Confronting The Offender.

[Editor note: SeniorsSkiing.com is collecting stories from readers about incidents and accidents that they have experienced. We intend to review these for patterns and themes and use that data to influence the safety policies of resorts and other stakeholders. The following is the second article submitted by a reader in our new feature “Incidents and Accidents”. If you have a story to tell, please follow the format used below and send to [email protected]]

Jon Weisberg, Teasdale, UT.

Where: Deer Valley, Park City, UT

What Happened: I was skiing the left edge of a wide slope, about three quarters of the way down. The bottom of the lift was visible. A skier in a green parka came from behind and passed within an inch or two. His skis crossed mine. I stopped and watched as the ugly green parka made its way clumsily to the bottom. Taking chase, I caught up with him and his friend in the lift line and confronted him. He was in his late teens or early 20s and denied that he was the skier in question. I pressed the issue. “You’re the only person wearing that ugly green jacket.” He still didn’t admit that he skied so close and almost knocked me down. “You did it, and you know you did,” I persisted. His buddy then spoke up  and admitted that his friend had done it. They were about to get on the chair. I gave him a short lecture. “If you got hit at your age, you’d get up or spend a few days sidelined and be back on the hill. I’m in my seventies, and you almost knocked me down. I’ve been skiing more than 60 years. If you hit me, I might have been out for the season or for the rest of my life.” Maybe it registered, maybe not. He got on the chair and, fortunately, I never saw the twerp again.

Role of the Ski Patrol: Had Patrol been nearby, I would have reported the kid. They were not, and I did not.

Lessons Learned: I like to ski the fall line which is what I was doing when this happened. I deliberately ski slowly and in control. But many others don’t ski with the same level of control. It’s important to redouble looking around and upslope when skiing.

Advice: The incident made me realize that regardless of how well I conduct myself on the hill, I need to expect the unexpected.

13 Comments

  1. Avatar Sandra Buckley says:

    My husband had a similar incident .Skiing down a black run 5 m from edge of run when an uphill skier sped past on outside where there was not a lot of room.His skis went over the front of my husbands ,resulting in a fall and serious shoulder dislocation and fracture ,2 surgeries and 7 months off work .This inconsiderate person just got up and skied away and did not even check if we were ok.
    Thankfully he is back on skis but very wary of uphill skiers.

  2. Good story Jon. I ski the same way. It has happened to me but I don’t confront them.. Im too old at 80 and don’t want to get beat up. I quit Vermont skiing as there is little interest by management in safety. Slopes are to dangerous for me. I have been flying to Vail and Beaver creek in Colorado. More expensive than driving to Vermont from Pittsburgh but at least there an effort as I see signs posted on how many ski passes were lifted the previous day. There are also areas on the slopes with watchers to confront speeders in slow zones.

  3. Avatar Barbara Melanson says:

    Where: Killington Vermont
    What Happened:
    I was skiing at a moderate pace along an intermediate nearly empty trail. I was hit very hard from behind by a snow boarder who had been skiing at the edge of the tree line. I was knocked forward, an slid about 15 feet, my goggles pushed up over my helmet, my forehead bruised, and my shoulder injured. (Ultimately I required rotator cuff surgery with 4 yrs of rehab). The boarders friend stopped to ask if I was hurt. I replied yes, I had a headache and my shoulder hurt. I also added that his friend was a jerk. The boarder who hit me then said, “lady, I am not a jerk, I am just a beginner. I don’t know how to go slow”. I suggested that he stay on beginner trails until he got better and his friends started making fun of him saying he needed to be on the bunny slope. No ski patrol around. There was a second snowboarder incident earlier that season in which a snowboarder knocked my daughter-in-law down then proceeded to get up, ride down the trail a bit, then knock me down. At that time I was standing at the edge of an intersecting trail waiting for traffic to clear. No stopping, no apology, now ski patrol or ambassador. These incidents seem to occur when there are a lot of day-trippers (mostly male) who come up on bus trips organized by ski shops. They never were socialized into skiing by their families but instead figure out how to get down the mountain along with their buddies. Perhaps skiers should be required to pass some type of exam before they are allowed on the slopes.

  4. This ain’t going away. Too many folks young and old on crowded runs. I get on hill early and can make a few good runs without worrying. 10 a.m. seems to be the magic hour when the speed demons arrive. I am then forced to ski the fall line and hope no one cuts me off. Too many people per square foot of hill.

  5. Avatar Cansnowplow says:

    I was plowed over on the ski-off at Alta, well within eye sight of the bottom of the lift. It was 200 feet from where everyone (at least 20 at that moment) were skiers starting to funneled down as you approach the entrance opening to the lift line. Someone flatten me as they skied across both my skis just in front of my toe piece. Although I was travelling at 10 mph, the fall hurt me with whip lash, as it was totally unexpected. Stiff neck ruined my last 3 days of my ski week, including poor sleep. Regarding Alta policy, it had to have been someone on skis, even though for some, bashing snowboarders always seems to be in season. I have no idea who it was, as I was blindsided and knocked down in a blur of a moment. So when it isn’t beginner poor judgement, it is poor judgement within the congestion that causes this rash behavior or ignorance. No one stopped, management (including NSP) present either didn’t witness it or chalked it up to the waiver on the back of the lift ticket we have to agree to when we purchase it. Ron White summarily chalked it, “you can’t fix stupid!” Of course the adage of the story, “Look out for the other guy; ski defensively; be aware all around you at all times…. I could keep reciting.

  6. Avatar Lynn A. Kane says:

    Firstly—so glad you were safe and uninjured!!

    I have a feeling that if this kid was twentyish in age, that, although he would never apologize, being the churlish skier and liar that he is—-your words WILL sink into his brain at some level. And he may even realize that he has even considered the consequences of ski injuries at 20ish vs. ski injuries at 70-Plus. (Which is, undoubtedly, because he cannot envision himself ever ‘evolving’ into a skier of our age, who delights in being a “unique antique”, still heading for the hills, and carving our perfect turns (well….almost perfect)!

    One other thought occurred to me. Those of us who are 70-plus went through a rigorous step-by-step learning process, so that we could handle the long-length, ‘ unsympathetic,’ stiff skis that FORCED us to get each learning step completely mastered, one-by-one-, until we were finally awarded the highest badge of all: The ability to STOP on our skis……, never mind gracefully ‘carve’ turns down the mountain. (And, watching experts ‘weedeling’ (sp?) down the mountain was a goal we could scarcely even DREAM of achieving!)

    Looking around the mountain with amazement at the ‘No-Skills Necessary” art of skiing of today—-the turn by simply swishing your entire body around, side to side and passively holding your poles as if they were used tissues you’d really just like to drop—–I am horrified. Sure it ‘works’—-but, besides being dangerous, new skiers today miss out on the hard work—but the THRILL—of achieving that goal to master skiing as an ‘ART’. A goal to be proud of! And it IS so darn, much more FUN to play in the snow when you know what you are doing!!

    But–perhaps, the fact that new skiers can ride the chairlifts to the top, almost immediately—-knowing the ‘Swish Technique’ will get them down the mountain—is now what is needed to help introduce new skiers to the sport!? (Not to mention that ‘legs moving more as a unit’ is sure not easy on some of those narrow-waist, wide tips and tails that were/are all the rage, even on FIRM snow, when you need to ‘dig in’ a little.)

    Okay, I’ve moved WAY off the “Accidents and Injuries” topic—-but I do believe that too many new skiers are more than happy not to learn even basic body movement!

    I often think ‘They just don’t KNOW the fun they are missing!!!’

    My advice: Take as many lessons as you can from good teachers (ask around), always be aware of skiers around you, be sure your skis are right for the terrain you ski, and your boots fit (not too big for your feet–or you lose control), ski at your own level, and learn the whereabouts of Ski Patrol….in case!

    Oh…and if you ARE unfortunate and do collide with another skier—try to keep your cool—-allow any ‘hot heads’ to yell their side of the story, first—and THEN quietly give them your own feedback on the accident. Try to be calm, also, when the Ski Patrol shows up and makes a report. They did not see the accident—so they take no ‘sides’. Try to control your anger at the other ‘victim’.

    AND, lastly! When skiing, avoid the center of a crowded trail—that’s the advantage of becoming a better skier. You can enjoy the sides of the trails which are not only less crowded—-but hold any new snow the longest!

    Happy Skiing!! (And please take some pity on this very sad, self-pitying, disgruntled skier, whose torn Meniscus has ruined her Winter ski plans….) 🙁

  7. Avatar Tom Barrett says:

    I have to disagree with Lynne when she says to avoid the middle of crowded trails; my advice is to avoid crowded trails. Skiing on the edge is sometimes more dangerous; the better snow attracts faster skiers and the trail edge limits their options to avoid hitting a slower or static skier. Skier or boarder – makes no difference.

    There is many differences between skiing today and skiing years ago. Shaped skies and trail maintenance require less skill and promote faster skiing with less danger. Bigger, faster lifts cut lift lines, yes, but put more bodies on the snow. The result is more less-skilled fast skiers, especially on the easier greens and blues favored by older skiers [like me].

    My solution is to ski mornings midweek, when the majority of people on the slopes have gray or no hair, the snow is better, and lift lines are not a factor. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it is my answer to skiing as practiced today. The minute skiing became the ski industry everything changed. New gear and great grooming have me still skiing in my 80’s, so I’m not complaining, just adapting.

    • Avatar Roger Buddy Coffman says:

      The last paragraph ” Ski mornings, midweek when the majority of the people have gray or no hair, the snow is better, and there are no lift lines is the answer” PLUS you get to cut first tracks many times on several runs.

  8. Here’s a safety tip to consider passing along. This isn’t an incident, but it could result in an injury. I use neoprene boot covers and electric heaters. I took a pair of my skis in for a binding (bench) check and they failed. The reason my bindings failed was simple. I had a local boot manufacturer put on a set of their neoprene covers a few weeks ago. The neoprene material was between the toe of my boot and the binding. Once the neoprene was folded under itself, the issue was solved. A simple fix but something I should have known. I would caution anyone who uses neoprene boot covers of any kind to make sure that the cover doesn’t extend too far down so that it comes between the binding and the toe of the boot.

    • Avatar Cansnowplow says:

      For warmth, I’ve retired my neoprene boot covers, I’ve retired my Hotronic boot heaters and bought a pair of INTUITION boot liners and threw away the liners that came with the boots. My feet stay warm, even in below 0 F., even skiing in powder at -5 below. Regarding a previous comment about skiing safety, I still say that all resorts should post the rules of ski/board etiquettes on every chairlift safety crossbar. I also think the resort should state that these rules are the law at their resort and how lift tickets will be confiscated without warning when a violation is seen. So, hillside etiquette needs to pared down to safety. The idea of suggesting a lesson is not etiquette. It should state that if you are unable to abide by the rules, the resort suggest the easiest form of learning how to is, a lesson.

  9. Avatar Kelli Majiros says:

    Yesterday, at Camelback Mountain in the Poconos, I saw someone in a yellow jacket with Ranger Patrol on the back. I stopped him and asked what they do. When they see a dangerous or out of control skier/boarder, they mark their ticket with a big red “X” and escort the skier/boarder to the base where they must watch a safety video in order to get their ticket back. They said it works pretty well in reducing the number of out of control skiers/boarders there. I thought it was a great idea! It’s a volunteer position. I thanked him for doing that and told him about this forum.

  10. Avatar Steve Downing says:

    Maybe we need vests with “Old Skier” (or “Old Snowboarder” in my case) stenciled on the back.
    Along with “Fragile” Pass carefully…

  11. Avatar Hiller Hardie says:

    This is a true story. Circa 1992 I was at the bottom of the run of local Penna resort with friend, waiting on another friend. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an out of control skier coming in to the lift area. I quickly realized he was headed right for me, braced and was knocked off my feet. Once I realized I was OK I saw the guy still on the his back. In a fit of fury I jumped on him, pinned his shoulders with my knees and was about to start beating the dickens out of him before I caught myself. I still could not resist grabbing his goggles, pulling them back from his head and “thwacking” him. I then proceeded to read him the riot act, the main point of which was “skiing is not a contact sport”. Once I had let off steam I looked around and noticed not only my friends had been watching but 2 ski patrols had witnessed the whole event as well. They came over and advised the guy that everything I had just told him was true, added some color of their own and then examined my equipment. This revealed a severely bent ski pole and ripped ski pants. They advised the guy that they were going to escort him and me to the ski shop and supervise his purchase of replacements for the damaged items. As we made our way to the ski shop, the guy apologized and I duly accepted. I did get new poles and pants. Wish all ski patrols did this under similar circumstances.

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