Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Skiersí downhill rule

    Fifth District Judge Robert Elgee just put skiers on notice with a whopping $407,000 judgment against a man who hit another downhill skier from behind on Bald Mountain in 2013.
    The message that skiers and boarders should hear loud and clear is that skiing too fast, losing control and injuring another person is not only unacceptable, it’s punishable in a court of law.
    The decision put the responsibility for the incident squarely upon the uphill skier—where it belongs.
    The victim said that the man who hit him was skiing at a high rate of speed and too fast for conditions. He also accused the man of being out of control, and failing to yield or take evasive action to avoid hitting the victim.
    The decision is important because it reinforces the Skier’s Responsibility Code that states, “People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.” The code is clear, but many skiers and boarders ignore it.
    It doesn’t matter if one skier downhill from another is making turns that traverse an entire run—it’s still the uphill skier’s responsibility to avoid a collision. The skier downhill is blind to others behind them.
    Sun Valley Resort has done a good job posting and making the Skier’s Code visible on Bald Mountain. It has also posted “Slow” signs in areas reserved for slower skiing. Yet, some skiers still ignore the signs. They apparently missed the science class on the effects of mass, speed, velocity and friction. Compounding matters, the ski patrol can’t be everywhere to tag violators.
    Enter the law.
    Nothing says “Slow Down” like knowing that if you ski irresponsibly you could be slapped with a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a victim’s medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and mental anguish.
    That should be in the Skier’s Code, too.

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