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Calls for compulsory helmets on French ski pistes following death

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Frejul - good point. On a Brompton rather than a sensible bike. It now terrifies me and I commute on 29er.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
pam w wrote:
A person skiing without a helmet is not creating any danger for anyone else. Indeed, if you are going to collide with another skier, one without a helmet would pose less risk. Making helmets mandatory would be like a law requiring sailors to wear life-jackets. And shouldn't even be contemplated until cyclists are required to wear helmets and cigarettes are prohibited.


Well I was on a chairlift a few weeks ago with a young couple and their daughter who looked about four and she didn't have a helmet on. It should definitely be compulsory for children to wear helmets.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:
Or just wearing a helmet while walking down a slippery pavement?
Laughing It'll soon be law. That and hi-viz jackets for all.
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Idris wrote:
Snow&skifan wrote:
Genuine question, are they compulsory in any countries for under 18’s?


Yes

Italy has compulsory helmets to teens, not sure what age, but they keep raising it.

Sud Tyrol (italy) it's 18

Some austrian provinces it's 15


Not just helmets....

https://www.snow-forecast.com/whiteroom/new-drink-covid-helmet-laws-on-italian-slopes-for-january/
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@Scooter in Seattle,
Skiing without a helmet is fine if that is your choice. Playing lacrosse against women without one is just plain crazy.
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If they controlled the idiots charging about the slopes it would save more injuries than helmets,
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Robs1 - I suspect the legislators in Italy assume that the requirement for personal liability insurance will change behaviour as well as provide support for victims of poor skiing. I am sceptical. It needs enforcement - e.g. through presenting a QR code for valid enforcement when purchasing a lift ticket - with many small village systems that's unlikely. It requires compliance - people exchanging details after an accident - and current practice that I have seen is for people to try to leave the scene as soon as they can. And note perhaps that there are many thousands of people in the UK driving without car insurance, despite many different modes of enforcement and long history of required insurance - and high fatalities during accidents - see

https://www.mib.org.uk/media-centre/news/2020/february/police-seize-the-uk-s-2-millionth-uninsured-vehicle/

I think it's probably a good move in Italy, but it also will still leave enough people not complying to continue to have posts on here about incidents where people have behaved badly. And will it decrease the bad skiing which resulted in the incident in the first place? Could go either way - 'I am insured, so I can keep skiing at high speed and without care....' may occur just as frequently as '...ah that discussion about whether my insurance applies if I ski like an idiot has slowed me down...'
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Very true, idiots wont care regardless and the problem is catching them if they just ski off.
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When someone crashed into me at speed from behind giving me two broken ribs, some internal injuries, a concussion and a smashed up face from hitting the snow I was quite glad I was wearing both a decent helmet and a back protector. They certainly saved my bacon that day. I rate it as the worst crash I have ever had, even above my tibial plateau fracture when I messed up a jump in a super G or the speedski crash which cost me a cruciate ligament.

So for me helmet use on ordinary pistes is a good idea and I wouldn't ski without one. Just as it is a good idea when I'm riding my FJR1300. Or wearing a seatbelt in a car. Some people moaned for decades about both both seatbelts and motorcycle crash helmets being made compulsory. In the end both laws became pretty universally accepted. So roll on 2050 for the same to happen with skiing helmets (if we have any snow to ski on by then).
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pam w wrote:
A person skiing without a helmet is not creating any danger for anyone else. Indeed, if you are going to collide with another skier, one without a helmet would pose less risk. Making helmets mandatory would be like a law requiring sailors to wear life-jackets. And shouldn't even be contemplated until cyclists are required to wear helmets and cigarettes are prohibited.


So by that logic do you believe that crash helmets for motorcyclists and seatbelts for car drivers should be down to personal choice?
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No there is a distinction because crash helmets for motorcyclists and seatbelts for car drivers save a very large number of lives, due to the prevalence of riding and driving and the incidence of accidents per passenger/driver mile, and the kinetics involved - which is way more fatal and frequent than skiing accidents in which a helmet would save a life. We might make the societal judgement that ALL skiers should wear a helmet, and it would be readily enforceable. But the thread also is about dangerous skiing.

Psychologists and strategists tried to change driver behaviour in the 1970s and 1980s but simply gave up, and made cars stronger, seat belts compulsory, installed airbags, and removed features of cars which killed pedestrians (windscreen wiper pivot ends were going through peoples’ skulls, that’s why wipers are now recessed). I spoke to one of these designers and said ‘how could you have changed driver behaviour and made cars safe without these measures?’ He said ‘instal a six inch stainless steel spike sticking out of the centre of the steering wheel - that’s the only kind of thing which would change behaviour to a constant focus on safety’.

Gulp.
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@valais2, so stop grooming the pistes and mandate safe ski lengths of minimum arm's length above head? Simple solution ... no new tech required
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@valais2, fwiw old cars had steering wheel hubs not all that dissimilar from that spike you mentioned. Famous golfer Ben Hogan survived a head-on collision because he dove over in front of his passenger-wife to "protect" her. Ended up saving himself; the steering wheel went clear through the back of his seat! As for recessed wipers, that's a new one. The only explanation I've heard is to reduce drag/fuel consumption.

And enough nonsense about how skiing without a helmet doesn't create danger for anyone else. Helmets can and do save people from certain types of impacts, and if you suffer one without the helmet, now someone has to get to you, take you down in a sled, care for you, maybe fly a helicopter or drive an ambulance. Those actions involve risk that would not have been incurred but for the selfish approach taken by the unhelmeted skier, who is more concerned about fashion than common sense. I was once one of them, then I grew up.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
under a new name wrote:
@valais2, so stop grooming the pistes and mandate safe ski lengths of minimum arm's length above head? Simple solution ... no new tech required


Add to this, skis to be no wider than your boot Wink
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Someone I know extremely well suffered a backwards fall (having spun round) on a very benign piste and ended up being helicoptered off the mountain to the neurological unit at Salzburg. He was wearing a helmet.

By happen chance, one of the first to the scene was a doctor, who was skiing in the resort for the day. Her on- site prognosis was suspected neck injury. The symptoms suggested this. The later prognosis confirmed this.

Her view? The helmet was the cause of the trauma. She reckoned they contribute to injuries not perhaps seen in backward falls (evidently not so uncommon) before the prevalence of helmets.

Sorry, that’s first hand - I was there too and it was her comments to me.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My personal take on this is. Helmets should be madatory for under 18's, most will continue to use them. But for many non piste skiing activities helmets, especialy the sort I and most woud normaly wear when piste/resort skiing significantly reduce your situational awearness. When ski touring (And this includes stuff i've accessed off a lift) I want to hear everything around me.
I really don't want to have to carry my lid, just to ride the access lift and ski the bit of piste on the way home at the end of the day.

@under a new name's idea isn't stupid but I think may be unworkable du to loss of sales of lift tickets. What isn't is Courmayeur's (and I belive elsewhere in Italy) police/caribineri on the piste at busy season. They won't bat an eyelid at a race kid (12 years old 37kg) doing 100kph skiing as though everyone else is a stationary gate/post. But if you are an out of control/drunk/other subastance adult endangering those around you. They will probably catch you before you come to rest in the fence at the bottom/side of the run and will be delt with apropriately.
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@Scooter in Seattle, ...this was an ergonomic redesign to windshield wipers in the 1980s, when research showed the trajectory of a person hit by a vehicle. The head usually hit the bonnet around the top of the hood, which included the wiper pillar pivots - very strong protruding elements. These punched through the skull. The issues are stated here:

https://www.dekra-roadsafety.com/en/optimierte-fahrzeugfronten-fuer-besseren-schutz/

Simply moving them below the line of the hood, and making the top of the hood deformable was a simple redesign with the additional advantages you outline re drag. But the principal reason was safety.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@valais2, interesting and thank you. So the wipers were part of it, along with the changes to hood height, deformability and shape so when we hit people they live more often! Sometimes we can't get prevention so we must focus on cure. OK with me.
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It's funny how things can get missed also, the Citröen DS had that concealed wiper arrangement in the 1950s and, possibly picked up from there, the Rover P6 of 1963 the same.
Citröen likely for aero, but the Rover notably lead in personal safety http://p6club.com/content/rover-p6 and may be introduced a collapsible steering column too (development from 1957 the P6 concept) which had originally been developed in the 1930s but not deemed important enough to use it seems.
The wiper shrouding carried forward from P6 to SD1 too, so continuity from 1963 onward.

Interesting as it is, it does show just how loooong it takes to change anything of this scale even with such impact on personal safety.

These example of course do have a defined hardware target to modify, unlike head injuries in sport etc that can be so varied. Such a very difficult target in reality.
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if you have had a crash and hit your head while wearing a helmet, you are then supposed to throw that helmet away and get another one, if you are accident prone that could add up to quite a bit of cash during the week, and imagine the shopkeepers surprise when you pop in everyday for a new helmet, i"ve been skiing for 30 years and have never worn one, and i have had my fair share of falls, i did get thrown out of my ski guiding group once for not wearing one, but if i was starting my skiing career now then i would definately wear one
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I didn’t wear a helmet when I first started but then tried one after a few trip. Now wouldn’t go on the piste without.
A few years ago my wife was just comping to a gentle stop when she done ice and then fell backwards and cracked her head against the ice. She had a sore head and had to to take a day off but having seen the damage to the helmet it would have been a trip to the local hospital at minimum or much worse. Since then it’s only confirmed to me why wearing them is wise

It’s also true what scooter mentions. It’s not just the person in question it can effect.
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I watched a woman get clonked on the head by a flailing button lift - it floored her.

I myself fell backwards getting off a chairlift once because one of our kids skied across my skis. Really banged my head. Both myself and the woman were very glad to have been wearing helmets.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Some years ago, I crashed down a hairpin loop on my road bike at high speed during a training camp, hit my head against a rock, helmet cracked in midline. Could have been my skull. Thankfully my bike frame survived, despite two flat tyres.

So yeah, the helmet helped.
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Skiing in a whiteout, and lost all perspective. Somebody behind me saw that I was skiing backwards down the slope, though I would have sworn that I was going forwards. Shocked Eventually fell backwards and banged my head on the hard-ish piste (or possibly on to my own skis?) After the world stopped spinning, in just a few minutes, I got up and carried on skiing. At lunch, I thought I'd better check my equipment. Most of the contents of my rucksack were smashed to smithereens. As to my helmet, see the photo. No idea whether the helmet saved me or whether, as per Cacciatore's post, I was lucky not to break my neck. Confused Confused
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The helmet person with the hurt neck. I'm guessing got kicked out of hospital pretty quickly? Would be interesting to know if not.

I've had the head helped by helmet a few times on bikes and skiing. Normally going slowly , when balance is worse and not being scared / not concentrating.

Also had a patient with a massive brain injury from biking without helmet and falling at ? 6mph. Just a stupid slip on the rail trail, expert cyclist. I always wear. Unless I forget ;p
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Cacciatore wrote:
Someone I know extremely well suffered a backwards fall (having spun round) on a very benign piste and ended up being helicoptered off the mountain to the neurological unit at Salzburg. He was wearing a helmet.

By happen chance, one of the first to the scene was a doctor, who was skiing in the resort for the day. Her on- site prognosis was suspected neck injury. The symptoms suggested this. The later prognosis confirmed this.

Her view? The helmet was the cause of the trauma. She reckoned they contribute to injuries not perhaps seen in backward falls (evidently not so uncommon) before the prevalence of helmets.

Sorry, that’s first hand - I was there too and it was her comments to me.


This is a well-known issue. With the helmet on, the head is effectiively a bigger diameter. So in a tumbling fall greater leverage can be applied to the neck. However, the net benefits of a helmet are still positive in that they are reckoned to save a lot more impact trauma than any rotational neck injuries they cause or exacerbate. Furthmore modern helmets are increasingly using better technology (marketed as MIPS). In these helmets the inner lining of the helmet is designed to break away and rotate inside the outer shell in the event of a high rotational force being applied.
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hyperkub wrote:
Cacciatore wrote:
Someone I know extremely well suffered a backwards fall (having spun round) on a very benign piste and ended up being helicoptered off the mountain to the neurological unit at Salzburg. He was wearing a helmet.

By happen chance, one of the first to the scene was a doctor, who was skiing in the resort for the day. Her on- site prognosis was suspected neck injury. The symptoms suggested this. The later prognosis confirmed this.

Her view? The helmet was the cause of the trauma. She reckoned they contribute to injuries not perhaps seen in backward falls (evidently not so uncommon) before the prevalence of helmets.

Sorry, that’s first hand - I was there too and it was her comments to me.


This is a well-known issue. With the helmet on, the head is effectiively a bigger diameter. So in a tumbling fall greater leverage can be applied to the neck. However, the net benefits of a helmet are still positive in that they are reckoned to save a lot more impact trauma than any rotational neck injuries they cause or exacerbate. Furthmore modern helmets are increasingly using better technology (marketed as MIPS). In these helmets the inner lining of the helmet is designed to break away and rotate inside the outer shell in the event of a high rotational force being applied.


I agree re the overall benefits. Interesting regarding the inner lining. I hadn’t heard that before.
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motdoc wrote:
The helmet person with the hurt neck. I'm guessing got kicked out of hospital pretty quickly? Would be interesting to know if not.

I've had the head helped by helmet a few times on bikes and skiing. Normally going slowly , when balance is worse and not being scared / not concentrating.

Also had a patient with a massive brain injury from biking without helmet and falling at ? 6mph. Just a stupid slip on the rail trail, expert cyclist. I always wear. Unless I forget ;p


Three days for tests and observation before being released with a medical note for flying. The injured party has undergone significant rehab and continues to have discomfort in upper back and neck. He’s given up skiing.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Scooter in Seattle wrote:
@valais2,

And enough nonsense about how skiing without a helmet doesn't create danger for anyone else. Helmets can and do save people from certain types of impacts, and if you suffer one without the helmet, now someone has to get to you, take you down in a sled, care for you, maybe fly a helicopter or drive an ambulance. Those actions involve risk that would not have been incurred but for the selfish approach taken by the unhelmeted skier, who is more concerned about fashion than common sense. I was once one of them, then I grew up.


Better just to ban the sport all together, then the poor old pisteur won’t have to risk his neck taking you down the mountain with your broken leg, knee, arm etc just because you chose, the essentially pointless, activity of skiing!

Whilst you’re at it, perhaps ban road cycling too. A helmet isn’t going to help you much in a head impact at 50kmh and the ambulance driver might crash on his way to pick you up.
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under a new name wrote:
@valais2, so stop grooming the pistes and mandate safe ski lengths of minimum arm's length above head? Simple solution ... no new tech required


Yeah, one fairly stark difference skiing in Scotland v's The Alps is the grooming.

Obviously in Scotland, lower overall amount of grooming is down to the economics - but one things for sure, a more "tricky" surface or areas of variation means you need to focus almost fully on skiing technically well...........as opposed to straightlining down a corduroy piste.

There are aspects of Scottish skiing that are annoying, but one things for sure, you dont take flat and consistent pistes as a given - and I have never worn a helmet in >40 years skiing in Scotland Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
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https://mayerhillman.com/1992/06/01/the-cycle-helmet-friend-or-foe/

Often the argument (often from Doctors) is that a helmet would have been beneficial in the specific scenario where someone was injured. Of course it might have been, but any blanket policy needs to look at the bigger picture and this is a good (if ageing) article on those elements.

Otherwise medical 'sense' would always recommend helmets on all car journeys and to the pub on a Saturday night. And for children in playgrounds.
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Of course the biggest argument against wearing a helmet is that they prevent you from looking cool when wearing sunglasses. Cool NehNeh
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It's the responsibility of the state (whatever country) to keep the people safe.

That's why we have health and safety laws and many other mandatory legislations including motor vehicles.

In the UK it is compulsory for construction employers to provide hard hats for example, and compulsory for employees to wear them where there is a risk of head injury.

It is certainly worth the authorities considering mandating head protection.

If made compulsory and people want "body autonomy" and choose not to wear suitable protection (and presumably anti vax too), then they are knowingly going against the rules and are taking their own risk.
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@Cacciatore, …although we have discussed here the issue of the impact and demands of blanket legislation on helmets, a side excursion into helmet performance is possible….

…I’ve written here before that rotational brain injury is a key issue in cycling and skiing, and MIPS (and AIRSPIN) directly addresses the mechanisms which cause that - essentially by allowing the skull to rotate in the helmet on impact, dissipating the energy which otherwise would cause rotation of the brain within the skull (bad news).

Personally, we were early adopters of helmets off road in MTB and in skiing, and use the highest quality helmets, adjusted properly. They have prevented injury on a number of occasions. But we also see plenty of instances of very cheap, poor helmets and really badly adjusted helmets - particularly on kids, with foreheads completely exposed. Lots of good research and discussion now of effects of concussion - which now thank goodness is being seen as a serious injury…which it is…very important to avoid repeated concussion, close together.

Also I note the comments about rearward accidents. The skull is very weak at the base at the rear and the neck/skull junction very vulnerable. It’s an interesting area and very little research on this. I am sure that companies like POC would like more case study analysis and description on this.

A great innovation in safety which is worth mentioning is HANS - the brain stem separation which was occurring in Indycar and sports car racing was becoming more frequent as the energy of impacts went up…and HANS was a clear life-saver which does not impact on the nature of the sport - clear problem, clear solution, clear benefit and no significant detriment, easily implemented and enforced, and not expensive (relatively). Far more difficult to evaluate is the neck brace in DH - we have LEATT neck braces but there’s a LOT of discussion in DH about whether we should use them. Full face DH certificated helmets - yep, for sure….and I wear a full face for enduro now….
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Idris wrote:
@under a new name's idea isn't stupid Thanks! but I think may be unworkable du to loss of sales of lift tickets. What isn't is Courmayeur's (and I believe elsewhere in Italy) police/caribineri on the piste at busy season. They won't bat an eyelid at a race kid (12 years old 37kg) doing 100kph skiing as though everyone else is a stationary gate/post. But if you are an out of control/drunk/other substance adult endangering those around you. They will probably catch you before you come to rest in the fence at the bottom/side of the run and will be dealt with appropriately.


Which is not dissimilar to what happens in much of North America. And which appears to work, afaics.
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under a new name wrote:
Idris wrote:
@under a new name's idea isn't stupid Thanks! but I think may be unworkable du to loss of sales of lift tickets. What isn't is Courmayeur's (and I believe elsewhere in Italy) police/caribineri on the piste at busy season. They won't bat an eyelid at a race kid (12 years old 37kg) doing 100kph skiing as though everyone else is a stationary gate/post. But if you are an out of control/drunk/other substance adult endangering those around you. They will probably catch you before you come to rest in the fence at the bottom/side of the run and will be dealt with appropriately.


Which is not dissimilar to what happens in much of North America. And which appears to work, afaics.


Nope, not in many cases. I have been chased by many patrolers in NA for doing things against their rules - As they were not licenced profesionals doing a goverment aproved job (Yes I do have a problem with how little qualifications a USA Patroler needs). I had no problem ignoring them and dissapearing from their view in less than 30 sec.
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landmannnn,
Quote:

If made compulsory and people want "body autonomy" and choose not to wear suitable protection (and presumably anti vax too), then they are knowingly going against the rules and are taking their own risk.


But why do we need to make it compulsory ? They would presumably already know the potential risks, and make their decision accordingly. Doesn't matter if they are knowingly going against any rules.

We dont really need more legistration in our lives, unless folks need to be told what to do in every scenario, personally I prefer people should have freedom of choice.
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What os often missed in these discussions about helmets is that most skiing accidents are minor in nature. There are a few good examples of this above, but still a lot of focus on how helmets will not protect in high force impacts. There is no question that helmet are immensely effective at preventing severe head injury resulting from relatively low force impacts. And you are most likely to suffer those types of incidents. Which makes wearing helmets a no-brainer (lol).

The argument about wearing them on-piste but not off-piste does not hold water in my view. Low force impacts are very common in off-piste situations, like slipping at low speed in rocky terrain. Or clipping the edge of a couloir with your head.

A well fitted helmet has not led to any degradation in situational awareness in my experience. Importantly with ear covers that do no deaden noise (or worse have earplugs for music) and goggles that have a good fit with the helmet and a wide field of view.
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Bones wrote:
But why do we need to make it compulsory ? They would presumably already know the potential risks,


Thats a very big assumption to make. I suspect only a few % would have fully researched into it and have a properly assessed opinion
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Idris wrote:
under a new name wrote:
Idris wrote:
@under a new name's idea isn't stupid Thanks! but I think may be unworkable du to loss of sales of lift tickets. What isn't is Courmayeur's (and I believe elsewhere in Italy) police/caribineri on the piste at busy season. They won't bat an eyelid at a race kid (12 years old 37kg) doing 100kph skiing as though everyone else is a stationary gate/post. But if you are an out of control/drunk/other substance adult endangering those around you. They will probably catch you before you come to rest in the fence at the bottom/side of the run and will be dealt with appropriately.


Which is not dissimilar to what happens in much of North America. And which appears to work, afaics.


Nope, not in many cases. I have been chased by many patrolers in NA for doing things against their rules - As they were not licenced profesionals doing a goverment aproved job (Yes I do have a problem with how little qualifications a USA Patroler needs). I had no problem ignoring them and dissapearing from their view in less than 30 sec.


A very telling comment.
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