Colorado skier safety bill fails to make it out of committee vote

Colorado skier safety bill fails to make it out of committee vote

Based on an article from the Vail Daily by Nate Peterson

I am sure many of you have either seen or heard news. I believe it is worthy of some thought. I am not advocating for what the bill proposes. However, some of the general tenants of the bill are things that should be internalized by ski resorts/areas. Sharing such information with the public does not have much value, in my opinion.

Having a safety plan is a box that should be checked. Such a plan should be reviewed annually in the context of a review of incidents of the prior year. The history of incidents should be reviewed as to where they took place on the hill, the conditions of most accidents, what type of incidents were incurred. The minds of 99% of ski patrol directors and staff in reviewing this data will undoubtedly make decisions that will enhance safety going forward. The ethos of ski patrol is safety, and the ski industry is lucky to have the men and women who serve as patrollers. There would be no compromise on safety.

I will venture into the danger zone by saying the unfortunate part of this overall discussion, lack of transparency, is necessitated by the looming threat of litigation. This threat destroys the relationship between those who care very much about safety, ski patrollers, and those who get injured. The message of don’t say a word gets passed down from lawyers, insurance providers, and upper management. Unfortunately, in our litigious society, the answer to this part of the equation is probably unanswerable.

As introduced into the Colorado Senate, my other concern with this bill is that it opens a door for taking information from the ski resorts/areas with no boundaries on who will have access to the information and how it will be used. Having people who don’t have in-depth knowledge of skiing and its risks accessing this data and making judgments, regulatory rules, and laws is very concerning. Lift accidents are an example where those without knowledge have attacked the safety of ski lifts, claiming that the ski industry is not concerned about the safety of people riding ski lifts. Generally, having data without the knowledge of what the data is about is dangerous.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the last we will hear on this topic. I am afraid that eventually, bills will be passed in states around the country; when I am not sure. Being prepared for the future with the tools to gather the data is something all ski resorts/areas need to address.