Vail Daily letter: Address safety issues
February 16, 2016
We cannot point a finger at a skier or snowboarder as the problem on the mountain; the real danger is the mass of uneducated people on the mountain who are oblivious on how to keep themselves safe, let alone on how to keep their dangerous behavior from injuring the rest of us.
I propose that Vail Resorts take the lead and responsibility right now to correct this devil-may-care behavior!
Vail Resorts' "Safety on the Slopes" column located on the trail maps and napkins lacks adequate exposure and is ignored by those who have little or no knowledge of the most basic mountain safety and etiquette. And, by those who just don't care.
Vail Resorts should:
• Prepare a five to 10 minute video, of all potential real-life dangerous situations, rules and etiquette, using real people to demonstrate safety in real mountain safety situations, and dub it in all of the international languages.
• Prepare a 20- to 25-question exam covering all of these safety points.
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• Triple the staff of the Yellow Jackets and enforce strict penalties. Lack of knowledge should never be an excuse anymore.
Most importantly, Vail Resorts should not sell a single pass nor lift ticket to anyone until they have watched the full online video and received a 100 percent score on the online licensing test, no matter how many times they have to take the test! This includes all of us.
This "license" must remain in the control of Vail Resorts, not the state of Colorado, because it would take years to write and agree on such a Colorado law. Enforcement would be impossible, too, at the state level. This should be a private license issued by Vail Resorts, allowing people who have been educated in the safety aspects of their sport to enjoy their sport.
So many people are on the mountain without a clue of any safety issues at all.
If these same individuals were in their automobiles, they would certainly look in all directions before bolting out or making lightning-quick blind turns, or showboating, or following too close. But far less caution is exercised when they are on the mountain, a more dangerous circumstance requiring even more awareness than being behind the wheel. Do people have to die before we correct this situation?
This is not a skier-snowboarder problem. This is a people problem and puts all of us at extreme risk.
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