A Reply From Meegan Moszynski, Executive Director, National Ski Patrol

[Editor Note: On Oct 1, SeniorsSkiing.com published an article by correspondent Roger Lohr recounting his hit-and-run collision that left him with a nagging back problem. Many readers responded to that article by citing their own on-hill incidents with speeding or out-of-control skiers/boards. The question emerged: Who is actually responsible for lifting ski tickets from people who are discourteous, unsafe, or just acting dangerously? The ski patrol, right? No, said some; yes, said others. So, SeniorsSkiing.com asked Meegan Mosynskyi, the executive director of the National Ski Patrol, to clarify what the NSP’s role is in controlling dangerous skiers/boarders. Here is her response:]

Thank you for reaching out and inviting NSP to provide some input to this important topic.

The Responsibility Code is a courtesy code that all areas and guests are encouraged to follow. The Code was developed by NSAA and is supported by many other leading organizations in the ski industry, including NSP. As an education and training organization, NSP provides the standard of training. The standard of care and the actual roles and responsibilities of patrollers who work or volunteer on the hill is up to area management. Some areas ask patrollers to regulate and react to skiing speeds and other on-hill behavior to the best of their ability, and some do not. 

We are always interested in working to promote safety in skiing. We work closely with NSAA and others to do this, and to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the skiing public and the areas that host them. Any communication that can be shared with the skiing public via your channels would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you for all you do. Let’s hope it’s another great winter!

17 Comments

  1. all ski resorts should have a safety rating of 1 to 5. I can then better decide if I should take my grandchildren to the area. I don’t want an 8 year old little boy paralyzed for the rest of his life because of some idiot. The NSAA can do something if they had any real interest in protecting people and not just making suggestions . How about a voting system by customers right on their I phone

  2. Avatar Jack Thompson says:

    What a pathetic response from the NSP!

    • Yep about what I’d expected

    • Avatar April Umlauf says:

      Agreed! Why didn’t she just say “some areas just want NSP to clean up the dead & wounded from the slopes, some want us to help to prevent it”!  What a stupid response…

    • Agree on the pathetic ‘legal speak’ type response from the NSP. So it sounds like the responsibility for enforcing the rules is on resort management with no common criteria.

    • Avatar Dr. Steven Funk says:

      What do you expect? The NSP has no authority to act outside the resort owners’ authority. Doesn’t make sense to me that one would think Employees or volunteers could legally act on their own. If that was the case, then customers who witness the event could act.

  3. The issue isn’t so much speed, but control. If Bode Miller blew by a lightly populated slope at 50 mph it would be easy for an experienced skier to see that he was perfectly in control and leaving a wide berth between others and not endangering anyone. Then there are also arm waving back seat drivers going 30 or 40 mph through crowds of skiers and clearly creating a hazard. It takes experience to know and see the difference. I operate a ski area in Alaska, and am very apt to have a word with the latter, though they are usually offended, and sometimes angry.

  4. Avatar Michele Jacquin says:

    I agree about the rating system. Yelp is powerful in the retail area as is Trip Advisor in travel, but reviews require time reading and evaluating.
    There is a reason that large city health depts require restaurants to post their A, B, C ratings. If the resorts refuse to supply statistics on injuries which could be part of a method of rating, than that fact should go into the “sausage” of producing ratings for each an every resort. NSP is volunteer and has only a ‘courtesy’ relationship with the resorts. They could get ‘kicked out’ if the actually did something to develop a rating system.

    It is going to have to be some of us retired number cruncher, health professional, safety engineer, software tech, educator, marketing people and others to do something. The consolidated empires of the large resorts will surely oppose it and sue.

    Perhaps a network of the still surviving small and family run resorts could use such a rating system and promotion of their safety to fight back against the big corporate outfits.

  5. Avatar Tammy Stemen says:

    I volunteered as a Safety Ambassador at Okemo Mtn Resort in Vermont for over ten years. The Safety Ambassador program was part of Ski Patrol. We essentially assisted the Patrollers. Engaging with those skiing in an unsafe manner was part of our role as an Ambassador. Many felt that having the program made skiing safer at Okemo. Unfortunately when Vail bought Okemo in 2018 Vail decided to disband the Safety Ambassador program. Patrollers are a very busy, hard working crew whose priorities are on assisting the injured. They many times do try to deal with those not following the responsibility code but don’t always have the time.

  6. Avatar George Karlsven says:

    It is clear from this response that the ski patrol organization considers skier safety a secondary item on their agenda. And it is also clear from my experience that ski resorts talk about skier safety but do almost nothing to actually get skiers to change their behavior.

    And at the same time resorts are actively trying to reach maximum capacity on their mountains every day.

    The reality is that this industry will only respond when lawsuits for their failure to control skier behavior seriously damage their bottom line. And by the time that happens, the reputation of the sport will have been permanently damaged.

    George Karlsven

  7. I agree with comments by George, Jack and Larry, NSP in my estimation is making a NSAA coached lawyer drafted reply. The industry takes no responsibility for protecting us from the reckless, nor does any civilian (aka ski patrol) have any empowerment over stopping reckless endangerment on the slopes. For more and some helpful ski safety info see: GPASS.CA
    NSAA has identified Seniors as one of the demographics they want to attract back to or more frequent users of the slopes. I suggest someone from Seniors Skiing make an approach and represent this group in this aspect.

  8. “as an education and training organization, the NSP provides the standard of training.”

    I guess this means that the NSP would rather not take a stand against unsafe skiers and riders and instead lay the blame for accidents on the areas, themselves, since the NSP only trains and educates people. As an organization that professes to work closely with the NSAA and reports they are committed to meeting the needs of the skiing public, it seems the rhetoric does not match the actions. What a spineless response!

  9. The National offices for NSAA, NSP, and PSIA are all located in the same building in Lakewood Colorado. These organizations are very entwined. One of our members had a hopeful, productive phone call about ski safety with Meegan just prior to her on-boarding at NSP. That all changed after the indoctrination…
    For Safety ratings of Colorado resorts see: https://www.facebook.com/GPASS.CA/ -while these are preliminary they do provide fact based insights.

  10. Avatar Rex Cochran says:

    I suffered a season ending injury two years ago when hit from behind…in my opinion Ski areas have some responsibility to enforce out of control skiers…most resorts have signs posted, “ski out of control lose ticket” therefore it is only reasonable to assume that someone will enforce the posted notice. Signing a waiver does not relieve resorts from negligence in my opinion Enforcement of posted notices and documenting attempts at enforcement should be a given. It only takes a few to get the message across.

  11. When I was knocked down from the back by a skier and then he physically threatened me with his fist I realized he was totally physically and emotionally out of control so I said nothing, just got my skis poles boots etc back together and skied down to report him.
    The pro patrollers response was “he said “she said. Thanks a lot Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon

  12. Message Body:
    If one has confidence in the skier safety code being of REAL value think of this one.

    Skier stops on a Black Diamond run in a blind spot to smoke marijuana. Certified ski Instructor comes down the run and hits to marijuana smoking person standing in the blind spot. Injured “skier” sues the resort. Resort ins co ignores the skier safety code and pays out to the person standing in a blind spot of a black diamond run 750 thousand dollars,

    I gave deposition for the ski area and repeatedly brought up the skier safety code. Insurance company told me it did not matter.

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