What was the purpose of three days of Denver Post making things up about Colorado Ski Resorts?

The accomplishment was to put false information about ski resorts into the media stream.

The third and final installment of the Denver Post “investigation” (which in this case means reading their own newspapers and talking to a few people) into Colorado Ski Areas turned up very little.

First let’s get back to where the newspaper made things up.

The newspaper speculated that:

Not one of those who died in the past five seasons appeared to be drunk.

That would sort of indicate the newspaper had reporters there when someone died, however, we know that was not true. So that information as taken from “…autopsy reports, resort press releases and local newspaper accounts.” Newspaper accounts are from press release’s eye-witness accounts, Autopsy reports how they died, not their Blood-Alcohol Level and very few of those are available for review by members of the media. Remember my comments in earlier responses to privacy, both victims and the victims’ families. So the statement about the fatalities being drunk is basically made up.

The next speculation is:

If those who died had anything in common, it was catching an edge or losing control just long enough to crash into a tree on the side of a trail.

Granted if I were to guess how someone hit a tree, “catching and edge” is a good guess. But it is no more than that a guess.

Back to Bad Reporting

The article comes back around to the issue of state or federal oversight. Which is a bunch of hogwash. In Colorado, there is a US Forest Service employee who is tasked with watching over the ski areas that operate on US Forest Service land under a permit. Each county in the state has a health department which checks the restaurants and other health concerns just like any other business in the county. And each county has a sheriff who has the right to enter upon the ski area property which is open to the public to investigate a crime.

As far as releasing deaths and injuries to the public.

Let’s see what associations do report injuries and fatalities:


Flag Football



Little League

American Kennel Club

Lady Bass Anglers Association

Climbing Wall Association



Yet you know that people playing sports get hurt. Torn ligaments in any football game, missing teeth in hockey, torn everything and road rash in softball, injuries from getting hit by a ball in little league, dog bites, drowning, etc. etc. etc. If you play in a sport you can get hurt, and you can die.

Life is a sexually transmitted disease that is always fatal.

You can sit upon the couch and watch, or you can get out there, take on the risks and do it.

Then the article starts to weave a scary message around misstatements.

This information, however, is not separated by resort, or even by county, making it impossible for a concerned consumer to compare the safety records of ski areas  in Colorado or nationally. It also keeps consumers in the dark about what measures to take to protect themselves.

Say the resorts listed every injury and every death that occurred on it. What information in that could the consumer use to protect themselves? The article listed all the ways that people on slopes die that it could find.

…resulted from neck and skull fractures, torn aortas and suffocation after falling into tree wells, as well as inbounds avalanches and one person being impaled on a tree branch.

Neck and skull fractures occur when you hit something, hard. Torn Aortas occur when you hit something, hard. Of the four things listed, trees are the culprits that are the reason for deaths.

If you want consumer protection issues, stay away from trees. How can a journalist, let alone an editor, accuse resorts of hiding facts that could keep consumers safe then later in the same article state that trees cause people to die? You hit a tree at a high rate of speed, and you die.

So if you were comparing safety records of Colorado Ski Resorts, the safest resort would be one without any trees.

What other information could you glean from accident reports? Better, how many consumers would read them anyway.

Read the article: Colorado skiers die on groomed, blue runs after hitting trees

I’m not done though; the story has a little more.

After reading the article, along with a poll the Denver Post placed on its front page on Wednesday, March 20, I was curious. The poll asked readers to vote on whether ski areas should report deaths and injuries things got interesting.

In light of a recent Denver Post series on ski safety, should ski resorts be required to publicly report skiing and snowboarding deaths and injuries?

The articles with the poll are setting ski areas up for litigation. If deaths and injuries are reported, plaintiff’s attorneys will have the opportunity to contact injured guests. So basically the series of articles is an attempt to create more litigation for plaintiff’s attorneys.

The articles continually wanted the ski areas to do something that no other sport organization does, report injuries.

Why is that of interest?

The author of the three part article Karen E. Crummy is a graduate of University of San Francisco School of Law. Is the Denver Post attempting to use its influence, knowingly or unknowingly, to create more litigation? What is the relationship between Ms. Crummy and the plaintiff’s bar?

I could be wrong, but there seems to be a clear link; clearer than many of the stretches made in the articles.

See Karen E. Crummy — The Denver Post


I was given a head’s up about the articles from two different sources; Someone in the industry and the NSAA. I was given material to use, but I used none of it. The research I’ve done you can do on your own on the net, except for my experience from working for a resort for a couple of years more than a decade ago. In fact, other than my experience, everything in my articles can be verified online.

No one is paying me to do this (unless you want to!). I’m not getting anything from doing this, other than some personal satisfaction from trying to set the record straight.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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By Recreation Law          Rec-law@recreation-law.com   James H. Moss                  Jim Moss

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