I am a Vail homeowner and an experienced skier and was leading three skiers down the mountain on Jan. 7 around 1:30 p.m., trying to provide them with the safest route down, as one of them was tired.
We came down Columbine across the flat area and down the right-hand short shelf (the left is a slow zone restricted to slow skiers mostly in classes). There is a very large banner sign for both sides of the shelf that says “No fly zone.” A young snowboarder ignored the sign and came right off that shelf in a jump and hit me full force in the back. He hit me so hard that he sliced across my skis (slicing a piece off on my right ski) and throwing me up in the air, knocking off my skis and poles and I landed hard on my back/end of my spine. A Yellow Jacket patrolman immediately skied up to me and attempted to address the situation, gathering information from the snowboarder, showing me his driver’s license for ID, inquiring if I was hurt/needed the ski patrol, even followed me on down the mountain as I eventually skied down to make sure I was still able to ski. However, the Yellow Jacket did not even take my name or information, which told me he was not going to file a formal report on the incident.
My issue is that he declined to pull the boarder’s pass (stating he also was a boarder, acting like it was kind of OK) after what the boarder did was a clear violation of the posted sign and a real danger to skiers below. If he had hit a child that hard, he might have killed the child. He said he was warning the boarder and if he did something else again, they would take further action. This is definitely not sufficient. My friend went down that run the next day and stopped to take a picture of the banner “no fly zone” and as she was doing so, another boarder took a jump off that shelf in exactly the same place. If you would take appropriate action and pull passes for such a flagrant disregard of policy and safety to other skiers, it would get around the boarding community and the violations would stop.
I have written Vail Resorts and hope that they will address this dangerous safety situation. Until they do, I warn all skiers that safety policies are not being evenly enforced on Vail Mountain.
Potomac Falls, Va.