Interesting little debate here between Skip and Matt.  On the one hand, 
I agree 100% with Skip.  However, as someone who has sent their kid off 
to strange lands to ski race train, I've trusted that the coaches and 
handlers are advising them of many things, including dangers.  And if 
the coaches and handlers aren't providing appropriate regional advice, 
then I agree with Matt.

But I am sure this is not their first trip to Europe, nor their first 
off piste skiing in Europe.  At their level, I am certain they've spent 
a lot of time in Europe and I would find it hard to believe skiing off 
piste and its dangers would be new to them.  Hopefully Nate Vinton 
wasn't implying they got *wrong* advice.

I also agree it's a heartbreaking tragedy.  I've been at a few USCSA 
races since this happened.   Lots of kids with the "RIP RB and BA" and 
similar notes on their helmets (including my daughter's).  Every time 
I'd see one, I'd get choked up knowing that many of those USCSA kids had 
raced with and against Ronnie and Bryce in their USSA/FIS days - but 
those two had made it to that next level (where many of them wanted to 
get to) and now they are gone in an instant.  I can't imagine the 
anguish and pain the families are experiencing.


On Sat, Jan 10, 2015 at 10:47 PM, Matthew Kulas wrote:

  You'll be surprised, Skip, to hear that I disagree with you, if they 
were not made aware of the risk of skiing off-piste in Europe. I think 
either their coaches and/or the senior USST staff failed them. 

Yes, exactly, the Euros know about the off-piste risks, but kids who've 
grown up skiing--much of the time training/racing--I'd be pretty 
surprised if they did. And especially because they can/could ski just 
about anything phenomenally well, are teenagers (or a year past), and 
are in a foreign environment for perhaps the first time, they are 
especially susceptible to the risks. 

And yes, I think it's the responsibility of the U.S. Ski Team, who would 
be their employer, but at this level, they're paying $10ks to be on the 
Team, to make sure they understand that risk. 

Finally, it's not a damned shame about these kids, it's a heartbreaking 
tragedy. I cannot fathom the loss that the families of Ronnie Berlack & 
Bryce Astle are suffering.

--Matt K.

On Sat, Jan 10, 2015 at 10:08 PM, Skip King < 
[log in to unmask] 
<javascript:parent.wgMail.openComposeWindow([log in to unmask])> 
> wrote:
The Euros know about the off-piste       risks, and accept them. You die 
off-piste in France, for example,       and the collective response is " 
tant pis ."

One might ask what it is about the American psyche that 1) demands 
that others explain to us why what we're thinking about doing 
isn't a good idea  before we even do it, and 2) gives us license 
to blame others if our own actions produce a bad result.

Damned shame about these kids. But one ventures into avalanche 
terrain at one's own risk. And if you're an elite-level skier who 
doesn't recognize possible avalanche terrain when you see it, it 
ain't because your coaches failed you.

On 1/10/2015 9:51 PM, Michael Taub wrote:
<javascript:parent.wgMail.openComposeWindow([log in to unmask])>
yeah, my thoughts exactly.  The avi danger was considerable at the 
time.  Someone really dropped the ball.  Really sad, they were 
great kids.
On Jan 10, 2015, at 9:19 PM, Matthew Kulas < [log in to unmask] 
<javascript:parent.wgMail.openComposeWindow([log in to unmask])> > 
wrote:  <javascript:parent.wgMail.openComposeWindow([log in to unmask])>

Nate               Vinton, a ski writer that I have a lot of respect 
for,               seems to imply that the skiers were not properly made 
aware of the dangers of skiing off-piste in Europe. If 
that is indeed true, it is a damning indictment of the 
U.S. Ski Team staff and/or organization. It would mean 
gross negligence on the part of the coaches present and/or 
the staff who developed the European training program for 
development skiers, and would demand serious 
repercussions, not the least of which should include job 

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