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Reckless riders lose ski passes

Tim Mutrie

Three contestants in snowboard competitions at Buttermilk Sundaysaw their passes pulled for reckless riding after ignoring warningsfrom the ski patrol.”We don’t want a Breckenridge incident here at Buttermilk,” saidassistant ski patrol director Roine St. Andre, referring to thefour skiing/boarding collision-related deaths at the Coloradoski resort this winter. “We’re working to get this back to a halfwaydecent hill, where people aren’t scared to come out and ski. Weare pulling passes – we’re very serious about this.”Several boardercross and half-pipe competition contestants receivedverbal warnings after they were collared by the patrol for recklessriding, according to patroller Dick Taylor. The three boarderswho had their passes and race bibs pulled had been admonishedby patrollers at least once before to slow down, he said.Taylor said most of the trouble occurred above the “Drop Zone,”or entrance to the terrain park where the competition was beingheld. It is situated near the bottom of the mountain.”They were getting off the Summit Express, heading straight downand jumping off everything in sight and everything out of sight,”above the Drop Zone, Taylor said.Activities that warranted a warning from patrollers, includedtaking blind jumps, “going too fast right through beginner skischool classes and generally riding recklessly,” Taylor said.They also failed to observe slow-skiing areas, he said.”This used to be a beginner hill,” St. Andre said, “but when boardersare almost hitting people in the slow areas, that’s just not acceptable.”After the four deaths at Breck, I gave a pep talk [to patrollers]here about speed control, and that what’s we’re trying to do,”St. Andre added. “It’s just a matter of time until it happenshere, but if we get out there and enforce, we can avoid this stuff.We’re doing what we can out here to make this a safe mountainto recreate on.””If we host a competition on a mountain, it doesn’t mean thatthe entire mountain has become a boardercross [course],” saidRose Abello of the Skico’s communication department.”We wouldn’t tolerate a World Cup ski racer barreling down SparGulch and Little Nell,” Abello said. “We expect, and in this casedemand, that [competitors] respect the non-arena or non-venuepart of the mountain. We wouldn’t tolerate speed skiers comingdown Fanny Hill in a tuck.”The bottom line is that there are runs and areas on all fourmountains that are more conducive to skiing faster than others,”she said. “We ask that people respect slow-skiing areas.”One boarder who had his pass and bib pulled is a 26-year-old Skicoemployee, St. Andre said. She said she saw him “almost hit a payingcustomer” in a slow-skiing area. Then St. Andre learned the boarderhad already been warned.”When we pulled his bib and pass, the words that came out of hismouth – he just ranted and raved – calling [the patroller] everyname in the book,” St. Andre said.Claiming injustice, the offender then demanded to speak with themountain manager, St. Andre said. The circumstances surroundingthe man’s suspended pass are being looked into by Skico officials,she added.”These kids keep pushing us around and lying to us, saying itwasn’t them. And if they didn’t have bib numbers on, we wouldn’thave been able to prove it, but because they did, we know it wasthem,” St. Andre said.


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