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Seems to be getting more dangerous on piste than off...,

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
http://lenews.ch/2017/03/20/girl-of-6-dies-in-a-ski-accident-in-switzerland/

Very sobering. How do you protect your kids on piste?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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at least 8 instructors I know have been hit this season. One broken pelvis and others helicoptered off. Usually hit from behind without seeing the out of control skier, other times taking the hit to protect clients... Pistes are definitely getting more dangerous
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Not sure you can protect kids absolutely once they leave the bunny slope. All you can do is teach them to be skilled and confident skiers with enough concentration to spare to be alert for other clowns on the slopes and to always take care to mitigate their risks.

I do think resorts and ski schools can do a lot more;resorts by actively policing the areas where blue run heroes are most a threat and actively pulling passes of the straightlining heel wobblers (need experienced and authoritative eyes to do this to judge who is totally in control and who lacks skills - not a speed test per se); Ski schools by enforcing a limit on the numbers of kids in classes - certainly I would consider 8 to be the very maximum and the reality is as soon as a class is long enough to not allow ruoom for passing then people will start to cut through gaps in the "snake". So maybe parents should start boycotting large classes and lobbying resorts for safety cops.
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What Dave said. I do worry about this, which is why I'm forever telling my children to stay aware, and pointing out examples of potential accidents or idiots (especially from the lifts) and ways they can avoid them. Or at least be aware these people exist. That's all we can do with them really.

I totally agree I would love to see more people patrolling pistes and taking away passes for dangerous behaviour. There's a world of difference between a silly mistake/unexpected terrain leading to a temporary loss of control, and trying to max out SkiTracks or deliberately ski far too close to somebody - and if I can see it, I'm sure a qualified professional could.

Totally agree about the ski school snake. There was one with at least 15 or so in going down a narrow bit of piste last week that I saw, kids wobbling everywhere. Obviously I didn't try to get past until the piste widened, but plenty of people did.
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think I'll be stopping the "off piste" side of any piste poles from now on!!
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just stop grooming the pistes, that will slow the nutters down, all it needs is a couple of inches of soft snow and they can't cope,
even making the pistes narrower and with more chicanes will help, see other enormously long and tedious thread on this topic!
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Keep in mind that it's not always the kid who's getting hit; sometimes it's the kid doing the hitting.

Last winter, I was doing some slow pivot turns on the edge of a piste when a little kid got going too fast, tried to throw in a big turn to slow down, and slammed into me from above. I saw him just a split second before he hit me and braced myself (not enough time to fall out of the way). He was pretty small, so I hardly felt a thing, but he just exploded off me. I was pretty worried that he'd hurt himself. Luckily, he was ok in the end.

I know I was just as reckless when I was that age, so the first thing I would suggest is teaching kids to ski in control. The biggest threat they face is themselves, and they can't effectively avoid other dangers without first learning to control themselves.
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I'd be pretty pissed at the parents/instructor if some little cannonball took me out at the knees. I don't see many that are an objective danger given their low centre of gravity and ability to bail. People who should know better from mid teens onwards however you see plenty.
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Saw many skiers out of their control envelopes up Brevent on Sunday. Nothing to do with goggles either.
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I was crashed into a few years ago by an 11 year old, resulting in me having 5 broken ribs, a punctured lung and spending a week in Sallanches hospital! He obviously didn't mean to injure me but he was skiing very fast and took off going over a large roller, hitting me, who he obviously couldn't see!
Speed, lack of skill/control and hazard awareness are a real problem, especially on crowded pistes and I know a lot of people might not agree but I would definitely like to see piste patrols with the power to issue warnings and ultimately confiscate lift passes of those who disregard the FIS rules.
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cerebralvortex wrote:
Keep in mind that it's not always the kid who's getting hit; sometimes it's the kid doing the hitting.

A kid slammed into my daughter from behind while skiing down to Brixen last year. She was doing very tidy tight turns down the side of a red and he was straight lining it. Totally unaware of anything going on round him. Fortunately he wasn't much bigger than she was. He wouldn't have just got up and skied off if it had been me that he hit.
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And of course I should have said what a tragic accident, every parents nightmare, my thoughts are with the family.
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musher wrote:
cerebralvortex wrote:
Keep in mind that it's not always the kid who's getting hit; sometimes it's the kid doing the hitting.

A kid slammed into my daughter from behind while skiing down to Brixen last year. She was doing very tidy tight turns down the side of a red and he was straight lining it. Totally unaware of anything going on round him. Fortunately he wasn't much bigger than she was. He wouldn't have just got up and skied off if it had been me that he hit.


An out of control adult is far worse and can do a lot more damage than an out of control kid. But I think the problem is that a lot of the people out of control, whether adult or children, are not the ones having lessons. I witnessed a lot of idiots this weekend at a small resort near Stockholm. Unfortunately it's close enough for day trip for people to give skiing a go, and they think it's hilarious to try and straight line down a red or black. I'd welcome someone taking their lift pass and telling they are done. Fortunately at the larger ski areas in Sweden, the standard of skiing and behaviour is generally very good as you'd expect.
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So so sad

Worries the hell out of me for my kids. My method of protection has been to ski at the back of them although reasonably close and following their track so people can see a big fat bloke first. Next year though my daughter will have a different colour jacket to white !

The instructor we had this year was very keen to show consistent lines and rhythm and also not taking up the whole piste. She also talked about going down the middle more than the edges on thinner tracks as you avoid the people flying by on the outside. When going down wider pistes she then worked on only one side and again kept it consistent. She did change turn shape but each time it built up so people could see the changes.

But yeah not good, and we always manage to avoid school holidays (different term times) so the pistes are much quieter.
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Presumably the severity of on piste collisions are a function of speed? Higher speeds are a function of shorter easier to control skis, wider flatter pistes, snow making, constant grooming and perhaps better instruction. Some pistes are now much more congested because lifts are quicker and queues are shorter putting more skiers onto the same number of runs.

The solution ? Go somewhere less busy, groom less and replace chairlifts with draglifts! Might not be popular with everyone.
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In Verbier it seems to be mainly kids and teenagers with the ability to ski very fast but without the maturity to consider the sequences when something unexpected happens. A girl, good skier, wearing a racing helmet with all the logos, probably a local, got so close to wiping out my 5 yr old on Sunday. I saw the red mist but her reaction was to laugh and carry on fooling about with her mates with no thought to the risks she was taking... I'm not usually a fan of controls but especially in busy areas, would support a piste patrol to warn those skiing recklessly

i can't imagine the horror of being a parent having to go through what the parents of the girl above are going through or even the kid and parents of the other kid that survived...
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@BobinCH, we had a very odd family in season 15-16, across the valley from you. Picture-painting: Tall English guy, black peak performance gear, booming voice, low intermediate. Female partner, same marginal ability, also with expensive kit. Saw them around for the week, laughing loudly at and encouraging out-of-control six year oldish daughter, who was straightlining everything in a high speed plough, open jacket flapping. Daughter on day 4 hit small child full on, father of miscreant arrived shouted loudly 'why did you do that...' at daughter then skied off promptly leaving us to attend to shocked Swiss infant and very upset Swiss father. Saw them and heard them loudly laughing on piste and encouraging daughter to straightline later that day. Grief.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 20-03-17 21:38; edited 1 time in total
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djf wrote:
So so sad

Worries the hell out of me for my kids. My method of protection has been to ski at the back of them although reasonably close and following their track so people can see a big fat bloke first. Next year though my daughter will have a different colour jacket to white !

.


I don't think blocking works and unless you get close enough to take any hit you are potentially taking a bigger risk for your child because faster skiers may not see them in time to plan a route around them or swerve round you straight into child.
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such tragic and sad news.

I am constantly drumming into my kids the safest places to stop and stand when on piste, and to pay attention to others and look in all directions when skiing and about to move. I would hope that it is drummed into beginners in lessons as well, am sure it must have been when I learnt to ski (honestly cannot remember) as it seems to be second nature.

obviously, you never stop worrying about your kids but I think I worry more when skiing as it is an pastime I have actively encouraged. I still feel guilty that one of my daughters sustained an injury last season.

when I have been on the slopes with both daughters but without my wife, I have been a nervous wreck, as I am trying to keep an eye on both of them at the same time (though to be honest it is similar when cycling on a public road with them!!)
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skimum wrote:
And of course I should have said what a tragic accident, every parents nightmare, my thoughts are with the family.


+1
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@Dave of the Marmottes, sorry, nobody has to "determine the skill". If a skier goes too fast for the conditions he can shove his skills where the sun doesn't shine even if he is a pro-racer: it's not that racers are immune to losing control and crashing, and skiers of any level may lack awareness. The slopes are for everyone to enjoy. If someone is doing human slalom, it doesn't matter how good they are, they are still putting others in danger. Skiing too fast and too close should be enough at least for a warning for the first time offenders. The faster you go the less time you have to react when something happens, the impact will be bigger too. There are times when you can ski fast, mostly when you have an open slope in front of you. Skill shouldn't be an excuse for lack of awareness and basic disregard for safety of others.
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@never summer, the irony of your sig 😂
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@never summer, I think we're slightly at cross purposes - the back seat bandit doesn't particularly need to get close to anyone to be objectively viewed as a hazard - his/her inability at the speed he/she has chosen is evident. Whereas the skilled racer may only be going at 25% capacity to be faster than 90% of the traffic on the home run and a hazard to no one. Assuming of course they aren't playing human slalom which of course race kids aren't immune to.

I'd rather have those out of control taken out of play than have everything become a no fun zone because of overzealous speed cops regardless of density of traffic so I don't believe it is speed alone and for instance a pass behind is a lot safer than a pass in front at similar distances.
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skimottaret wrote:
at least 8 instructors I know have been hit this season. One broken pelvis and others helicoptered off. Usually hit from behind without seeing the out of control skier, other times taking the hit to protect clients... Pistes are definitely getting more dangerous


I'm making no comment about what happened to those people as I'm sure many instructors get taken out by out of control idiots but just this past Friday alone in the PDS I saw two French instructors set off with groups of kids without even a cursory glance up the piste to ensure it was safe to do so causing people to have to take evasive action and a particularly stupid Swiss one who brought a group of whooping children charging onto the piste from off piste right in front of me. On each of these occasions everything turned out OK because the other uphill skiers and me were in control and able to avoid them easily but it was totally irresponsible behaviour and in direct defiance of FIS rule 5.

Oh, and there was the one who had their group stopped right across the narrow track coming down from the lift from Pre-La-Joux towards the Rochassons lift. Rule 6 ignored by that one.

I see similar things happening every trip. It seems there is a small percentage of instructors who think the rules don't apply to them or their groups. This minority is setting an appalling example and aren't exactly helping to make the pistes a safer place to be.
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lenews.ch wrote:
Between 2009 and 2013, there were 51,260 alpine skiing accidents in Switzerland, according to the Swiss Office of Accident Prevention.
Between 2005 and 2014, between 7% and 8% of skiers were involved in a collision..
Blimey, those numbers seem pretty high. Shocked
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It's very sad indeed when anyone is badly injured, let alone killed. The death of a child always seems to have more of an emotional impact but really, it's just the same as any other death (e.g. of a 35 year old breadwinner). In terms of the overall numbers skiing on piste is still a pretty safe activity and the risks should be kept in proportion. A child skiing on a piste is probably at less risk than my 5 and 7 year old grand-daughters cycling on local roads, with parents (experienced cyclists) on well-maintained bikes, with helmets and high visibility gear. And as we know from that silly row when a government drugs adviser got sacked for saying it was more dangerous than taking Ecstasy - horse-riding is a risky activity.

It's very hard for people nowadays to accept that risks (once you've taken sensible precautions, without being paranoid) have to be lived with.
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If your definition of fun is zooming down packed slopes at Mach speeds you are not much better than these back-seat bandits. Probably more dangerous. Skill is no excuse for disregard to safety rules. Just as like being a beginner is not an execuse for lack of awareness. I saw some nasty collisions, my friend (a boarder) couple years ago ended up with emergency surgery to put his wrist together after being taken out by a skier. Did the skier look like someone who couldn't ski? Who cares, he was someone without a slightest clue not to overtake boarders at their heel side. This is what caused an accident, not him being in the front or back seat. Conditions don't allow for sufficient separation? - slow down regardless of your skill level. Because this is what others do when see someone like it. Not because they have no skills, but because one idiot in the vicinity is already plenty. "Fun police" may save someone's life at the expense of your enjoyment. Awful.
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@never summer, ? Not overtake boarders heel side?

I fully expect the boarder to retain adequate sit'l awareness...
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I see it here all the time. All sorts of skiers, boarders, bladers, young, old, good, bad. Going too fast, too close, out of control. I've been hit twice from behind this season, the 2nd time pretty hard by a frenchman who "didn't see me" ffs and I wasn't hanging around. One very bad accident here too resulting in a death and a very serious injury.
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@never summer, not my definition of fun. I hate traffic and will go to great lengths to avoid it. I also don't ski that fast. But you seem to be favouring some sort of absolutist policy - exceed an arbitrary speed or infringe an arbitrary exclusion zone around a person and get a ban. I simply think it is more nuanced than that.
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@under a new name, if you blindside a snowboarder without giving sufficient room for anticipating a turn or passing safely, I would question who in that situation has more spacial awareness.
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@moody_git, not questionning that, but getting a 'bye' just cos you're a boarder seems inequitable.
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@under a new name, you're absolutely right.
Not knowing that a snowboarder is more vulnerable on their heelside is excusable; it isn't something you realise unless you ski with boarders or snowboard yourself. Saying that you should never pass them heelside is complete dangly bits, although I wouldn't chance it with a less experienced rider.
The bottom line in the case of never summer's mate is that the over taker did not leave enough room to pass safely.
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The point is if you overtake a boarder on their heelside and they turn into you the fault is yours. But that's not special for boarders that's just safe overtaking protocol. Too many skiers are however ignorant of how boarders turn.
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With regard to the Heel side, it's really not much of a problem to be honest - if we want to check whats behind us, a quick glance back toe-side will normally give you nearly all of the 360 - yes you can get caught out but you learn to get a sense of whats going on around you which it's why its important to me to make sure you know whats coming down the hill at you before setting off, and that's no different whether you ski or snowboard.

DotM makes a good point about understanding how snowboards turn, and how to predict what a snowboarder is going to do in what situations - know SWMBO had to learn this having to ski with a pack of degenerates - we do read the slope a bit differently and I know I'm always looking for the line which'll conserve momentum, and offer me a fall line, particularly if i'm in an area I don't know.
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Carpet Skiing has ALWAYS been more dangerous.

Over on the German Forum they have a dedicated topic

Piste Accidents

http://alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=56644
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As a snowboarder, I have the right of way whichever way I turn. I could even fall over and you'd still be responsible. Sure, I'm old and smart so I know you're there, so if you're fat and fast and out of control I'll keep out of your way. It's hard for me to tell if you've been drinking though...

Irrespective, if you're the uphill rider then you're responsible.
---

Does anyone have year-on-year stats to show if this is getting worse, or if people are just getting older? The SIA publish stats I think which should be comparable.
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"PISTE OF DOOM!" does seem to be this years trope
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I would submit that rule

1. Respect for other skiers and snowboarders
A ski­er or snow­board­er must be­have in such a way that he or she does not en­dan­ger or prej­u­dice others.

Trumps rule

4. Overtaking
A ski­er or snow­board­er may over­take another ski­er or snow­board­er above or be­low and to the right or to the left pro­vid­ed that enough space is left for the over­tak­en ski­er or snow­board­er to make any vol­un­tary or in­vol­un­tary move­ment.

Suddenly turning without warning in such a fashion that it's simply not possible for the uphill rider to avoid you breaks rule 1.

Anyway, snowboarders are invariably to be found sideslipping all the snow off a mountain facing downhill or sitting with their grungy mates just over a blind summit.
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
"PISTE OF DOOM!" does seem to be this years trope


Maybe because of it I've been watching from the lift more closely. I did see on an otherwise empty piste the only 2 skiers come within a whisker of hitting each other. Muppetry certainly doesn't seem to be a recessive gene.
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