Third Snowboarder Death of Season

A third young male snowboarder has died after losing control. This accident occurred at a Lake Tahoe-area resort around 1:15pm on December 7th. The victim was boarding at Sierra-at-Tahoe on the lower Snowshoe trail at a high rate of speed when he lost control. He was several feet off trail when he collided with a snow fence. He was not wearing a helmet. Ski patrol called paramedics, but the snowboarder could not be revived.

Second Skier Death in December

A second skier has died after hitting a tee while skiing at a Colorado ski resort. This accident occurred on the same day as the fatal Monarch accident. The victim was a young man from Illinois who had recently moved to Larimer County for school. He was snowboarding on a beginner’s run when he lost control and hit a tree. He was not wearing a helmet and the Larimer County coroner ruled his death accidental due to severe head trauma. With patchy snow and icy conditions on the slopes, maintaining control may be more challenging. Always ski within your ability,…

First Colorado Ski Fatality of 2017-18

The ski season has just begun, yet a death has already occurred at Monarch Ski Resort. The victim was a twenty-three year old member of the U.S. Army from Ohio. Chaffee County deputies reported that he was snowboarding on Dec. 2nd at Monarch when we lost control and crashed into a tree. This is by far the most common accident which results in death on the ski slopes. The Ohio native was wearing a helmet, but often blunt trauma to the chest is the cause of death in ski collisions with trees. After the 2015-2016 ski season, the National Ski…

California Focuses on Ski Safety

In an odd battle of dueling ski safety guides, California skiers have two resources providing safety information for the slopes. The California Ski Industry Association has released the first Mountain Safety Guide for the 2017-2018 season. The non-profit organization represents 28 ski resorts in California and Nevada under the brand Ski California, and, much like Ski Colorado, it works to promote ski industry relations with the community. The group describes the guide as educational for guests with advice on how to ski and snowboard safely. A copy of the guide can be found here. Michael Reitzell, president of the California…

Mandatory Ski Helmets

Boyne Resorts has adopted a new policy requiring all workers to wear safety helmets when working on the mountains. The new policy follows the death in March of Alexander Witt, an employee at Sugarloaf USA in Maine. Witt was not wearing a helmet while working on a steep trail at Sugarloaf, when he fell. The resort was fined $11,400 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Boyne Resorts operates nine ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada. A spokeswoman for Boyne told New Hampshire Public Radio that the new policy now applies to all its resorts, which also include Maine’s…

2017-18 Colorado Ski Season Opening

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, A-Basin, has won the first-to-open competition for this season. The resort is scheduled to open this Friday, announcing that the Black Mountain Express lift will turn at 9 a.m., giving skiers and snowboarders access to the intermediate High Noon trail. A-Basin mountain operations will continue to make snow as weather permits to open additional terrain. Loveland and A-Basin were the first mountains in Summit and Clear Creek counties to make snow this year, kicking off operations on Sept. 25. Unlike other ski areas, Loveland and A-Basin don't set opening dates, opting instead to spin lifts soon.…

Disputed Facts Result in Settlement

A 2016 ski collision involving a Snowmass Village resident and a New Mexico man volunteering as a guide for disabled veterans resulted in a federal lawsuit. The case illustrates how complicated the dynamics of a ski collision can be. The controlling rule typically is that the uphill skier has the duty to avoid the downhill skier. But skiers also have a duty to not stop or position themselves in a blind spot. In the reported fact pattern, the downhill skier with the tethered disabled vet allegedly stopped below a ridge on the trail, not visible to uphill skiers. The uphill…

Village at Wolf Creek Blocked Again

A federal court has once again blocked a land exchange key for the development of The Village at Wolf Creek. The Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, a three-decade project pursued by Texas billionaire B.J. “Red” McCombs, is seeking the construction of more than 1,700 units that could house about 8,000 people near the Wolf Creek Ski Area. This week, Judge Richard P. Matsch denied a request from lawyers representing the proposed development to reconsider a decision he issued in May. The judge found that the agency tried to circumvent its obligation by relying on a law that requires it provide access to…

Smith Ski Helmets Recalled

A good ski helmet is essential when enjoying the slopes, but even when you purchase a high-end name brand you might not be protected. Smith has voluntarily issued a recall for all 2016 and 2017 Smith Quantum ski and snowboard helmets. They were sold in in sizes S, M, L and XL in matte black/charcoal, matte white/charcoal, matte Fire (red) /charcoal, matte Klein Blue (blue), matte olive green, matte Reactor (bright green) /black and matte Thunder gray (gray) color combinations. Consumers should look for Smith Quantum printed on a label inside the helmet along with the manufacturing dates. The buckle…

Continued Conglomeration of Major Ski Resorts

A joint 7/31/17 press release from KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Co. announced the completion of the acquisition of Intrawest Resorts Holdings and Mammoth Resorts. A new company has been formed, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, which now owns 12 mountain resorts: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain in California; Steamboat Ski & Resort and Winter Park Resort in Colorado; Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Ontario; Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec; Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont; and Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia. The Crown family also owns the Aspen…