Letter: Segregate the slopes | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Segregate the slopes

Do we mix cars and aircraft on the same tarmac? No! So why do we mix snowboarders and skiers on the same runs?

Jan. 26 was a lovely Tuesday morning. We had been in Snowmass, where we own a condo in Base Camp, for just over three weeks. Sadly my wife had to return to Australia to attend to her dying father. I had a wonderful time with my 12- and 15-year-old daughters for the following two weeks.

We decided to have one last ski, jumping on the Village Express for the ride to Sam’s Knob. On the way up, the girls suggested they’d like to ski the terrain park. Skiing down past midstation and on to Velvet Falls, a sedate blue run, my 15-year-old was at the bottom of the run next to Lynn Britt Cabin. My 12-year-old was behind me, and I was consciously focused on my edging, quietly turning as I progressed down the mountain, when suddenly out of the corner of my eye there was an orange flash — bang! I was out of my skis and slid about 50 feet, semiconscious. My daughter above me was hysterical with fright that I was dead. It took me a few minutes to compose myself and start moving again.

It seems the idiot who hit me, hit me in the kidneys. That was four weeks ago, and I can still hardly move smoothly, waking for hours at night in pain.

The character kept going at the rapid pace with which he appeared. Clearly couldn’t give a damn if the father of two who was motionless on the snow had a broken back and was permanently incapacitated or, worse, dead.

When a ski patroller arrived, I told him what had transpired, and he said he’d keep an eye out for the individual. What he didn’t tell me was that everybody getting on the lifts are filmed.

Would it be acceptable for a car driver to be looking backward every second turn they made? Of course not; it would be dangerous! Then why aren’t there areas for snowboarders to knock one another out and safe, snowboarder-free runs where families can safely ski together?

I must also point out that I have a number of good friends who are responsible snowboarders.

What if this human missile didn’t miss my daughter and careened into her? We’d most likely be taking her home in a box.

If this had happened on the road, the offender would most likely be in jail. Why is acceptable on a ski slope?

I call on Skico to take responsibility and do something about this either by installing cameras on the slopes to discourage reckless behavior or simply designating a handful of runs skier-only. I’m sure any responsible snowboarder would be happy for that to happen. Or will it take the death of a child for them to look up and act?

Andrew Darbyshire

Melbourne, Australia

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