Vail Daily letter: Where are the Yellow Jackets?
To Vail Resorts officials:
We have been full-time residents of the Vail Valley since 2000 and part-time residents since 1996. Joel’s winter passion is skiing, which is one of the main reasons that we live here full time. As we read all of the letters to the editor of the Vail Daily which are discussing the almost daily concerns about the out-of-control skiers and/or snowboarders, we can’t help but wonder, where are the Yellow Jackets that Vail Resorts had used in the past to protect our safety on the ski mountains of the Vail Valley? There appears to be a much lower number of them on the mountain than in previous years. This observation has been confirmed by several of our friends who ski 30 to 50 days a year. One hopes that the lack of Yellow Jackets is not because Vail Resorts is trying to contain expenses, for that would be short-sighted.
Joel has skied in excess of 30 days this year and has rarely seen a Yellow Jacket on either Vail, Arrowhead, Bachelor Gulch or Beaver Creek ski mountains. On Feb. 10, Lainie was coming down the bottom of Latigo/Gold Dust run on Beaver Creek when this out-of-control woman on skis who couldn’t stop side-swiped Lainie. The out-of-control skier ended up falling into the far of the ski trail to finally stop herself. There used to be Yellow Jackets farther down on this trail, and we would have reported this incident if the Yellow Jackets had been there. Clearly this woman was skiing on a ski trail which was beyond her skill level. Unfortunately, there were no Yellow Jackets anywhere in sight.
On the same run, as we approached the base of Beaver Creek Mountain right above Centennial Lift where all of the skiers come together, there were suddenly three snowboarders who had just come down from the 1876 ski run extremely fast and were doing 360-degree turns and flips around us as we skied to the chairlift. It was extremely scary and potentially very dangerous even though they were excellent boarders. Still no Yellow Jackets anywhere in sight.
By the lack of appearance or the actual reduction of the number of Yellow Jackets on the mountain thus allowing skiers/snowboarders to ski markedly faster or out of control than the average skier on a particular ski run, you are creating a much more dangerous environment for anyone on the mountain. In fact, we personally know three people who have been hit by out-of-control skiers/snowboarders in the past couple of months resulting in serious injuries and broken bones!
We think it is so important for Vail Resorts to resume placing Yellow Jackets on the ski mountains again to protect the safety of all skiers/snowboarders. We strongly recommend that you consider implementing a policy that if a skier/snowboarder is skiing out of control or dangerously to place other skiers in danger, that the Yellow Jackets, Ski Patrol, pass scanners at the lifts or Red Jackets issue a warning which gets registered on the person’s ski pass or lift ticket, If there is a second violation, then their lift ticket or ski pass gets deactivated until they present themselves to a Vail Resorts official with the complaining witness to determine the extent of the problem. It is our understanding from talking with the ticket/pass scanners that the equipment and technology currently being used to scan the passes and tickets currently has the capability of immediately deactivating an individual’s ski pass/lift ticket.
Vail Resorts needs to proudly broadcast this new policy of deactivating anyone’s ski pass/lift ticket so everyone is put on notice of the jeopardy of skiing/snowboarding too fast or out of control. We think this would be a great practice for all ski resorts to follow, and it would be great if Vail Resorts were the leader!
Please feel free to contact us if you need further clarification or would like to discuss these matters with us.
Lainie Edinburg and Joel Kaye