Mt Bachelor being sued over death of 9yr old

Andy Mink

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I've been to Bachelor once, for a week. We were fortunate to have good weather and the Summit chair was spinning on a few of the days. Winds had it closed on others. @Philpug, @Tricia, @AKMINK, and I took the lift to the top, and admired the scenery. We peeked off the backside and it looked awful. This was in February or March, I think. We went down the main run and it was...unpleasant. Coral reef with marbles. We all made it fine but someone who had been up there before on a soft snow day may not have expected that. A skier with a lower skill set could have gotten into trouble. Conditions change rapidly and frequently on the mountain. What was a blue yesterday may be a double black today depending on what happened overnight. Even run to run conditions change. It was soft and creamy and then the sun went behind a cloud and it froze solid. Totally different experience.

From the article:
"Brecken’s parents are now suing the resort, saying employees told them conditions were good and there was minimal ice. However, according to skiers on the hill, there had been dangerous, icy conditions on that part of the mountain."

Who, especially the other skiers, determined there were dangerous, icy conditions on that part of the mountain? What is one skier's dangerous ice is another's hard pack snow. I don't know how many times I've heard people say "it's really icy" at Mt. Rose and, honestly, there are very few times I can remember seeing any true ice. Hard snow? Yes. Requires some advanced skill? Absolutely. So hearsay without knowing the skiers' who claimed dangerous conditions skill sets and comfort levels is rather vague evidence. As to the employees saying there was minimal ice, that may be their take on Patrol leaving it open.

What happened at Bachelor was awful, no doubt, but unless there was some absolutely negligent action or inaction on the operational side, I don't see how this can be their fault.
 

Andy Mink

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I always find it funny when icy is described as coral and not hockey rink... I think it's an Eastern thing...
I tell people if you can't see through it to the grass/dirt it's not *REALLY* ice. That's an over simplification of course but hailing from NEPA and skiing there growing up I know the difference between eastern ice and western "ice".
 

Bill Miles

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I tell people if you can't see through it to the grass/dirt it's not *REALLY* ice. That's an over simplification of course but hailing from NEPA and skiing there growing up I know the difference between eastern ice and western "ice".

The owner of the lodge I used to stay at in Aspen used to say that. He was originally from back East also.
 

DocGKR

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"I don't know how many times I've heard people say "it's really icy" at Mt. Rose and, honestly, there are very few times I can remember seeing any true ice.

Heard this many times at multiple ski areas; go ski an injected race surface and then come back and talk about skiing on "ice".....
 

Don in Morrison

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I tell people if you can't see through it to the grass/dirt it's not *REALLY* ice. That's an over simplification of course but hailing from NEPA and skiing there growing up I know the difference between eastern ice and western "ice".
My first ski experience outside of Colorado was at Blue Knob, PA. (How I ended up there is a long story). The conditions were exactly as @Andy Mink described above. After I got back to Colorado, whenever someone complained about ice, I would tell them, "There's no such thing as ice in Colorado."
 

crgildart

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I got hurt loosing control on my suzuki 750 going around a corner at 175 mph. I'm going to sue Suzuki for making a bike that would do 175 mph. Then, if that doesn't work, maybe I can sue my parents for raising an idiot. :rolleyes:
If there's a point where you think the run should be closed, fine; man up and decide for yourself and don't ski it. Be responsible.

If I ran the world (and a lot of folk are plenty glad I don't), runs would me marked ski at own risk instead of closed.

OK but what if there was a bunch of oil on the road at that curve and the DOT had been told about the massively more dangerous than typical conditions and didn't take steps to warn people of the ADDITIONAL risk there, no extra signs, didn't put up a detour, etc.. Soldily barely skiable to an expert ice before a fall and you die spot on a main trail is a quite a bit different than simply over terraining your kid..
 

François Pugh

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Depends....
Oil on an off-ramp - to be expected.
Oil on a regular stretch of road, not usually covered in oil due to an accident that is well-known of and started cleanup, but no warning signs/detours/road closures - probably have a case.
Ice on a ski run - to be expected.
Stumps under the snow off-piste - to be expected.
Snow-snakes in the woods - to be expected.
Skiers skiing every-which way - to be expected.
Whales from snow-making in poor visibility - to be expected.
Most hazards on a ski hill- to be expected.
Except the Spanish Inquisition; only Monty Python fans know to expect the Spanish Inquisition.
 
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eok

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Tragic outcome. Local talk says people were warned of very icy conditions before loading Summit chair. I can assure you I've been on Summit when I questioned my choice of putting myself in a situation that was dangerous.
I heard the child's mother was escorting him when they loaded Summit chair. Who is responsible for making the decision to allow a 9 yr old to be exposed to those conditions? In the end a child lost his life,very sad.
A lot of the of terrain served by Summit chair is effectively above tree line. Juicy Pineapple Express storms followed by an abrupt cold front will often glaze the summit. Sometimes the icing is so bad it can take a few days just to clear the Summit lift & get it rolling again.

I've skied Summit on really icy days. Including days when it was literally sheet ice from the summit to mid mountain (or worse). Every time (for me) Bachelor did groom the main designated groomer runs (eg: Beverly Hills) - but it on really bad days the results would be like ice gravel. Skiable & better than glare ice. BUT (on some big ice days), if you strayed from the groomed you'd be on an ice sheet & going fast quickly. In some situations it can feel to folks like attempting to stop would be tempting disaster - so folks will try to ride it out. I've seen it & watch them crash & slide forever. Sometimes the groomed ice gravel is just too irritating for me so I'll ski the ice sheet (I grew up skiing ice & I keep my edges tuned & sharp). Regardless, if it's a severely glazed day off the Summit and you fall you're going to slide down the terrain for a good while.

I've never been warned by lifties, patrol or even a Bachelor ambassador that it was too icy to be "safe". Why should they? Ice and it's sibling - *snow* - are the fundamental natural risks related to skiing. If there's snow there's going to be ice. If there's too much snow (too deep) or ice (too much) the difficulty level goes up & skiers must make their choices accordingly.

If you're a long time PNW skier, you learn to see that telltale glaze on the untracked snow off the groomed and know it's an ice layer that you either avoid or adjust accordingly.
 

Seldomski

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About the only way I can find the mountain at fault is when the patrol director take the stand and say '"I told my GM my patrollers are fearing for their life. It's that icy", and the GM told us "We can't afford to give out vouchers, spin up them chairs!"'

Don't get me wrong, I often wish mountains would rate their runs based on condition, not just the gradients and width. But since that's not yet the industry norm, condition will have to be inferred by the customer. A complete boiler plate green run could still kill. That being the "inherent danger" of skiing! It's a "contract" the customers signed by buying a ticket!
Conditions can change very quickly and it would be very expensive to continuously monitor everything. I've skied runs in spring where a cloud rolls in and within 1 minute, the snow feel changes considerably. Then the sun comes out again, and it changes back.

That said, if there is a run prepped for WC racing, there should be a warning posted. Those surfaces are pretty durable and stay icy/firm much longer than the rest of the terrain.
 
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slowrider

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A lot of the of terrain served by Summit chair is effectively above tree line. Juicy Pineapple Express storms followed by an abrupt cold front will often glaze the summit. Sometimes the icing is so bad it can take a few days just to clear the Summit lift & get it rolling again.

I've skied Summit on really icy days. Including days when it was literally sheet ice from the summit to mid mountain (or worse). Every time (for me) Bachelor did groom the main designated groomer runs (eg: Beverly Hills) - but it on really bad days the results would be like ice gravel. Skiable & better than glare ice. BUT (on some big ice days), if you strayed from the groomed you'd be on an ice sheet & going fast quickly. In some situations it can feel to folks like attempting to stop would be tempting disaster - so folks will try to ride it out. I've seen it & watch them crash & slide forever. Sometimes the groomed ice gravel is just too irritating for me so I'll ski the ice sheet (I grew up skiing ice & I keep my edges tuned & sharp). Regardless, if it's a severely glazed day off the Summit and you fall you're going to slide down the terrain for a good while.

I've never been warned by lifties, patrol or even a Bachelor ambassador that it was too icy to be "safe". Why should they? Ice and it's sibling - *snow* - are the fundamental natural risks related to skiing. If there's snow there's going to be ice. If there's too much snow (too deep) or ice (too much) the difficulty level goes up & skiers must make their choices accordingly.

If you're a long time PNW skier, you learn to see that telltale glaze on the untracked snow off the groomed and know it's an ice layer that you either avoid or adjust accordingly.
I know you're right. I've never been told that conditions were unfavorable by bachelor staff either. I've been scolded by patrol however. Slow down..... anyway, I'm not pointing fingers but a parent should be vigilant in making decisions for their children. I coach young racers and I would be hesitant to expose them to those conditions. IMO no 9 year old should have been on Summit. Good day.
 
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blue

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I am sorry for their tragic loss. Why does it have to have a party at fault here? Michael Schumacher isn't suing anyone and the state isn't suing the parents for negligence. Mountain conditions changes rapidly and especially at PNW. It is less reasonable for all employees know all conditions over the mountain all the time than for the parents to not let a 9 year old go to the summit of Mt Bachelor. If Mt Bachelor loses and sets a precedent, then we're going to see more dumb rules applied everywhere else.

I've even skied some poorly groomed runs here in MN where frozen ice chunks size of soda cans filled the run without feeling the need to sue.(seemed like they used some tool to break up the refrozen powder from previous day into broken up ice chunks, but they did not groom over it with the grooming tool).
 

blue

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Might see a company rule barring employees from discussing snow conditions with guests.
Might see banning people skiing in icy conditions; might see banning children from taking lifts that serve non beginner slopes. I mean just look at the newly regulated gas cans.
 

slowrider

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Might see banning people skiing in icy conditions; might see banning children from taking lifts that serve non beginner slopes. I mean just look at the newly regulated gas cans.
I hate those new gas can. Hate
 

crgildart

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^^^Yiou can't have my old gas cans.. I'm glad I have several old gas cans LOLOL

When you go to a public pool do you still have to show the lifeguard you can swim across the shallow end before the staff allows you to swim in the deep end? I had that happen less than 5 years ago where it was still the case..
 
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