Safety should be first |

Safety should be first

Dear Editor:Why does Monday’s lift incident come as such a surprise (“Girl falls from chairlift,” Feb. 20)? During my stay here I have been struck by the compromises made in the area of safety. Buttermilk has three chairlifts where there is no safety bar, including one specifically for beginners. These chairlifts are old and travel at irregular speeds through the loading zone. Ski school classes are often so large that the group has to be split into two with one group of children riding alone. Even with new investments, safety is not reflected in the design. How could the unloading area at the top of the new Elk Camp Gondola have been made so small, with people crashing into each other as they rush to get out?Nor are my safety concerns limited to infrastructure design. With large ski school groups, children as young as 6 and 7 are left to go downstairs on their own to use the bathroom facilities at places such as the Buttermilk base area. This means passing through an area where the general public has free access. Children are taken every year in United States, and the whole point of placing our children in ski school is that they are placed under the care of a responsible adult.Yes, Aspen is safer than most places, but that does not mean we should have a casual attitude towards our children’s welfare. All parents should be aware that child safety is not being given the highest priority in the Aspen ski area and react appropriately. Despite some wonderful teachers in the ski school, our children will not be attending group lessons in the future until the Aspen Skiing Co. puts child safety at the top of their priority list. Paul BroderSetauket, N.Y.

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