Vail Daily letter: Accountability needed
February 10, 2016
I was hit from behind at Vail today by an out-of-control skier who was going way too fast down Expresso without having the ability to slow down and/or stop. I learned to ski at the Vail ski school during my childhood and have visited this phenomenal mountain for 25 years since, and this is the first collision I've ever suffered. The guy who hit me was young, not local, and admittedly fearful and out-of-control. In my opinion, he was skiing beyond his skill level. Fortunately, I have no injuries that require medical attention, but my head is still pounding and my neck, back, and tailbone are going to be sore for a while. It will absolutely put a damper on the last three days of my trip.
I'm writing to offer perspective from a tourist who agrees that snowboarders shouldn't be scapegoated for a problem that exists for and among all, regardless of equipment of choice.
Without turning the mountain into a police state, I think riders should expect a consequence for irresponsibility. Accountability has a way of maintaining high standards, and everyone deserves it for all the right reasons — even the guy on skis who hit me. It was an accident, and I accept his apology with a forgiving spirit, but the best I can hope for is that he learned not to ride beyond his ability. I said this exact statement to the patroller who did the accident report, and he responded, "It would've been worse if he hit a tree." I'm still not sure how to take that, and it certainly didn't soothe my fear as I slowly made my way down Gitalong Road looking over my shoulder every few seconds to make sure I wasn't in anyone's way, which is very frustrating for someone like me who over the course of a decade learned to ski responsibly from the best at Vail.
With all respect to the community and the sport, I simply encourage the decision-makers to take a common sense approach to minimize the possibility of collisions and injury, and I think accountability to maintain standards should be an important aspect of the conversation.
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