What to do?

Place: Snowbasin Resort, Utah
Time: 3 pm, Dec. 16

Busy tearing up the powder at Snowbasin, we had ascended aboard the
Strawberry Express gondola for the umpteenth time that day without
company. The flat light was dimming as we disembarked, strapping into
our boards on the narrow Elk Ridge traverse. We noted a group of 5
skiers and one lone boarder just below. The skiers took off, leaving us
and the boarder. We looked longingly at the tons of fresh pow to our
right, beyond the clearly marked red OB ropes.

We headed down, in-bounds, quickly catching up to the sideslipping
boarder on the relatively low-angled traverse. He was having his
problems, perhaps the flat light affected his judgment. We said hello -
he responded that he would follow us down as his group of skiers, who
had brought him to the top and promised to stay with him, had ditched
him. Knowing we had little time left to our one day at Snowbasin and
that the Strawberry gondi would close at 3:30, we too headed down. It
was obvious that this fellow was in over his head. He could not keep
pace with us. I suggested that he relax and take it slowly.

We did not catch up to the group of skiers to alert them to the
boarder's plight, nor did we see any patrol members on our descent. We
rode the gondola back up, surprised not to see the sideslipper below. We
also did not see him on our final descent of the day as we made our way
along the gnarly traverse back to the base area.

The question then is: what should we skivt-l skiers and boarders do in a
situation where we observe other snow sliders in over their heads on
terrain that they appear not to be able to handle? In this case, it
seemed that a download on the gondola may have been indicated.
Unfortunately at Snowbasin, this particular lift did not even return to
the base area. Also, we were well below the gondi station by the time we
realized this guy was on terrain he probably could not handle.


PS Full report will follow on Brighton, Solitude, Snow Basin, and The

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