Safety and common sense at terrain park
December 31, 2002
Yesterday, while hiking the Buttermilk halfpipe, I witnessed another boy at Buttermilk get taken out of the terrain park on a stretcher and driven off in an ambulance. I decided that I had seen enough.
My question is to the Aspen Skiing Co.: Should the terrain parks that the ski company builds be open for anyone and everyone? Or should there be a way to filter out the people who are not really ready to misty flip off the 40-foot jumps in the parks?
I ride the parks and pipes in our valley daily, and have a good sense of who is using them. I see it all too often ? an ignorant ski or snowboard pro taking a large group of lower level students into an expert park with blue and black diamond features, paying no attention to etiquette or the fact that these features are designed for level 8-10 skiers and riders.
What is wrong with this picture? Well, these people still have not mastered the art of turning; yet their “pro” is taking them in “train” formation skidding and wedging through an expert terrain park with huge jumps that demand skill and awareness. RIDICULOUS!
This poses dangers to everyone involved. The ski school students are in danger as well as the other people using the features. And the Skico is condoning this idiocy.
Call me crazy, but if you don’t know how to turn very well, then you probably shouldn’t be trying to jump off tabletops (big or small) ? PERIOD.
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X games competitors will be launching off these gigantic frozen cheese wedges, yet it’s OK to take your level 3, 4 and 5 skiers and riders into a place where concentration and speed dynamics are the difference between smooth landings and hospital bills?
I think the best thing the skiing company can do is to train their ski and snowboard pros to not take lower level skiers and boarders into an area designated for upper level skill and awareness. I teach kids to catch air all the time and understand the dilemma ? kids like to jump.
There are plenty of safe places to catch air besides the park. Teach them to air off “rollers” first, and then there is the Funnel Park at Snowmass. The terrain park on the Funnel at Snowmass is the ONLY place a ski or snowboard pro should be allowed to take anyone below level 8. It has safer rollers, smaller table jumps and itty bitty rails for the newbs.
If the ski schools would all get on the same page with the etiquette and responsibilities that go along with these terrain parks, these everyday occurrences would cease and the safety level would be better for everyone involved. Get with it guys!