Vail Daily letter: Why is he still skiing? |

Vail Daily letter: Why is he still skiing?

It’s heartening to know there are people like Patrick Cook out there (March 5 letter to the editor) who can take responsibility for their reckless behavior on the slopes.

It’s fortunate no one was seriously hurt by his mistake and that he now has a new respect for mountain safety.

And speaking of safety, I also really appreciate Sue White’s (March 20 letter to the editor) call for more policing of the Vail Resorts slopes.

I was mowed down by an out-of-control skier at Beaver Creek on Christmas morning while standing in a slow-skiing area in Bachelor Gulch.

The 57-year-old Avon man hit me so hard that he shattered my knee and I needed surgery to anchor a big piece of bone back into place. If I had been a small child (and there were plenty of children on that green run on Christmas morning), he could have caused a death.

The skier never apologized to me or even asked if I was OK after hitting me. There were three witnesses, including a member of the ski patrol, who all said he was skiing too fast and was out of control, but the skier alleged I was equally responsible for the crash.

I guess I shouldn’t have been standing in his path as he hurdled out-of-control down the hill – the same as someone who gets shot is partially to blame for being in the path of the bullet.

The man, who recently lost his job contract, is deep in debt and cannot cover my medical expenses, so I am left with huge bills. My wife and I filed suit against him, but our attorney says it is a lost cause because he would simply file for bankruptcy once we obtained judgment against him.

What is almost as distressing as this deadbeat’s attitude is Vail Resorts’ disregard for safety by allowing him to continue to ski on its slopes even after I informed the top officer and others at Beaver Creek that the man who hit me was unable to pay for all of the damage he caused.

I know the Colorado Skier Safety Act protects resort operators, but I would think Vail Resorts would have liability if this reckless skier should hit another person now that it’s known he has no insurance or ability to pay for the damage he causes.

Mr. Cook’s ski pass was revoked and no one was seriously injured. I don’t understand what criteria Vail Resorts uses in revoking ski privileges.

The skier who hit me actually got back on the lift after I was carted off the hill to the emergency room with injuries that I still am recovering from.

I am now able to ski for limited periods with the aid of a brace, but it is scary to think this reckless individual still is on the mountain and thinks it’s up to others to keep a watch behind them to make sure they stay out of his way.

Mr. Cook’s letter displays great character, and I hope his message is heeded by everyone who skis or boards.

Unfortunately there are people like the man who hit me who consider it a right, not a privilege, to be on the hill and to ski or board without regard for others.

So beware.

And don’t count on Vail Resorts to keep these types off its slopes.

Jeff Hall


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