Monday, 28 January 2008

Safe Skiing

After seeing a spate of accidents on the mountain recently, including my own mishap a couple of weeks ago, I decided to write something on ski safety. Our ski school building (above) has been covered in protective orange padding since last week to protect it from the skiers hurling themselves into it's walls. Actually it was put up after a young girl crashed into the wall and was lucky to escape with a broken wrist. Hopefully now anyone skiing into the building will escape serious injury.

That collision was a one off, but out of control skiers are all too common. Whilst losing control occasionally when learning to ski is normal, putting oneself in a position where losing control could hurt somebody is reckless. Time and again I see people hurtling down the mountain without the slightest semblance of control, and then going back up to do the same thing. I have some sympathy for the 'can do' attitude, but when transferred to skiing runs way beyond your ability it is likely to be somebody else that gets injured when you knock them out of the way. The most frustrating aspect of this is when the same people continuously fly down out of control, not caring who they crash into, and getting beligerant when anyone challenges them and points out how dangerous their behaviour is to other slope users.

I have no objection to people pushing their own limits and taking a risk they have judged and accepted. However when bystanders are put at risk it is a different issue. Perhaps the biggest risk as a ski instructor is being crashed into by other skiers or snowboarders. It has happened to a number of my colleagues, some of whom have lost significant amounts of work and income as a result. All because someone is too arrogant or selfish to think about the consequences of their actions.

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