Vail Daily column: Skiers need education
Ryan Summerlin December 12, 2013
Lawsuits have a funny way of making people bury their heads in the sand. Vail Resorts is probably not allowed to say too much regarding the lawsuit over closures on Prima Cornice.
However, this is a major issue affecting all of us today. Rope closures at a major Western resort have to be a logistical nightmare. I do not want my hometown ski patrol running closure lines all day — I would rather have them saving me if the need ever arose. Yet there seems to be a major question with tree lines being closed or open. Our first powder day of the season saw a large amount of passes pulled for skiing trees that were gray at best. These people lost their passes for a month. These are mostly locals who may or may not have known better. I do know that malicious actual rope ducking was not taking place in some of these cases.
They were then told that they should go tell all of their friends that Vail is cracking down. Tell your friends? Is this how we plan to handle this? I say “we” because I proudly work for this resort as well and have for 20-plus years.
I agree that a 45-year-old local should probably know better. If they did not know better, then where is the disconnect between getting your pass and not knowing the rules of the road? Imaging getting your driver’s license, doing 90 through a school zone, getting arrested and having the police officer tell you, “Go tell all your friends the speed limit is 25.” Of course it doesn’t work that way. As a passholder, we are given a big long waiver to sign and I’m sure it tells me all of the info I need to know.
What about the 14-year-old kid who, unfortunately, has not had the gift of life’s experiences to tell him or her something is wrong? I am a skier. I will educate my four kids to the dangers of this beautiful place we live in. Not all parents ski. I believe it is up to Vail Resorts to educate our youth to the dos and don’ts of skiing a big mountain. It may be naive of me but can we have a little education in our Eagle County schools to ensure that this doesn’t happen again? I will help coordinate in any way I can and I’m sure others would, too. The conversation need to keep going.