high lumens for daylight visibility.  That may help reduce the probability of rear end collisions. 

Action: Make a report to the manager of Ski Patrol, or the GM of the ski area for such hazardous conditions.  Suggest that they install metering chicanes in such locations to slow skiers down and allow for safer crossovers and merges. See video.

For Prevention:  Stay away from overcrowded ski slopes that are too close to large metropolitan areas. There are inherent hazards/accidents that while preventable, are unlikely to be corrected by the ski area operators.  

CLICK BELOW TO SEE RANDALL’S STORY AND ANALYSIS OF THE CAUSE.

 

9 Comments

  1. We need to contact the ski resorts we ski at and tell them about our concerns. Thanks

  2. Avatar Peter Doucette says:

    While I agree with the author that more could be done to alert skiers/snowboarders of trails merging and other steps to make the merge smoother, the suggestions for “Prevention” are laughable. Almost every ski area in the Northeast is near a metropolitan area so telling people to stay away from them is simply inane. It is also highly questionable that ski area operators are unlikely to correct any inherent hazards or potential accident sites. If you know anything about what it takes to get insurance for a ski area, you would soon realize that all those bumpers around lift towers and snow making guns aren’t there just because the ski area operator was worried about skiers/snowboarders damaging them. They are required if you want to have any hope of getting insurance.
    Before we blame the ski area for all responsibility for this collision it might be worth stressing that when one is skiing on a busy day at any area to slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly to avoid collisions. I suspect that if the skier in the video had been driving a car, he would have been found at fault for causing this collision due to excessive speed resulting in him not being able to stop in time to avoid a collision with slower moving traffic in front of him.

    • I like that you presented your insight, about the East ski domain. And like the stressing about slow and be prepared to stop.
      Westerners have a different sport for the most part.
      I’m concerned that readers may be mislead about ski areas conducting safety protections to sustain insurance viability. Think about Truth, Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.
      I suggest readers consider this: The Whole Truth includes the Fact that the ski areas all have exculpatory clauses in patron documentation that excuses the areas negligence, and in most states their ‘Trade Group’ NSAA have created statutory escapes from liability under the mirage of “Ski Safety Acts”

  3. Wear a flashing light on your head??? What the heck???

  4. I have to wonder why the skier was still going 17 at the time of collision given there was plenty of time to check speed and make evasive maneuvers. At the beginning of the video the speed was 18 so the skier clearly did not make any adjustment in speed. The snowboarder was obviously going quite slow as witnessed by the snowboard being sideways on the hill, not to mention there was someone on the ground. Yes, I did see the skier pass on the left but that person too was skiing too fast in those conditions.

    The “Lessons Learned” section is spot on. Was this the lesson learned by the skier with the camera as a result of this incident?

    I do wish more people would read, understand, AND adhere to the Skier Responsibility Code. In this case be in control and avoid anyone in front of you.

  5. DETAILS Video presentation is in slow motion. Time from pathway obstruction until collision was .63 seconds. If you watch again you can see the second skier in the scene 1.45 seconds after impact. Speeds were average for upper green lower blue runs.
    BIG PICTURE Many ski resorts began decades ago in much less populated times, and lower ski speeds. But remain as designed back then. Given skier/rider density now, updating and modernizations are required but mostly not implemented beyond high speed lifts which actually compound the crowding problems.
    INTENTION: we should take away the punchline at 2:12 of the video “Ski Safety is a PARTNERSHIP” IT REQUIRES ACTION BY BOTH, and the Ski Areas by and large do NOT do their part. They mostly waive THE CODE back at those with the courage to speak up.
    SADLY many of the commenters have been enculturated to chant the same CODE as though it is the ONLY pathway to Safety advancement.

  6. Avatar Mark J Stangl says:

    This season we are hearing more about ski areas enforcing speeds of skiers and snowboarders. I still think areas need more safety devices at intersections and more people on the slopes enforcing the rules. I still see people skiing at high rates of speed where other slower list experience ski resort making big turns.

  7. Avatar wayne a magnoni says:

    There is a blurring of the lines of responsibility when it comes to runs or trails that merge. If the trail cuts directly across a run, a skier can usually look uphill to see other skiers. But when runs merge, or trails merge in funnel fashion, trees and cliffs can obstruct the downhill skiers view until he or she is fully on the new run. Fast uphill skiers running the edges can wipe you out, and yet rule 4 of the skier’s code would suggest they have an argument for right of way. One would hope the uphill skier has a greater duty to stay in control and yield in that situation. Who knows?

  8. Totally skier’s fault.

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