Mountain safety needs addressing

Dear Editor:

Another Aspen day. Another friend hit on the slopes.

Your recent article about Larry Niles, the skier seriously injured a few weeks ago by a hit-and-run, highlights the problem of out-of-control mountain fun (“Authorities investigate ski collision at Aspen Highlands,” March 6, The Aspen Times).

Everyone, Aspen Skiing Co. in particular, must assume moral responsibility for making the mountain safer. Speeding on the slopes must be stopped.

No one wants to make Skico a feast for tort lawyers via legal liability. The laws that mandate personal responsibility for ski accidents are good laws.

However, just as we do not hold the state responsible for highway accidents, we do ask the state to exercise diligence in enforcing speed limits, driving while impaired and other safety laws. Skico must embrace a similar role voluntarily and actively enforce severe deterrents to speeding on the mountain, such as permanently pulling tickets and heavily fining those out of control before they hurt someone, not after. As your article detailed, the current penalties, trivial in context, only provide an incentive to vanish, as did the guy/gal in the blue jacket, and do nothing to mitigate the problem.

All of us also must step up and order that stranger who just zoomed by at a ridiculous speed to please slow down and play with others on the mountain safely. While it might take the entire Aspen village, we can make the slopes safer and prevent a tragic accident.

Deborah Post