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Skier dies in La Plagne

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Terrible news of another skier/snowboarder collision... Can only imagine how awful this has to be for the family of the man...

http://paradiski.edgemag.net/2017-01-03-skier-dies-in-collision-with-snowboarder-in-la-plagne/

I did a quick google search to see if I could find anymore information on this and was amazed at how many articles came up for the last 2 years of deaths on the slopes... A stark warning that whilst we all love and enjoy skiing / snowboarding, it can also be very dangerous if you're not careful...

I'd be interested to know if the the parties involved were wearing helmets, considering the man died from head injuries... Something that was topical on our recent trip, last week, as I was amazed of the amount of people still travelling at speeds, in just a beanie and goggles... Especially considering the poor snow meaning it was pretty hard packed under foot...
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Sad news

While we will all have personal views on helmets or not - don't think is appropriate to discuss here.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Super sad but no surprise. We were in La Plagne Christmas week and as a family of four we suffered 3 collisions from out of control snow boarders, 1 from an out of control ten yr old child on her own whose parents had already skied down to the lift and a handful of near misses mainly by boarders. Thankfully we had no serious injuries but our youngest was pretty shaken up. We saw 2 non related Heli evacuations and another 6 serious injuries (broken legs etc) sledged off by the rescue services.

I like to think we all ski carefully and considerately only stopping in sensible places but with poor piste conditions it was alarming how many people and in my opinion mainly boarders in late teens to mid twenties just hurtled down not in full control.

I have never experienced such carnage before. This was not due to the conditions but more due to people not respecting the conditions. It was at times akin to driving past a primary school at home time in a sports car at 70mph!

There but for the grace go all of us.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Tue 3-01-17 14:15; edited 1 time in total
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Sad news, as a skiing community we empathise with the delights of snowsports, but do well to recognise the dangers inherent in this sport we love.

The helmet discussion is one that we should perhaps not self-censor, just (as Boris says) there will be a range of personal views. People will hold those a range of views and all we can do is respect the right to that range of opinion.

Whenever such a trahic event happens there is the 'would this have occurred if X had been wearing a helmet?'. But this is a sterile and pointless position because it is unknowable.

All we can do is take a personal inventory of our reasons for using or not using a helmet, and check that we also think of other users when we ski.
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I also think it's wrong in view of a tragic story like this to point the finger of blame in any direction. The story says a collision between a skier and a snowboarder at a junction of two pistes. One or both may have been out of control but no indication as to whom. Both parties are described as being men in their 40s. Sad news indeed.
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I'm not used to large crowds at the holidays but what I'm witnessing is insane.
Constant heli rescues and non stop stretchers all due to idiots with zero spacial awareness.
I decided not to ski today but my daughter is up there and I've done nothing but worry all morning.
Bottleneck to down gondola and ive never seen the like of it, out of control idiots slipping their way through kindergartens and little tots.
No difference between skiers or boarders, just total fecking idiots going to fast with zero ability to avoid the inevitable collision.
I'll video it tomorrow if I'm up, guaranteed be at least several people wiped out in the few seconds I'll record.
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@Boris, if the poor deceased wasn't wearing a helmet and the person who hit him was, and it turns out to be a contributing factor, then I'd say this is a very appropriate place to discuss it.
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The issue currently is that you have a fraction of the runs available, across the vast majority of alpine resorts, and almost the same number of people trying to access them, as when the resorts are fully open...

Unfortunately, collisions are going to happen, and you can only hope that people are more aware of the dangers when in confined spaces with lots of folk, and not just do everything they can to get through these areas as quick as possible...

... I'd also like to add that 'out of control' does not necessarily mean 'reckless'... I am sure we have all had moments when we have been out of control, simply because we've not done something the right way, or perhaps been tired and lost control... Doesn't mean that we were reckless in our skiing/riding...
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AlpineAddict wrote:
... I'd also like to add that 'out of control' does not necessarily mean 'reckless'... I am sure we have all had moments when we have been out of control, simply because we've not done something the right way, or perhaps been tired and lost control... Doesn't mean that we were reckless in our skiing/riding...
Agreed, sort of. Out of control becomes reckless when it happens at high speed and leaving insufficient room to recover before you collide with someone or something. Momentarily losing control, sliding sideways before finding some more grip is not reckless. But not modifying your speed and leaving enough room for other people you are sharing the piste with in the current conditions is reckless.

Sorry to hear of a fatality in La Plagne. Not the outcome that anyone would want from a ski holiday. Especially in current conditions, it would be nice if everyone could be respectful of the people they share the pistes with.
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@Dr John, there are any number of helmet threads running across the forum - discussing it on a thread relating to a specific death (where deceased's family may read) is IMHO not appropriate.
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Certainly as far as Paradiski is concerned and I'm sure many other resorts are the same, it is largely very hardpacked piste with many areas of glassy ice. Lots of people we saw were either not skilled nor confident enough to edge their skis and gain control. Lots of folks just slide across the ice at too high a speed which in better conditions would likely be better controlled.

I caught an edge on a small bare rock on my way back down the man made piste at Peisey over Christmas and fell doing maybe 25mph and it bloody hurt. The surface was wholly unforgiving like falling on concrete almost as no loose powder of soft stuff to break the fall. I can only imagine that hitting ones head on that surface could be catastrophic.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 3-01-17 14:59; edited 1 time in total
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rob@rar wrote:
Not the outcome that anyone would want from a ski holiday.


Early contender for understatement of 2017.
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@Boris, they're more likely to read the inevitable hysterical judgement in the Daily Mail, at least here there will be some informed opinion based on years of experience (as well as the occasional frothing lunatic, obv)
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FIS code says Ski in Control so if you are out of control it IS your fault. You can choose to mitigate in such circumstances by taking a voluntary fall etc.

Scariest place on any mountain is an overcrowded blue run. The number of people you see skiing fast based on standing on their heels ( and therefore lacking critical steering ability ) is extraordinary. Perversely you don't see unskilled snowboarders travelling at that speed, as it is too sketchy for the basic back leg kicker.

You can of course help yourself by stopping to allow traffic to clear and shoulder checking frequently. Don't think I'd want young kids out there skiing in some of the conditions I've seen in the past 2 weeks in Europe.
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Am still recovering from being taking out in Arc 1600 just before Christmas (although thankfully it appears to be on the mend).

Small pistes, hard packed, crowds, 1st day heroics /muppetry /lack of ability / bad judgement*: not a recipe for 100% happy days.

But so, so sad to hear of a death. Horrible. And I'm sure the survivor isn't feeling too special either.

Take care out there.


(*delete as applic)
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 Poster: A snowHead
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I'm not speculating on this particular incident, but something I've seen too many times on piste crossings is boarders facing the direction of travel of the crossing piste as they do it (down the piste). If you're facing this way, this means that you need to rotate your neck 180 degrees in order to look up the piste which crosses the one you're on. This is plainly not possible and means that you're going onto the crossing blind.

I completely accept that boarders have a harder time for spacial awareness than skiers by virtue of the fact that their board makes them face sideways. That's unfortunate but it is what it is and I accept that. But it's not an excuse for not looking where you're going, and some boarders seem to think that it is. I've been run into and cut up by boarders who've then acted the victim... and the simple reason it happened is because they didn't look before they changed direction.

Very few people have the benefit of private pistes so unless you're on one, you need to pay attention.
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As for helmets, even if the resorts aren't prepared to make the ruling, the insurers should. It's absolutely in the interests of the insurers, so I have no idea why they haven't already gone for it. If the ski insurers made it mandatory, it would force the majority of people into it.
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Quote:

FIS code says Ski in Control so if you are out of control it IS your fault


That's easy to say - but they may as well say don't fall over! However carefully and in control you are skiing, if you fall over then you are no longer in control. I'm sure there will be comments that if you're in control you won't fall over, but I'm afraid I don't buy that - patch of ice, hidden rock can all catch you off guard.
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jirac18 wrote:
Lots of people we saw were either not skilled nor confident enough to edge their skis and gain control. Lots of folks just slide across the ice at too high a speed which in better conditions would likely be better controlled.


Similar comment made by our instructor 2 weeks ago that she noticed there were lots of skiiers sliding down (and not skiing) at too high a speed and not in control. It became our past time on chair lift to spot the skiiers that were sliding.....and spotted quite a few of sliders!
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dp wrote:
I'm not speculating on this particular incident, but something I've seen too many times on piste crossings is boarders facing the direction of travel of the crossing piste as they do it (down the piste). If you're facing this way, this means that you need to rotate your neck 180 degrees in order to look up the piste which crosses the one you're on. This is plainly not possible and means that you're going onto the crossing blind.

I completely accept that boarders have a harder time for spacial awareness than skiers by virtue of the fact that their board makes them face sideways. That's unfortunate but it is what it is and I accept that. But it's not an excuse for not looking where you're going, and some boarders seem to think that it is. I've been run into and cut up by boarders who've then acted the victim... and the simple reason it happened is because they didn't look before they changed direction.

Very few people have the benefit of private pistes so unless you're on one, you need to pay attention.


After I posted this news, I wondered how long it would take for the thread to turn into a boarders Vs Skiers debate... When in fact this was perhaps just as simple tragic accident...

I snowboard and I don't think we can generalise about 'snowboarders' not looking at junctions... I always look as best I can before crossings and it's simply a case of heating your heel edge a little harder to get a good viewpoint to the traffic coming downhill at you (at a junction). Whilst I accept that some snowboarders don't, there are perhaps as many on skis that don't also... and for most accidents they are simply that... An accident, and as we can see here, some accidents are a lot worse, and often no one's fault.

Skiers have issues with how boarders ride, and boarders have issues with how skiers ski etc. etc. It will always be that way. Skiers ski like hoons just as much as boarders do... I can't seem to find out any more info on this terrible tragedy, and chances are we probably wont, and perhaps that is right, that the details are not in the public domain...

As has been mentioned above, I am sure the other person involved is mortified by this incident... Sad
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AlpineAddict wrote:
I am sure the other person involved is mortified by this incident... Sad


Errr... I think the mortified one is the dead one.
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Unsurprisingly ski resorts give scant details of deaths or serious injuries. I heard of deaths in the last two seasons in La Plagne that were hardly reported, a short paragraph in Le Dauphine and that was it.
Deaths during skiing may well be more frequent than we think.
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I watched from a lift today as a skier tumbled today in arc 1800 on the brow of run then take two other skiers out but due the hard packed conditions the continued down the blue slope collecting 6 kids who has stopped in the middle of the run 50m further down.
The kids were in a ESF class and the instructor was not impressed, mind I was not impressed that she had stopped in the centre of a piste but it was strange watching it develop in slow motion.
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AlpineAddict wrote:

After I posted this news, I wondered how long it would take for the thread to turn into a boarders Vs Skiers debate... When in fact this was perhaps just as simple tragic accident...

I snowboard


You don't need to get insecure. Like I said - I completely sympathise that I am lucky enough that my skis let me face forward, you don't have that luxury.

It doesn't mean I'm slagging off snowboarders. I'm just saying, I think if you choose to ride a snowboard which limits your field of view to one side of the direction you're moving in; you need to take extra precautions to ensure that your blind spot is in a safe place.

The problem isn't snowboarders. The problem is idiots, who live in a bubble and refuse to accept that other people even exist, let alone might share the slopes with them.
It's ultimately why I got into off piste skiing. Pistes can be very dangerous when they're covered in inexperienced, uncourteous people riding sharp pieces of metal at high speed with no brakes!!!
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Quote:

The problem isn't snowboarders.

It often is though eh? There are a lot less snowboarders than skiers out there but, in my experience, they are involved in a lot more incidents. Young, male, snowboarders who do the hitting and then blame the victim - I've witnessed it too often. That's not anti-snowboarder (not that I care if it is), just observation.
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We seem to have slipped into knee-jerk daily mail territory: there's no detail on this accident yet, but even if there was a single event does not provide much evidence for anything.
--

I think you'll find that on balance, irrespective of what you ride, if you don't look where you're going, you will probably cause trouble.
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@philwig, as usual, wise words. Guns don't kill people! it's always the fecking idiots, be they skiers or those from the dark side.
Sorry couldn't resist! Laughing
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Pruman wrote:
Quote:

The problem isn't snowboarders.

It often is though eh? There are a lot less snowboarders than skiers out there but, in my experience, they are involved in a lot more incidents. Young, male, snowboarders who do the hitting and then blame the victim - I've witnessed it too often. That's not anti-snowboarder (not that I care if it is), just observation.


Possibly true, but I think that's a demographic thing, not a snowboard thing.

That's just the fact that snowboarding appeals to careless young males who don't care about other people.
But that's the same as the statistics for crashing cars as well.
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Quote:

But that's the same as the statistics for crashing cars as well.

Probably, but at least there is a license to remove, speed awareness courses, and a test in the first place. And then there is the presence of law enforcement, something that's mainly missing on the mountain, but I'm not sure it would be that practical.
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Wow this is turning into an anti boarder thread Shocked
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@Boris, I think if you read between the lines, or actually read my last post, most snowheads agree it's not a skier or boarder thing, just an idiot thing.

We all love the mountains and boarders just like looking at it sideways!
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The percentage of people who fail to look at junctions is well under 20%. And donn't get me started on the families who indulgently ski along en masse on catwalks letting their little ones take hits off the side. Newsflash if I cream your kid as they reenter the piste they and you are at fault not me and it won't be me in the ER.

(I of course avoid doing this but very few people seem aware of the problem).
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Curtains wrote:
I watched from a lift today as a skier tumbled today in arc 1800 on the brow of run then take two other skiers out but due the hard packed conditions the continued down the blue slope collecting 6 kids who has stopped in the middle of the run 50m further down.
The kids were in a ESF class and the instructor was not impressed, mind I was not impressed that she had stopped in the centre of a piste but it was strange watching it develop in slow motion.


The instructor is a frikkin idiot if she wasn't a) stopped at the edge and b) observing uphill so she could react to such events on a busy run. No wonder people don't learn good habits if there are pros out there behaving like imbeciles.
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Boris wrote:
Wow this is turning into an anti boarder thread Shocked


As I said above, don't get insecure! In terms of demographic, young idiotic males who are liable to plough around like prats causing accidents... there is a trend that they often take up snowboarding.

I think there is a decent amount of evidence that of the two sports, Snowboarding is seen as the 'cooler' one.

I'm extremely uncool which is deliberately why I ski.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
The percentage of people who fail to look at junctions is well under 20%. And donn't get me started on the families who indulgently ski along en masse on catwalks letting their little ones take hits off the side. Newsflash if I cream your kid as they reenter the piste they and you are at fault not me and it won't be me in the ER.

(I of course avoid doing this but very few people seem aware of the problem).


Hear hear, same deal. I've had to change my attitude. I used to do anything to get out of the way and not cream weaker, smaller skiers. Now I have to just push them out of the way. If somebody else causes an accident I'm not obliged to lose my holiday out of it just because I'm bigger.
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Quote:

most snowheads agree it's not a skier or boarder thing

Personally i'd like to hear from 'most snowheads' before assuming that. We've all seen collisions, some of us have been hit, some of us have been the hitter, some of us have had family members taken out and some of us have had to chase down hit and runs. All scenarios involve an ignoramus or sheer bad luck to one degree or another but, to repeat, in my experience there's an imbalance in the number of snowboarders involved and worse when you consider the relative number of skiers v boarders. It could just be my experience, although a ski patroller I talked to agreed with the view, but if there's an issue there's no point pretending it isn't an issue.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
families who indulgently ski along en masse on catwalks


Can you explain what you mean by this please? I haven't heard the expression before in the context of skiing.
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Quote:

I used to do anything to get out of the way and not cream weaker, smaller skiers. Now I have to just push them out of the way.

So, you can see them, you are presumably coming from above (or behind) and travelling faster, yet you prefer to 'cream' them than take avoiding action. Discuss.
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Pending wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
families who indulgently ski along en masse on catwalks


Can you explain what you mean by this please? I haven't heard the expression before in the context of skiing.


It means "get out of my way, don't you know who I am?"
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A theory of mine, which I absolutely no proof for, is that gps apps like ski tracker have made likelyhood of accidents worse as friends seek to out do each other by setting the fastest speed of the day, regardless of whether conditions, crowd density and piste layout / intersections allow. (Be they on ski's or boards)

There are similar anecdotal problems in cycling with Strava, with people flying down hills too fast or thru red lights/ junctions without slowing trying to set fastest segment times.

We have no details on this incident, but its probably icy pistes were a contributing factor.
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