Vail Daily letter: Parental responsibility |

Vail Daily letter: Parental responsibility

Paul Williamson
Vail, CO, Colorado

After the Brits were castigated a couple of years ago for being poor tippers (Vail Daily, March 30, 2010, letter to the editor, “Time for auto-gratuity?” The British are coming! Prepare to auto-grat!” and subsequent responses, including one from me), my latest encounter with skiers on Vail mountain might serve to warn others, including, perhaps, Brits, of an absence of perfection in other areas.

From Chair 4, I look down to Meadows as it turns back towards Mid-Vail and see a pair of ski poles on the snow, wide apart. About 15 feet farther down, I see a pair of skis, wide apart. A farther 15 feet down, there lies the owner, face down, a mere child, perhaps not yet 10 years old. Tumbling farther down is the childÅfs helmet. Two adults approach. My chair carries on and I reflect.

So what do we make of this?

1. The straps on a ski pole serve a number of purposes, when worn correctly. Firstly, they can usually prevent inadvertent loss. Secondly, they assist in pole planting in a turn and when pushing along horizontal trails: the (European, as I was first taught) theory is that the hand goes up through the strap; the pole grip and strap together are then clasped by the hand. If the hand slips, the strap maintains a degree of control. Parents: 0/10, teach your child what ski straps are for and how they should be used.

2. Of what use is a helmet that falls off? I’ve seen detached helmets during NFL games, but this was not an incident of NFL proportions. Parents: 0/10; go directly to jail, do not pass “Go.” Your child’s life is in your hands.

3. The ski bindings released. I did not see the fall, but let’s assume the bindings were set correctly. After all, they did release. Ski rental shop: 10/10. If binding release caused the fall, ski rental shop 0/10. Parents excused from this category.

I do not wear a helmet out of personal choice. As a 54-year-old Brit with 25 years of ski vacations on Vail mountain and 30 years in total, that is my choice and mine alone.

What I find unbelievable is poor regard to the basics: Ski straps are designed to be used, not ignored. And if you wear a helmet, or mandate your child should wear one, make sure the chin strap is suitably adjusted. Parents must take responsibility.

Paul Williamson


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