Out of bounds skiers/boarders

Out of bounds skiers/boarders

Jack
Jack

January 25th, 2011, 3:02 pm #1

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. -- Most people play by the rules out here, skiing and snowboarding within marked areas.

But at nearly every ski resort, such as Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass, there's a fringe group that likes to push the envelope, intentionally targeting places they shouldn't be even though off-limit sections are carefully marked and mapped out.

But a looming crackdown on out-of-bounds skiers could mean big fines if state lawmakers give the plan the go ahead.

"We'll have guests that actually leave the ski resort through a closed boundary, and then we have to send out personnel to look for them," says ski patrol Director Rob Gisbon. "Often times that results in search and rescue coming up and looking for them.

Hitting out-of-bounds areas is a temptation that's too great to pass up for some skiers and snowboarders. Often those places have lots of fresh, untouched snow, new terrain and big thrills.

"Adventure," is the response Adam John gives when asked if he's ever ventured beyond the boundary ropes. "Go somewhere where nobody else has gone."

He's not alone. Quite a few people believe they should be able to go wherever they want to.

"I think people do have the right to be out of bounds," says Barney Lund of Covington. "But I think they should also be prepared when they do it, and they should be smart about it.

But things may be about to change for those who want to push the limits on the slopes.

Under a measure being considered this week by state lawmakers, members of the ski patrol who witness out-of-bounds skiers can collect evidence and turn in a report to law enforcement, who could then issue a citation for up to $1,000.

"It brings us more in line with other states in the country," Gisbon said of the proposed legislation. "It's kind of the way society is. Unless there's a penalty or something imposed, people take things less seriously.

The ski resorts say even if some on the slopes don't worry so much about safety, the operators do, because one move in the wrong place can mean disaster.

The state Senate's Natural Resources Committee will take testimony on the out-of-bounds bill Monday afternoon.
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Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman

January 25th, 2011, 4:54 pm #2

Rob Gisbon has this one backwards. First making the patrollers 'spies', cops, or some sort of watchdogs is not what they train for, and I'm sure not a job they want to take on. Second, a fine, really?, why not approach this in a very different way. We have a free society (supposedly) and we should be able to venture out onto public (our) land whenever and wherever we want. The individual assumes responsibility for his/her actions and fully accepts the outcome of these actions. However if you need search and rescue the individual pays the full cost. Get lost in the fog in Gold Creek Valley, you pay. Go over the ridge at Alpental, you pay. This would certainly exceed any $1,000 fine and possibly be a bigger deterrent. If this plan goes through I see more conflict between patrollers and those inclined to enjoy the backcountry.
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Joined: February 13th, 2005, 12:01 am

January 25th, 2011, 5:30 pm #3

The legislation only applies to runs within the ski area permit boundary it has nothing to do with skiing outside the resort.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepoliti ... 236805.asp
Last edited by snoqpass on January 25th, 2011, 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman

January 25th, 2011, 8:33 pm #4

You are correct. The legislation does refer to closed runs within ski area boundaries, but Mr. Gisbon clearly refers to pursuing skiers crossing over and going outside ski area boundaries. If for instance a Hyak skier decided to ski down the new East Peak run and then turn right into the area known as Milwaukie Bowl they are skiing outside of the permitted ski area boundary, at least according to the trail map. So you are skiing on public land, not ski area land. Can you be pursued and fined? According to Mr. Gisbon he will do exactly that. There needs to be more clarity on this issue. Will it now be illegal to access the back country by crossing a ski area boundary marked closed? My understanding is that access rights through the ski area is part of the agreement between the ski area and the forest service.

The legislation also proposes giving members of the national ski patrol the authority to conduct an investigation, interview witnesses, and call in the sheriff to issue citations. I read this as giving the volunteers and paid patrollers, limited police powers. Something I am positive they do not want.

I see this as a gradual restriction and erosion of our rights as skiers to access public land by big corporations who are only concerned with the profit margin. Read the legislation, theres more to it than out of bounds skiing, and see if it makes you feel like its written for the skiing public or the ski area operators.
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Patroller
Patroller

January 26th, 2011, 12:50 am #5

Oooh, do I get a badge and a gun?

Really you are right, we are way more medics than cops or investigators. While I agree with the rule to not cross a rope line or closed gate, the most we're likely to do is to pull your pass or scare you with an exagerated avi risk. Or use you as an excuse to bust some sweet pow chasing your irresponsible ***.
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Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman

January 26th, 2011, 1:44 am #6

Patroller, I'm surprised you think that your reponsibilities include chasing me in the back country and trying to pull my pass for skiing on public land. What arrogance. You need to peddle your bandages and coco coupons to those inside the ski area boundaries and leave others alone. From what I have seen lately most of you red coats would have a pretty tough time even getting under the ropes let alone skiing beyond them. If I get hurt out of bounds charge me for the rescue, I accept the consequences of my actions, but don't legislate away my freedom. And worse yet is a patroller who thinks that the ski area corporations are going to stand behind you when you decide to confront backcountry skiers doing what they have a right to do.
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JustSomeGuy
JustSomeGuy

January 26th, 2011, 2:17 am #7

No offense Scotsman, but I think you maybe read Patroller's statement wrong. It seems to me that Patroller was basically agreeing with the points you made. Also, I think the law is directed at folks ducking in area closures. Non-ski area controlled public land is ours to access no matter what the area or the ski patrol thinks. Or maybe I am wrong.

If anyone is going to pull your pass it will be the pro staff and not the volunteers. After needing a sled ride down a couple of years ago, I appreciate the volunteer staff giving their time. Maybe you have a different view, but I don't think it is cool to go off on the volunteers.



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MK
MK

January 26th, 2011, 2:46 am #8

Patroller, I'm surprised you think that your reponsibilities include chasing me in the back country and trying to pull my pass for skiing on public land. What arrogance. You need to peddle your bandages and coco coupons to those inside the ski area boundaries and leave others alone. From what I have seen lately most of you red coats would have a pretty tough time even getting under the ropes let alone skiing beyond them. If I get hurt out of bounds charge me for the rescue, I accept the consequences of my actions, but don't legislate away my freedom. And worse yet is a patroller who thinks that the ski area corporations are going to stand behind you when you decide to confront backcountry skiers doing what they have a right to do.
Easy there flying scotsman.
I find it interesting given the tone of your post that you point to patroller and cry arrogance.
In the first place you are reading too much into patrollers response and your jibes are unnecessary.
Second, this proposed bill does not effect your access to the backcountry, only access to areas that have been closed off within ski area boundary.
Depending on which rope you duck (forever rope line at Alpental for instance), even though you think you are entering the backcountry, you are actually still within the ski areas permit boundary.
If you did get chased it would likely be a pro. Even more likely is that said pro would radio ahead and have someone waiting for you to exit the BC.
BTW, your little stereotype regarding red coats... Really?
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Patroller
Patroller

January 26th, 2011, 6:25 am #9

Patroller, I'm surprised you think that your reponsibilities include chasing me in the back country and trying to pull my pass for skiing on public land. What arrogance. You need to peddle your bandages and coco coupons to those inside the ski area boundaries and leave others alone. From what I have seen lately most of you red coats would have a pretty tough time even getting under the ropes let alone skiing beyond them. If I get hurt out of bounds charge me for the rescue, I accept the consequences of my actions, but don't legislate away my freedom. And worse yet is a patroller who thinks that the ski area corporations are going to stand behind you when you decide to confront backcountry skiers doing what they have a right to do.
Dude, you need to cut down on the red bulls. I don't carry cocoa coupons but if I did, you wouldn't get one. It's true, we don't actually pull passes, but can certainly rat you out and get you kicked if you are a safety hazard. And you know, really my only job is to keep you from dying before you get into the ambulance. And trust me, when you crack your femur over a rock, in bounds or out, you'll be damn glad for a red coat to pull traction on you. "Oops, does THIS hurt?"
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Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman

January 26th, 2011, 11:46 pm #10

Patroller and everyone else. My sincere apologies for my over the top comments. I indeed went too far.

My buttons were pushed by this legislation proposed by a volunteer patroller from Crystal. As I see it, there is a better way. No investigation, no fines, no pursuit of skiers, no confrontations. Simply, make the skiers who venture into closed areas or outside of the ski area boundary, responsible for the costs of a rescue, with a hold harmless clause for the ski area if the closed areas are clearly marked. It will certainly cost more than $1,000. And make rescue insurance available as an option for out of bounds skiers. The Euros do it and it works just fine. Keep the in bounds rescue the same as it has been for the past 60+ years. We don't need more restrictive legislation but rather laws that allow us to make a choice and live with the outcome.

Good turns to all.
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