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January 1999, Week 4


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Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 28 Jan 1999 20:44:28 EST
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[log in to unmask] writes:

<< WE need to be
 responsible for ourselves, not some ski patrol.  I ski plenty fast and don't
 need someone to tell me whether I am safe or not.  The same goes for GMVS
 kids.  Besides you can't race fast if you can't ski fast.

 Mike >>

I ski Sugarbush 60-90 days a year. I very frequently ski with GMVS racers and
coaches. I think it is a great program and take great pride in the success of
GMVS grads at all levels of skiing. That said, all of the GMVS skiers and
coaches that I have spoken with about this issue have recognized that there is
a problem with some of their skiers behaving recklessly during free ski time.
As is usually the case, most GMVS's are very well behaved, with just a few
creating a poor image for the rest. However, I have been hit twice in the last
5 years by out of control GMVS kids on OPEN trails while they were passing me
(I have never been accused of skiing slowly, but I have never hit anyone). By
definition, if they hit me while passing me, they were not skiing in control
(read your cocktail napkins). I have easily heard another 20 or 30 similar hit
or near miss stories. If they are going to "ski fast so they can race fast",
they need to be on closed trails. Sugarbush is very good about shutting down
Inverness every weekday for them to train. They should keep high speed runs
confined to that area (and most GMVS'ers do). When they are free skiing on
open trails, like Daniel Cardillo, the kid who killed himself, they need to
slow down to the general public's pace, or at the very least, to a speed where
they are able to safely maneuver around slower skiers. Had Dan Cardillo
followed this simple rule, he would be alive today. This is not a matter of me
being responsible for my own actions, there is a significant difference
between me skiing safely at high speed and me being hit by someone who is not
skiing safely. This is exactly why we have a ski patrol.

BTW, I spoke with a patroller at the Bush today who is familiar with the
accident. According to witnesses, the boy was wearing a helmet, he died of
internal injuries not head injuries, he was traveling at a high rate of speed
and he may have been trying to avoid a group of slower skiers when he lost
control. This is exactly the type of accident many of the patrollers I have
spoken with have been anticipating for years. Hopefully Sugarbush and GMVS
will address this issue before another child is killed.