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ANSI, ASTM, PRCA, ACCT & NSAA a mess of acronyms that are fighting each other, taking your industry down and wasting money.

 How much money could have been put into promoting the industry,educating the members and creating great opportunities? Millions I bet.

 The PRCA, (Professional Ropes Course Association) recently announced that they had received approval from ANSI (American National Standards Institute) for its ropes or challenge course standards. The ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) has appealed the issuance of the approval. (See ANSI/PRCA American National Standard).Wasting more time and money, in my opinion.

 In the meantime, the NSAA (National Ski Area Association) received ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) approval for their standards. See ASTM Committee Approves Standard For Aerial Adventure Courses

 I have no horses in this race; I have nothing to gain and more to lose with these comments. However, someone has to put it out there again, because the amount of money being wasted is ridiculous. So here goes…..again. (For a prior commentary about this feud see Stop Feuding, I doubt, move forward anyway; I think you can.)

 

 What’s it all mean?

First the “standards” granting organizations.

 ANSI “allows” organizations that meet its requirements to become standards granting organizations. One such organization is the ASTM. However, just because ASTM is granted the “opportunity” to create standards under the ANSI banner it does not mean that ANSI standards are better, more important or more controlling than ASTM.

 ACCT was started 19 years ago to write standards. However, in my opinion, it was more of a good buddy club and the creation of the standards did not follow any known or legally acceptable way of creating them. PRCA was started in 2003 because ACCT would not let them be the “whatever name” to do something with ropes courses or something. Honestly, I’m not 100% clear on this, and I don’t really care.

NSAA is 52 years old and has been working with ANSI and ASTM for decades. The standards for operating ski lifts are ANSI standards and the standards for the rest of the ski industry such as skis, bindings, etc., are ASTM standards. NSAA has one employee who knows more about ANSI and ASTM than I would ever want to know, and consequently, they are fast efficient and done right.

I am a member of the ASTM and on the standards committee for ropes courses, but not active and have not voted for any of the NSAAASTM, standards.

Still with me or have all the acronyms done you in.

Current Status

Right now, there are two organizations that have created standards for the ropes’ course industry, PRCA and NSAAthat follow the procedures and practice’s generally accepted in court for proof of standards by an organization. NSAA has opted to write its standards through the ASTM and the PRCA through ANSI.

ACCT is left out of the mix right now, so that organization is fighting PRCA’s ANSI standards. However, what I find comical, and indicative of the reasons for much of the wasted money in the industry, the ACCT has ignored the NSAA. (PRCA also for that matter.)

Speculation here, but don’t you think that if ACCT seriously thought only its standards were acceptable they would be appealing the NSAA’s standards created under the ASTM.

This leads me to believe that the appeal of the PRCA’s ANSI standards has nothing to do with the standards, just with the PRCA. (This is the third appeal of the PRCA’s ANSI standards; the ACCT lost the first two.)

By that I mean there is more bad blood here than in a blood bank with no power for a month.

So Legally what does that Mean?

Standards are the lowest acceptable level of doing something, which is presented in court to prove someone either met the standard or did not meet the standard of care. The standard of care is the measurement against which the jury determines whether you had a duty and then breached that duty to someone.

If you own a ropes course and someone is injured on the ropes course, the plaintiff now has several different ways to prove that you were negligent (breached the standard of care). Meaning your ropes course was not built correctly, or you operated the course incorrectly.)

First, there are the ACCT standards; however, those can easily be ignored at this point because they have not been approved by either the ANSI or the ASTM. The ACCT standards are getting better, I’ve been told, but basically, they were created in a way that creates credibility issues. That does not mean that they can’t be a way to prove you are negligent.

So now the plaintiff can argue that you failed to meet the PRCA or NSAA standards. If there is a conflict between the two, then the plaintiff has found the stick to beat more money out of you and your insurance company. (And the last thing this industry needs is a way to give more money away. (See: Payouts in Outdoor Recreation.)

Legal Advice (worth what you pay for it)

If you came to me and asked for advice about this situation this is what I recommend.

1.   Today, get a copy of the PRCA and NSAA (ANSI and ASTM) standards and make sure you meet those standards. Yes, both sets. If there is a conflict between the two, justify why you have adopted one over the other in writing now, prior to a problem.

2.   Every year have someone new come see your course. They don’t have to have some designation on their wall, unless it says architect or engineer (see below!). They should have experience to look at your course and your operation and make sure you are not making mistakes. Maybe trade off. You go to their course, and they come to your course.

a.   Don’t have them give you a report, which is just proof you are negligent.

b.   Don’t tell them why you do something, unless they ask.

c.   Listen, listen to everything they suggest, ask questions and then see what you need to do.

3.   Every couple of years have an engineer, architect, or contractor came out and look at your course. These are the people who know how courses should be built and have the education and experience to make sure it was built correctly and is still holding together.

a.   Someone with 12 years in the industry may be able to tell you the testing strength of a bolt and whether the bolt and whatever it is attached to are working still. However, that knowledge is defeated with a degree from a college that says engineer or architect.

Pay attention, (If nothing else for the laughs.) and make sure you know what is going on because you as a ropes course owner or manager are the person that is going to take the beatings and suffer the most when the organizations created to support you spend your money fighting each other.

Good luck.

If nothing else I should get a plug for explaining all the acronyms in the industry!

For more articles on Ropes Courses see:

 $400,000 challenge course settlement for shattered ankle     http://rec-law.us/1lk77Q7

 Architects, Engineers and Recreation, we need the first two, to be successful in the second     http://rec-law.us/1gOSNeT

 Assumption of the risk is used to defeat a claim for injuries on a ropes course       http://rec-law.us/SDZlBt

 Based on the article yes there was going to be a lawsuit         http://rec-law.us/16JD0p3

 Plaintiff raised argument in work/team building situation that they were forced to sign release  http://rec-law.us/XiKRug

 Plaintiff uses standards of ACCT to cost defendant $4.7 million       http://rec-law.us/11UdbEn

 Sad, Arizona school insurance no longer covering ropes courses.               http://rec-law.us/1m5AhAN

 The standard of care for a ropes or challenge course changes based on who is running it and who is using it (30)                                                                                       http://rec-law.us/L2tupe

 When did journalism turn from telling a good factual story to trying to place blame for an accident?            http://rec-law.us/1cNrxMv

 What do you think? Leave a comment.

 If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn

 Copyright 2014 Recreation Law (720) 334-8529

 

 

 

 

Call or Email me if you need legal services around these issues.

 Email: Rec-law@recreation-law.com

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

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 #AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom, #Recreation-Law.com, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer, PRCA, ANSI, ACCT, ASTM, ACCT, NSAA, Ropes Course, Challenge Course, Standards, Industry Standards, Trade Association, Professional Ropes Course Association, American National Standards Institute, Association for Challenge Course Technology, National Ski Area Association, American Society of Testing and Materials,

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2013-2014 In bound ski/board fatalities

It is depressing to start working on this every year. I hope it at some point in time can provide answers rather than news.

This list is not guaranteed to be accurate. The information is found from web searches and news dispatches. Those references are part of the chart. If you have a source for information on any fatality please leave a comment or contact me. Thank you.

If this information is incorrect or incomplete please let me know.  This is up to date as of January 13, 2014. Thanks.

Skiing and Snowboarding are still safer than being in your kitchen or bathroom. This information is not to scare you away from skiing but to help you understand the risks.

Are non-skiing/boarding fatalities that occurred inbounds on the slopes

Fatality while sledding at the Resort is in Green

2013 – 2014 Ski Season Fatalities

#

Date

State

Resort

Where

Trail Difficulty

How

Cause

Ski/ Board

Age

Sex

Home town

Helmet

Reference

 

 

1

12/11

CO

Telluride

Pick’N Gad

 

Left the ski run, struck a tree and suffered fatal injuries

 

 

60

M

Norwood, CO

No

http://rec-law.us/190al75

http://rec-law.us/1fchteM

 

2

12/12

VT

Killington

Great Northern Trail

 

Found

 

 

21

F

PA

No

http://rec-law.us/1csgWCg

 

 

3

12/16

WA

Crystal Mountain Resort

Tinkerbell

Beginner

Lost control and veered off the trail

Blunt Force Trauma

 

 

F

 

Yes

http://rec-law.us/Jc4MX3

 

 

4

1/1/14

WV

 

 

 

skiing into a tree

 

 

 

M

Opp, AL

 

http://rec-law.us/1a6nAkQ

 

 

5

12/21

CA

Heavenly Resort

 

 

colliding with a snowboarder and being knocked into a tree

 

 

56

F

NV

No

http://rec-law.us/JRiP4c

http://rec-law.us/1a7REMW

 

6

12/19

CO

Winter Park

Butch’s Breezeway

Beginner

 

blunt force injury to the head

 

19

M

 

Yes

http://rec-law.us/1f3ekSy

 

 

7

1/11

CO

Aspen

Bellisimo

Inter

hitting a tree

 

Ski

56

M

CO

Yes

http://rec-law.us/1hNbHoz

http://rec-law.us/JTr7sY

 

8

1/11

MT

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Gray Wolf and Bigho

 

Found in a tree well

 

Ski

54

M

CA

 

http://rec-law.us/1kx1deP

 

 

9

1/11

VT

Stratton Mountain Resort

Lower Tamarac

 

Sledding

 

Sledding

45

M

NJ

No

http://rec-law.us/19x4mXb

http://rec-law.us/1aRlxS5

 

10

1/14

NV

Mount Charleston

 

Terrain Park

Fall in terrain park

blunt-force trauma

Boarder

20

M

NV

No

http://rec-law.us/1dsDW8B

http://rec-law.us/1dyT1Hc

 

11

1/17

VT

Kilington

Mouse Trap Trail

 

striking a tree

 

Boarder

23

M

NY

 

http://rec-law.us/1dFfY9j

http://rec-law.us/1dKUf0v

 

12

1/25

NM

Ski Apache

 

Inter

struck a tree

 

Skier

23

F

TX

 

http://rec-law.us/1n3PCCM

http://rec-law.us/M5qA85

 

13

1/25

WA

Ski Bluewood

Country Road run

Beginner

Found at top of trail

 

Skier

14

M

WA

 No

http://rec-law.us/1eaGBUM

 http://rec-law.us/1b4oewr

 

Our condolences go to the families of the deceased. Our thoughts extend to the families and staff at the areas who have to deal with these tragedies.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright 2013 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

blog@rec-law.us

Twitter: RecreationLaw

Facebook: Rec.Law.Now

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law

Blog:www.recreation-law.com

Mobile Site: http://m.recreation-law.com

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FIS Rules for skiing come with commentary to help interpret the rules

Piste means ski slope.

Have you ever heard of FISFederation Internationale de Ski or International Ski Federation? You probably have if you have watched any international, Olympic or World cup ski competition. FIS is the association that controls those events.

FIS is also an international ski body that does more than races. In most countries of Europe and others, FIS is the ski association.

FIS has created a set of rules for skiing similar, and in my opinion, better than the US your responsibility code.

The Ten FIS Rules can be found here.

FIS developed Ten Rules for Skiing:

1.                Respect for others A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.

2.                Control of speed and skiing or snowboarding A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding to his personal ability and to the prevailing conditions of terrain, snow and weather as well as to the density of traffic.

3.                Choice of route A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead.

4.                Overtaking a skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder above or below and to the right or to the left provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.

5.                Entering, starting and moving upwards a skier or snowboarder entering a marked run, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes must look up and down the slopes that he can do so without endangering himself or others.

6.                Stopping on the piste unless absolutely necessary, a skier or snowboarder must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move clear of the piste as soon as possible.

7.                Climbing and descending on foot a skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.

8.                Respect for signs and markings

A skier or snowboarder must respect all signs and markings.

9.                Assistance

At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.

10.              Identification Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.

Why do I like the FIS Ten Rules. For two major reasons, it proves that Your Responsibility Code is not THE world wide rules and because the rules make more sense.

People are constantly trying to put value on specific parts of Your Responsibility Code. Trying to prove that one part is more important than another. The FIS rules eliminate that priority argument because it is written in a better way, less on burden, more on working to improve skiing. The Ten FIS Rules are also broader, not just short sentences to be memorized.

The Rules also come with commentary to help further explain what they are supposed to impart.

General Comments on the FIS Rules

(Wording 2002)

Skiing and Snowboarding like all sports entail risks.

The FIS Rules must be considered an ideal pattern of conduct for a responsible and careful skier or snowboarder and their purpose is to avoid accidents on the piste.

The FIS Rules apply to all skiers and snowboarders. The skier or snowboarder is obliged to be familiar with and to respect them.

If he fails to do so, his behavior could expose him to civil and criminal liability in the event of an accident.

Rule 1 Skiers and snowboarders are responsible not only for their own behavior but also for their defective equipment. This also applies to those using newly developed equipment.

Rule 2 Collisions usually happen because skiers or snowboarders are moving too fast, out of control or have failed to see others. A skier or snowboarder must be able to stop, turn and move within the ambit of his own vision.

In crowded areas or in places where visibility is reduced, skiers and snowboarders must move slowly especially at the edge of a steep slope, at the bottom of a piste and within areas surrounding ski lifts.

Rule 3 Skiing and snowboarding are free activity sports, where everyone may move where and as they please, provided that they abide by these rules and adapt their skiing and snowboarding to their personal ability and to the prevailing conditions on the mountain.

The skier or snowboarder in front has priority. The skier or snowboarder moving behind another in the same direction must keep sufficient distance between himself and the other skier or snowboarder so as to leave the preceding skier or snowboarder enough space to make all his movements freely.

Rule 4 A skier or snowboarder who overtakes another is wholly responsible for completing that maneuver in such a way to cause no difficulty to the skier or snowboarder being overtaken. This responsibility rests with him until the overtaking maneuver has been completed. This rule applies even when overtaking a stationary skier or snowboarder.

Rule 5 Experience proves that joining a piste or starting again after stopping are the sources of accidents. It is absolutely essential that a skier or snowboarder finding himself in this situation enters the piste safely and without causing an obstruction or danger to himself or others.

When he has started skiing or snowboarding properly again – even slowly – he has the benefit of rule 3 as against faster skiers and snowboarders coming from above or behind.

The development of carving skis and snowboards allows their users to carve and turn upwards on the slopes. Hence they move opposite to the general downhill traffic. They must, therefore, make sure in time that they can do so without endangering themselves and others.

Rule 6 Except on wide pistes stops must be made at the side of the piste. One must not stop in narrow places or where it is difficult to be seen from above.

Rule 7 Moving against the general direction poses unexpected obstacles for the skiers and snowboarders.

Footprints damage the piste and can cause danger to skiers and snowboarders.

Rule 8 The degree of difficulty of a piste is indicated in black, red, blue or green. A skier or snowboarder is free to choose whichever piste he wants.

The pistes are also marked with other signs showing direction or giving warnings of danger or closure. A sign closing a piste, like one denoting danger, must be strictly observed. Skiers and snowboarders should be aware that warning signs are posted in their own interests.

Rule 9 It is a cardinal principle for all sportsmen that they should render assistance following an accident independent of any legal obligation to do so. Immediate First Aid should be given, the appropriate authorities alerted and the place of the accident marked to warn other skiers and snowboarders.

FIS hopes that a hit and run offence in skiing and snowboarding will incur a criminal conviction similar to hit and run offence on the road and that equivalent penalties will be imposed by all countries where such legislation is not already in force.

Rule 10 Witnesses are of great importance in establishing a full and proper report of an accident and therefore everybody must consider that it is the duty as a responsible person to provide information as a witness.

Reports of the rescue service and of the police as well as photographs are of considerable assistance in determining civil and criminal liability.

Take a look, you might find a lot of things you like as a skier, boarder or manager of a ski area.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn

Copyright 2013 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

Email: Rec-law@recreation-law.com

Google+: +Recreation

Twitter: RecreationLaw

Facebook: Rec.Law.Now

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law

Blog: www.recreation-law.com

Mobile Site: http://m.recreation-law.com

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

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Have you seen or heard of these in the US?

10 FIS Rules for skiing and snowboarding

Here in the US we know Your Responsibility Code (or one of the million variations.)  The FIS Rules are similar but different. FIS or International Ski Federation, Federation International de Ski is mostly own for making the rules for ski races. However, outside of the US FIS is the ski association.

1. Respect for others

A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.

2. Control of speed and skiing or snowboarding

A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding to his personal ability and to the prevailing conditions of terrain, snow and weather as well as to the density of traffic.

3. Choice of route

A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead.

4. Overtaking

A skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder above or below and to the right or to the left provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.

5. Entering, starting and moving upwards

A skier or snowboarder entering a marked run, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes must look up and down the slopes that he can do so without endangering himself or others.

6. Stopping on the piste

Unless absolutely necessary, a skier or snowboarder must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move clear of the piste as soon as possible.

7. Climbing and descending on foot

A skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.

8. Respect for signs and markings

A skier or snowboarder must respect all signs and markings.

9. Assistance

At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.

10. Identification

Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.

 

However, the rules are a lot clearer and forceful in several areas.

First, there are more FIS Rules. Ten rather than the average of seven. (Remember Your Responsibility Code is not adopted by anyone but supported by NSAA and NSP. Resorts, or anyone, can alter, add or change the code.)

Second the FIS Rules cover additional things such as stopping at accidents and ascending up hill.

Finally, the FIS Rules are more specific on several areas. The Your Responsibility Code is interpreted daily in courts about what has more significance or importance. Mostly, which is more important, where you stop, how you start or whether the overtaking skier has issues. Any collision on the slopes is a battle between these issues with the injured party arguing that no matter the uphill skier is at fault. The FIS Rules eliminate a lot of that argument.

10-fis-rules-for-conduct-1.pdf

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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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

Hockey

Softball

Little League

American Kennel Club

Lady Bass Anglers Association

Climbing Wall Association

Paintball

 

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

Me?

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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Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

blog@rec-law.us

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

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This is becoming a pain, Denver Post confusing irony and ironic.

Now the post is complaining about releases/waivers!

Here is the link to the Denver Post Ride the Rockies Waiver. See the Denver Post wants to protect itself with a waiver: http://rec-law.us/ZWjvaU

This is the link to the Denver Post Ride the Rockies volunteer manual which requires volunteers to sign a waiver: http://rec-law.us/Yl40em

Why am I giving you these? Because the second article in the Denver Post series about Colorado Ski areas complains about the Colorado Ski Industry using waivers. How the Denver Post can condemn waivers, while it uses waivers is at the least, interesting, better irony.

Why does the ski area use waivers? It saves you money. Yes, you. If you do not want to sign a waiver, you can skip buying a season pass. If you want to save money, then the money-saving needs to go both ways. The resorts need to save money also. A waiver allows them to save money by reducing the chance of litigation and the accompanying costs.

A waiver or waiver does something else for the skiers who sign them. It lets them know in advance who is going to pay their medical bills. That may seem to be at odds, but look at it from a different perspective. You can go skiing without signing a waiver rolling the dice on getting hurt and rolling the dice on suing to pay for your medical bills.  Now you know.

I want to ski 20 times and save money. Sign a waiver and save $1500.  Don’t want to sign a waiver, pay $2000+, it’s simple math.

The article says the waiver punishes Colorado residences because they have to sign a waiver. Colorado residents get to ski for $500 at Vail, et al as many times as they want.

This article, like the first article in the series, takes the law and misses it.

Operators do not have to post warning signs of maintenance equipment going to or from a grooming project….

However, the Colorado Skier Safety Act states:

33-44-108. Ski area operators – additional duties.

(1) Any motorized snow-grooming vehicle shall be equipped with a light visible at any time the vehicle is moving on or in the vicinity of a ski slope or trail.

(2) Whenever maintenance equipment is being employed to maintain or groom any ski slope or trail while such ski slope or trail is open to the public, the ski area operator shall place or cause to be placed a conspicuous notice to that effect at or near the top of that ski slope or trail. This requirement shall not apply to maintenance equipment transiting to or from a grooming project.

(3) All snowmobiles operated on the ski slopes or trails of a ski area shall be equipped with at least the following: One lighted headlamp, one lighted red tail lamp, a brake system maintained in operable condition, and a fluorescent flag at least forty square inches mounted at least six feet above the bottom of the tracks.

The article attacks season pass waivers on many grounds. However, the article forgets that waivers are an integral and necessary part of Colorado’s biggest industry: tourism and travel. You sign a waiver to go whitewater rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, ride a horse, a zip line or go on a ropes course. Waivers allow the owner of a company to offer these activities to tourists at a price that makes them want to come to Colorado. article attacks season pass waivers on many grounds. However, the article forgets that waivers are an integral and necessary part of Colorado’s biggest industry: tourism and travel. You sign a waiver to go whitewater rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, ride a horse, a zip line or go on a ropes course. Waivers allow the owner of a company to offer these activities to tourists at a price that makes them want to come to Colorado.

Why is the Denver Post attacking the business that keeps Colorado afloat?

Read the article: Colorado ski industry enjoys protection from law, waivers

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

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Misleading article from the Denver Post about CO Ski areas; but also just plain wrong

I lost a lot of respect for the Denver Post today.

This is my review of an article titled Colorado system for investigating ski accidents raises concerns in the Denver Post Sunday March 17, 2013.

First of all, let’s correct the article from a legal and factual standpoint!

When someone dies or is seriously injured on a Colorado ski slope, it is ski patrollers — not trained police officers, sheriff’s deputies or forest rangers — who document and determine what happened.

This statement is false if you believe it says no one else can investigate. The statement is misleading in that it makes you think no one else investigates major accidents.

Law Enforcement Investigates Possible Crimes.

It is patrollers that investigate on behalf of the ski area. No patroller investigates on behalf of anyone else, nor can they. They have not been licensed, trained nor are they allowed to. If someone else wants to investigate, they can use the powers given to them by contract (US Forest Service) or jurisdiction (Sheriff) and investigate.

Ski Patrollers don’t determine who is at fault; they try to determine what happened. That is all they are trained to do and that is all you want them to do. Volunteers and poorly-paid hard-working men and women are ski patrollers. The have been trained to get injured people off the mountain as best they can.

Any law enforcement agency with jurisdiction could investigate if they wanted to. They do not need permission; they just access the land and go investigate.

The reason why most law enforcement agencies do not investigate was set out in the article, just not recognized as the answer to their own question the article asked.

Many times, those agencies — responsible for investigating potential criminal activity, not skiing accidents — aren’t called at all.

Unless there has been a crime, law enforcement has no duty to investigate. If they investigated every crash, they would still be working on my mountain-bike crashes from last summer on US Forest Service and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Information

As a result, family members may have to accept the word of a resort employee about the circumstances that led to their relative’s death or serious injury — and typically; they need a subpoena to get even that, attorneys say.

Getting information from the resorts is difficult. Normally, the resort requires that you prove a legal need; you must be a relative or the injured person. Resorts have reasons for this. You do not want this information to go to anyone but the family because of privacy issues.

What if your relative died or was hurt at a resort? Would you be interested in having any of the following in the public domain?

·         The injured skier smelled like alcohol. His blood-alcohol level was 2.8.

·         The witness, girlfriend of the injured said…… (Spouse was home with the kids.)

·         The injured commented that’s the last time he calls in sick to work and goes skiing.

I’ve read reports with 2 of the above on the reports, and I’ve heard about the third. Is that information you want to be public about someone you love?

What about hearing about the fatality of a family member from the authorities before you read about it online? This article ignores those issues, but ski resorts try to respect the wishes of family members.

Is your need to know greater than their right to a little kindness and privacy?

What information can you get from AT&T, Exxon, or GE about their latest accidents? Unless a business is required to report certain kinds of accidents, No Business gives out its accident reports.

If you ask an attorney to get you a report, the ski area is going to respond as if the ski area is going to be sued. Consequently, when facing a lawsuit, you shut the doors. If you want a copy of the report from your or a close family member’s accident, send a letter. You won’t get names or contact information of the patrollers. It is not their job to deal with you.

Of the state’s 25 ski areas, only one — Wolf Creek Ski Area — would discuss ski-patrol training and accident investigations.

Most resorts, nationwide follow the procedures of the National Ski Patrol (NSP). Every resort differs from other ski areas, but in general, you can research how something is investigated by reviewing the NSP website and several other websites. How do you know how law enforcement investigates accidents?

The other 24 resorts either refused to answer questions regarding ski patrol or did not respond to repeated calls and e-mails from The Post.

If someone from the press, including me, is calling to ask questions, you get a little nervous. You should be nervous when I call, and I get nervous when the press calls.

While working at a resort, I received a phone call from a member of the press who said they were writing a follow-up article to one I had written for a magazine several years before. That person lied to me. They were writing an article about ski resorts and quoted me as an employee of the resort. Lesson learned.

Police jurisdiction rare

That is a very misleading heading, sorry, this is a lie. Not rare, it exists at every resort. It is just not exercised. The sole power to exercise the jurisdiction is the law enforcement agency or the district attorney. Just because they do not, does not mean jurisdiction does not exist. There is no place in the US where at least one law enforcement agency has jurisdiction. The hard thing is finding places in the US were only one law enforcement agency has jurisdiction.

The nice thing about the above heading is just the start of an entire misleading paragraph.

Jennifer Rudolph, spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade group representing all of the ski areas except the four owned by Vail Resorts, said in an e-mail….

Colorado Ski County USA is a marketing group. Its job and why it is paid by the Colorado Ski resorts is to get skiers to ski in Colorado. If you don’t believe me, go to the website and read why it exists: http://rec-law.us/ZoYVRs

Only a few local police departments have any jurisdiction over ski areas, and sheriff’s offices in Summit, San Miguel, Pitkin, Garfield, Routt and Eagle counties said their role is primarily to determine whether an incident involves a crime — such as theft, public intoxication or disruption — or a collision between slope users.

See the above statement about jurisdiction. The statement in the article is absolutely wrong and very misleading. It implies that the ski resorts operate without any law enforcement agency watching what they do. That is not true. If you could find a place where no law enforcement had jurisdiction in the US it would be crowded, full of pot plants and a lot of illegal guns. There would also be hundreds of cops waiting for someone to leave.

Summit County sheriff’s deputies don’t “respond to the majority of skier accidents. If it’s a death, the coroner would respond,” said spokeswoman Tracy LeClair. “Ski patrol usually handles the majority of noncriminalaccidents.”

Let’s look at this article this way.  Who investigates accidents in your house? At least at ski areas, someone does. If there is a fatality at your house, then the same person investigates the fatality in your house as at the slopes: A coroner, unless the accident or fatality is a criminal act.

A coroner’s job is to declare people dead (C.R.S. § 30-10-601) and to determine the cause of death if it is not known or suspicious or from specific causes. (C.R.S. § 30-10-606)

“Ski patrol is there before us. Sometimes, the injured person has been evacuated before we arrive,” he said. “We have to rely on ski patrol and their analysis quite often.”

Thank Heavens! Seriously do you want to wait on the slope with a broken leg or a torn ligament until law enforcement drives from the sheriff’s office puts on skis or unloads a snow machine and comes up the slopes to you?

That is why we have the ski patrol; to get injured people to medical care. Can you see the lawsuit if this occurred? “Sorry mam, I can’t move you with that broken leg until the sheriff investigates.”

If you fall down in your house, do you call the police or the ambulance? If you fall down on the ski slopes do you call the sheriff or the ski patrol?

Sometimes, ski areas don’t give law enforcement information needed for an investigation. In 2004, a Colorado State Patrol sergeant was called to Vail to look into a fatal collision between a 13-year-old skier and an employee-driven snowmobile. He had never investigated a ski injury or fatality.

Sgt. S.J. Olmstead was assigned to the case because county law enforcement “didn’t want to deal with it,” he said in a 2006 deposition. “So somebody had to go take care of it.”

First: The story itself says there have been 47 deaths within five years (from my count of the red dots on the map.) How many police officers would have experience in investigating fatalities that occur on ski resorts?

Second: Vail is the largest employer in Eagle County. Probably, the Eagle County Sheriff’s department saw the fatality the article speaks to as a conflict of interest. Maybe the sheriff’s department knew the snowmobile driver’ or the snowmobile driver’s family. Or members of the sheriff’s department witnessed the accident. There could be dozens of things that triggered a conflict of interest issue in the mind of the Eagle county Sheriff’s department.

And thank heavens it did. Would you buy 100% any report when the Eagle County Sheriff’s department investigates a crime in the ski area of the county’s largest employer who had obvious conflicts of interest?

If you want ski accidents investigated by trained personnel, then contact your representative and have them create a law that says the sheriff’s office shall investigate all ski accidents. (Have fun paying for that one also.)

Third: If you have ever watched TV and watched a cop show, when an arrest is made the bad guy is given their Miranda Warnings, their legal rights. They have the right to remain silent. Vail, could have been held liable for the death, criminally; consequently, during a criminal investigation, the possible criminal should keep their mouth shut!

Ski areas consider ski-patrol and employee reports to be proprietary information. Therefore, victims or their families or law enforcement agencies cannot obtain them without the resorts’ permission — or a court order.

That information is not considered proprietary information, that information is proprietary information. My notes are proprietary information. The recipe you wrote down on a 3 x 5 card is proprietary or confidential information. Work you produce for work is proprietary information.

And again, do you really want your great Aunt Sally learning that her niece died in a ski accident because she was drunk?

I won’t give up my documents to anyone.

What about the rights of the deceased or the deceased family. Information in that report could be embarrassing. Deceased had a blood alcohol level of XX.X. Deceased was skiing with his girlfriend, while his wife was working. Deceased was supposed to be at work. Do you want that information floating around to members of the media or just nosey people?

The press has this idea that they should be entitled to anything they want to report a story. They don’t. There are laws that say what the media, the police and/or any other group can get from a private party or a business.

Then the article starts to complain because the ski patrol investigates an accident, and the cops don’t. The cops plead that they have a hard time getting reports from the ski patrol.

Have you tried getting a police report about an accident from a law enforcement agency? If the police want a report, they should go do it. It takes them a while to get to the far ends of the county, and it takes them a while to hike into the back country or get up the hill at a ski resort. It is a fact of life of a state with lots of wilderness and open space.

Despite the power that ski patrols have,…

What power? The power of the ski patrol is solely the power to transport an injured person down the hill and yank lift tickets of reckless skiers. They are not vested with power or given power by anyone to do anything.

The ski patrol does not have the power to detain someone who is involved in a skier v. skier collision, let alone any other power.

Accident Investigations?

This big issue with accident investigations is confusing. I’ve never had anyone investigate my mountain-bike crashes on US Forest Service land. I’ve never had someone investigate my back-country ski injuries. I’ve never had someone investigate my injuries from rock climbing. Yet there seems to be a big push in the article that 1) accident investigations are not being done and 2) if they are being done they are not being done right.

Automobile accidents are investigated because state statutes require law enforcement to investigate accidents, the damage done and the accidents occur on state land.

Automobile accidents have skid marks, car crumple zones, little black boxes, and tests that show when you hit a guard rail this way at this speed it looks like this. It snows; the wind blows and ski tracks look like every other ski track and are usually wiped out by snowboard tracks. Unless you hit a tree AND leave a mark on the tree or your body it is difficult to determine what happens.

One time in the past, I reviewed an investigation, and then did my own investigation into an accident. I talked to the injured skier and his spouse about what happened. The injured skier did not remember, and we never did figure out how the skier got hurt.

If there is a statute for someone, law enforcement to investigate accidents, then I’m sure their investigations will be better and professionally done. Right now, Ski Patrol accident investigations are done to help the ski area protect itself. The ski patrol is not tasked with any other duty by anyone.

A ski patroller’s job is to determine facts, not guess at what happened.

There is no law, no duty, and no requirement that any accident be investigated.

Accident Investigation Training

The article hits the accident investigation hard by comparing the training to that of National Park Rangers. Rangers are the law enforcement arm of the National Park Service. The job of a Ranger is basically to write tickets and arrest people for major crimes. They are law enforcement. There are statutes and regulations that empower them, command them and require them to investigation accidents and make arrests.

The article also tackles the contractual relationship between the US Forest Service and Vail, quoting from the contract. I would like to see the Denver Post contract with its writers and suppliers. I suspect that if you slam the Denver Post in an article, your career at the post is short lived.

The Bad

The ski industry is paranoid. I’ve been saying it for years. Too paranoid. However, I understand how that paranoia develops. When articles like misstate the facts and make things up, it would make you paranoid also.

As much as ski areas are paranoid the attorneys representing ski areas and the companies insuring ski areas are even more paranoid. They believe it is better not to say anything.

After this article, I understand why.

The Really Bad

The really bad is how misleading this article is. It is a veiled attempt to accomplish some goals, which are unknown at this time.

This article wasted a lot of paper and electrons attempting to make ski areas in Colorado look bad. Ski Areas in Colorado are the finest in the US. Ski Areas in Colorado are no different from any other business. The business has a duty to make a profit, and protect itself from bad publicity and lawsuits. Nothing in this article proved ski resorts did anything wrong or that any other corporation in the US does.

Read the article, the scary part is people out there believe the writer knows what they are talking about.

Disclaimer

No one paid me to write this, no one told me how to write this, no one asked me to write this. However we all have to learn that when we see or smell crap we should clean it up.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

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

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