If I get hit 1 more time....

Ryan

New member
...I'm going to really freak on someone.
I was teaching a low level lesson this past sunday with 5 beginner/intermediates in a slow skiing zone. We were working on turn shape to control speed and working on completing turns. I was out in front of the class and they were following behind me in single file. Near the bottow some stupid kid on a snowboard came barreling down from behind me totally out of control. Right before he would have hit me he yelled "on your right" so I instinctively moved hard left.... right into his path. He was on my left not my right as he yelled and this out of control idiot hit me in the lower back hard enough to blow me out of both heel pieces with the dins on 9. He proceded to fly over me and skid to a stop 40 feet in front of me. Needless to say I was irate. I think it is just because of exposure from the amount of time I spend in beginner/intermediate areas while teaching but I get hit 3-4 times each year. The next person who pulls this stunt is in for a really big suprise because I fear that I am going to totally lose it.
 

Ryan

New member
I know I am going to anger some people with this one (especially knotty) but does anyone else notice the common thread on this?!?!?!
I'm not saying that skiers don't hit other skiers but more often than not when I get hit or see someone else get hit it is by a snowboard. I would love to see numbers as to what % of people on any given hill are on snowboards versus what % or hits involve boards. Any thought out there from the boarders who read this as to a logical reason why this might be?
 

JimG.

New member
Ryan, I totally understand your frustration...

But, it takes only 1 out of control yahoo to wreck your day; I doubt it matters what's on their feet, and I doubt that there are more snowboarder caused accidents than skier caused accidents.

It doesn't matter what's attached to their feet. Accidents are not caused by snowboards, skis, or whatever, accidents are caused by a**holes.
 

Patrick

New member
Ryan":iqi9emn5 said:
I know I am going to anger some people with this one (especially knotty) but does anyone else notice the common thread on this?!?!?!?

The problem with skiers/boarders is that rarely anticipate and do not look carefully in their blindspot. This said, the boarder blind spot is definately more important than a skier.

Another problem: young guys Bode wanna-bees (skier or boarder), speed (not fully in control) and agressive. The article states that 60% of new sliders are boarders, mostly in that age group.

One problem that the article doesn't directly mention is the greater uphill capacity of the ski areas. Runs are more crowded, skiers/boarders are going fastest with the new skis and the helmet, they feel invinceable.

This said, I saw a few real close collisions in Val Thorens in 2003. In two seperate days, a helicopter was used to evacuate someone at the same spot. I was one of the only one to witness one of them, skier and boarder, but it could have been skier-skier, full speed contact and an intersection up-hill from the Cime de Caron Tram. That was by far the ugliest thing I have ever seen skiing (look like a vicious elbow/charging in hockey), the skier was unconscious and bleeding, is wife was hysterical. I ran to assist the moment a saw the accident.

Unfortunately, there are too many close-calls out there. People don't seem to realise that someone can get serious hurt or killed by their uphill behaviour.
 

Ryan

New member
JimG.":2d454vei said:
It doesn't matter what's attached to their feet. Accidents are not caused by snowboards, skis, or whatever, accidents are caused by a**holes.

No it really does not matter what is on their feet. I have seen some really out of control skiers that have caused wrecks as well. I wonder if some of this may stem from this though:
I think it ie easier for a beginning skier to push off in one direction to avoid a direct collision than it is for a beginning boarder. Having both feet on the same platform negates a beginners ability to "jump" out of the way of things. At least this last time I got hit this was part of the cause.
 

Ryan

New member
Patrick":1gzgeg54 said:
Another problem: young guys Bode wanna-bees (skier or boarder), speed (not fully in control) and agressive. The article states that 60% of new sliders are boarders, mostly in that age group.

One problem that the article doesn't directly mention is the greater uphill capacity of the ski areas. Runs are more crowded, skiers/boarders are going fastest with the new skis and the helmet, they feel invinceable.

Unfortunately, there are too many close-calls out there. People don't seem to realise that someone can get serious hurt or killed by their uphill behaviour.


I know this is a long quote but you make a lot of good points in here. Back in the days when high uphill capacity meant that the resort put in a new tripple everything was a lot more calm. There was also a ton less congestion on the hill. I don't know what the solution to all of this is. I'm glad to see the sport thriving because that means there will be more places open for me to ski. I also like some of the revolutions that have come to skiing because of boarding (shaped skis, and twin tips to name 2)
Even at my little home mtn. things are a bit more dangerous now than they used to be. Perhaps I just need to spend more time in the trees.
 

JimG.

New member
Ryan":2t2hzhth said:
Perhaps I just need to spend more time in the trees.

:idea: :idea: :idea: :idea: :idea: :idea: :!:

The light bulb is lit...Ryan has been enlightened!
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Claudia is taking potshots at the ski areas for excessive skier density in early season. When you have a high speed quad (or six-pack) at an area like Breckenridge, but in November it's servicing only 3 runs on manmade snow (and tree skiing is obviously not an option), density is far higher than normal for Colorado (though maybe not by eastern standards :wink:).

This goes back to the familiar lament that people will clamor to go skiing in these conditions in November, but come back to Summit County in mid-April with all terrain open (and often with fresh snow) and the runs will be deserted. I have sympathy with the ski areas on this one. It's not their fault that the average skier is so ignorant/stubborn about when to go skiing.
 

Chromer

New member
Patrick":3b914eg5 said:
This said, I saw a few real close collisions in Val Thorens in 2003. In two seperate days, a helicopter was used to evacuate someone at the same spot. I was one of the only one to witness one of them, skier and boarder, but it could have been skier-skier, full speed contact and an intersection up-hill from the Cime de Caron Tram. That was by far the ugliest thing I have ever seen skiing (look like a vicious elbow/charging in hockey), the skier was unconscious and bleeding, is wife was hysterical. I ran to assist the moment a saw the accident.

That sounds really ugly.

My best advice for VT (or Europe as a whole for that matter) is to ski outside the bamboo that defines the piste... The Brits seem to think they're magic anti-avalanche poles and generally won't go past them.
 

Patrick

New member
Chromer":n31gby8s said:
That sounds really ugly.

My best advice for VT (or Europe as a whole for that matter) is to ski outside the bamboo that defines the piste... The Brits seem to think they're magic anti-avalanche poles and generally won't go past them.

Believe me Chromer, not only the Brits!!!

We skiied mostly off the piste, especially when we took the Cîme de Caron Tram (I am sure that Marc who was there around the same time has some good memories about it :wink: ). The problem is that the accident happened at one of the few intersections just a few hundred feet about the base of the Tram, everybody had to go through their, off-piste and the two runs from each side of Caron.

When I skied there and at busy places like Killington in November, I was constantly looking all round, not only where I was skiing, but also where other skiers were. I guess that a remainding legacy of a broken collar bone from a ski collision back in 1987. :?
 

Admin

Administrator
Staff member
Patrick":2vkey00m said:
(I am sure that Marc who was there around the same time has some good memories about it :wink: ).

Funny that you say that, for Chromer was there at the same time that I was.
 

Patrick

New member
Admin":54mv07tl said:
Patrick":54mv07tl said:
(I am sure that Marc who was there around the same time has some good memories about it :wink: ).

Funny that you say that, for Chromer was there at the same time that I was.

Geezz... If I am not mistaken Marc, I believe you were there the same week I was (March 16-22, 2003).

What are the odds of that :?: :?: :?: :roll: Three of us at the same place at the same time in Europe (unless it's planned).

I have to get reading to go skiing in the rain tonight. Fun Fun Fun :?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
As we know the problem with today?s eastern ski centres is as mentioned high speed chairlifts over groomed boulevard runs causing all types of skiers /boarders with limited skills flying down the mountain. On crowded days stay off the cruisers as the majority of boarders /skiers are intermediates that can?t handle the ungroomed terrain. It is far safer in the trees and on ungroomed terrain that out on the groomers with the yahoo?s. Now if only we could get some snow to open up the trails!
 

billski

New member
It would be interesting to get a statistics-wonk to crunch some numbers here.
1. What is the accident rate by day of week? Time of Day? Holiday/not?
2. Accident rate by type of trail.
3. Accident rate by nr. of tickets sold.
4. Accident rate by weather and snow surface conditions.
5. Accident rate (hitter/hittee) by sex.
6. Accident rate by days of skier experience.

I suspect these numbers are already known by resorts, but would be entirely reticent about releasing them. Understandable, but unfortunate. If we knew these things, we might chose our ski and lesson times differently. [I'm the fellow whose wife was in a private lesson and hit from an uphill unguided missle/skier, sending her to the hospital for a concussion.]

I have been taking my 8-year old to minor-league ski areas and hills as she learns to BOTH board and ski. It is quite clear that at the smaller, feeder mountains, everything is lower: lower stress, lower challenge, lower rates, lower anxiety, lower probability of accident and injury. If you're a never-ever, I would even offer that these are the best places to learn. With all the PSIA qualifications, I have found the quality of instruction for beginners to be similar at both feeder and destination resorts.

Now, for my expensive suggestion, for "destination-resorts": Create entirely separate learning areas, all the way up to a level 5. You'll really cut down on the stress level. Have guides who are really watching the skiers, stopping them and making suggestions for where and how they should be skiing (not a lesson on technique). Certainly the beginners would appreciate that.

I'll acknowledge the Bode-wannabes, no question. But balance that against the person who simply gets onto a trail beyond their ability, with no easy out. While it's well-known to the experienced skier that the green/blue/black rating system only portrays a relative sense of difficulty, the beginner might not know that. For example, the skier who learns at Nashoba, Mass. (vert. 250' approx) and has mastered the "blues". Now s/he gets to Stowe and finds the blues way over his/her head and faces a 3/4 mile journey on terrain s/he would rather not be on. Somehow the industry needs to do a better job of communicating this variation.

I'd bet that person doesn't go back on that same trail again.

I've been doing a lot of trail map comparison as of late to try and determine the appropriate resort for specific lower-skill skiers. It's quite an education. It is extremely difficult, even from trail maps for an anxiety-prone beginner to be able to scope out appropriate routes.

Dicey issues for sure. Balance the all-American need for independence against ski areas desire to make money against safety has no easy answers. The fundamental problem hasn't changed at all in the past 29 years I've been skiing.

I'll agree that more uphill capacity and wider "boulevard" trails have added to the problem. Then again they did mitigate one problem - elliminating the narrow, winding trails (which I loved) where people would all congregate on a precipice, or atop an icy patch with no way around, causing its own set of problems and accidents.

I think signage has gotten better at the areas, but this could leave some room for improvement (including placement of the the big board ski maps too far away from where beginners must trudge.) Would love to see more "easier way" signs, especially "bailouts", without creating an inordinate amount of visual pollution.
bt
 

Ryan

New member
billski":2hfhgeb8 said:
It would be interesting to get a statistics-wonk to crunch some numbers here.
1. What is the accident rate by day of week? Time of Day? Holiday/not?
2. Accident rate by type of trail.
3. Accident rate by nr. of tickets sold.
4. Accident rate by weather and snow surface conditions.
5. Accident rate (hitter/hittee) by sex.
6. Accident rate by days of skier experience.

I suspect these numbers are already known by resorts, but would be entirely reticent about releasing them. Understandable, but unfortunate. If we knew these things, we might chose our ski and lesson times differently. [I'm the fellow whose wife was in a private lesson and hit from an uphill unguided missle/skier, sending her to the hospital for a concussion.]

These would be some fantastic numbers to get your hands on. In fact I think I am going to try to spend some time hunting on the internet to see what I can find. The problem is the number of incidents that go unreported. I am as guilty of that as anyone. I am a PSIA certified ski instructor at a small mountain (BTW thanks for your vote of confidence in us small mountain instructors, I think you are dead on right) and I have been hit more this season that any i can remember. Perhaps I have had some bad luch but I am up to 7 collisions this year. 7! every time from behind, most without me even knowing that they were coming before I got hit. 2 times this year it has been so bad and so blatant that I tore up their passes. I know that people pay a lot of $$$ to come ski and as an employee I am supposed to make that experience as fun as possible but these were both people that literally could have killed someone. These incidents both happened in slow skiing areas. I am 6'1" and 205lbs so I can take a fair hit but what if they had smashed into someone's kid....
I don't really know what the solution is though.

Yes there is a huge problem with people getting into areas that they have no business skiing and the non-standardization of trail markings does cause some of this problem. there are 2 other sides of this that I see though. What about people going too fast where it is not safe to because of # of beginners? What about those machisimo idots who think that just because they can sort of get down something 3/4 out of control that they belong there and they go back to do it again. People sometimes seem to intentionally put themselves and others at risk.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I suspect the answers to Bill's questions are what we expect directionally. But it would be interesting to know how MUCH higher by number of tickets sold, late in the day, hard/icy snow, 18-29 males, etc.

The way to do this is by something like the annual Kottke Survey, where the data is grouped regionally or nationally, and thus specific areas would not be singled out.

When I wrote resort reviews for Inside Tracks, I did my own trail ratings on an absolute scale, defined here: http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/resguide.htm .
There are 19 of these resort reviews at:
http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/insdtrak.htm .

The best way to evaluate trail ratings for an unknown area is to examine the length to vertical rise ratios of the lifts. 3-1 or less is likely advanced to expert, 5-1 or more is beginner to low intermediate. There is an unhelpful trend of fewer trail maps publishing this info.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Just below the top of Glacier Express chair at Blackcomb, our Extremely Canadian instructor showed us how to straightline a narrow slot between rocks with a long runout into the Horstman Glacier. The runout crossed a groomed run which he told us to check before dropping in. On the second go around I neglected to make the check and got chewed out (justifiably so) for crossing the groomer at high speed about 10 feet behind another skier.

Today Adam and I were standing on the groomed run in Burnt Stew Basin when I got flattened by an out-of-control skier. I hit the snow with my whole body so the only noticeable ache is a slightly bruised rib. In the collision a ski flew into the air and cut Adam's arm.

This was a totally wide open area and pretty dumb collision IMHO. But after yesterday I guess I have little grounds to complain.
 

Geoff

New member
Tony Crocker":2hcacqea said:
Today Adam and I were standing on the groomed run in Burnt Stew Basin when I got flattened by an out-of-control skier. I hit the snow with my whole body so the only noticeable ache is a slightly bruised rib. In the collision a ski flew into the air and cut Adam's arm.

I recall Burnt Stew as being so flat that you couldn't get up enough speed to cause much damage. 8)

My opinion as a life-long skier at Killington, known for high skier density and the worst of the convergence of agressive New Yorkers and Bostonians:

* The problem is typically excessive testerosterone in the early-teen to 20-something crowd.

* It's not a skier versus snowboarder thing. Doesn't matter whether it's straight skis in the 1970's, snowboards in the 1990's, or twin tips in 2005.

* There are just as many skiers skiing into the blind side of snowboarders as there are snowboarders ignoring their blind side.

* I tend to get hit by skiers, not snowboarders. It almost always happens on groomed steeps where I'm run down from behind. The skier tends to be about 20 and aggressively tries to blame me for some imagined slight even though I clearly had the right of way.

* I never get hit in the bumps. Good mogul skiers let you know where they're going to be if they're skiing faster than you are.

* I think grooming is what causes the problem. On a groomed slope, it's really easy to exceed your skill level. I think trail congestion actually slows people down so you rarely have the high speed collisions where people get hurt.
 

lookn4powder

New member
Geoff said:
* I tend to get hit by skiers, not snowboarders. It almost always happens on groomed steeps where I'm run down from behind.

Hmmm, "lucky you". Over the past 20 years two of three meaningful hits I experienced were with ski area snowmobiles on some urgent mission. Each vehicle came around a blind corner at high speed and hit me as I descended along a trail edge. Both times I was flipped over the driver and the driver was unseated during the collision. Both drivers had the gall to blame me. One wanted to mix it up. I suppressed the impulse to take his head off with my ski because I just felt lucky to not get my skis trapped under the runners. Trapped skis might have blown my knees.

Cheers,
Jeff
 
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