• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Investigation Into the Tragic Death of Nick Zoricic

MadMadWorld

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
4,082
Points
38
Location
Leominster, MA
The decision: There was no 3rd party involvement and no breach of duty of care.

For those unfamiliar with the situation:

Racing down the World Cup course in Grindelwald, Switzerland, on March 10, 2012, Mr. Zoricic soared over the last jump and veered towards the right, crashing at full force into safety netting beside the finish line. He died that day from head injuries sustained in the accident. The police in the canton of Bern immediately opened an investigation at the request of the attorney-general’s office, the standard procedure in unusual accidents that result in death.

The death of Mr. Zoricic, 29, shook the world of ski cross, raising questions about the safety of the course in Grindelwald as well as the young sport itself. Ski cross is often described as BMX or NASCAR on skis, with four skiers at a time flying down a winding course full of jumps. The sport is set to make its second appearance in the Winter Olympics this year, in the Sochi Games beginning this weekend.
Critics, including athletes and Mr. Zoricic’s family, have alleged that the design of the Grindelwald course was responsible for Mr. Zoricic’s death, saying that the final jump was too close to the finish line, and that it pulled the racers to the right where there was hard snow.

Eric Archer, the head coach of the Canadian team, told his team that the line of the race course at the final jump was off to the side rather than in the centre and that it could get tight on the right side, according to a copy of the Swiss police report published on Mr. Danson’s website. Mr. Archer said, however, that the choice of the racing line was not necessarily unusual.
The Swiss authorities found in their investigation that the course met the standards set for ski-cross competitions.

The video below shows what happened

<strong>


Who do you believe is responsible? The skier? the course designer/resort?
 

MadMadWorld

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
4,082
Points
38
Location
Leominster, MA
The lawyer for the Zoricic' family describes what they believe to be negligent behavior from the course designer and resort

<strong>
 

deadheadskier

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
26,999
Points
113
Location
Southeast NH
Unless the athlete skied the course blind, he knew of the risks. That said, it seems like a very dangerous design.

Tragic.

ski/snowboard cross is completely nuts. I'd rather take a shot at a downhill course than compete in any cross event.
 

MidnightJester

Active member
Joined
Oct 7, 2011
Messages
265
Points
28
I would like to know how all the other prior races ended in earlier heats on this course. Did they have numerous heats of 4 both boarders and skiers on this course throughout the day that finished the course with normal jumps. Were they all thrown far right into the course. Or did this group of 3 skiers take a line that pushed them to the right. Also the videos singular perspective makes things tough.
 

MadMadWorld

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
4,082
Points
38
Location
Leominster, MA
I think the first skier tried to cut the other 2 off to get the inside track which made the other 2 move over. Is the take off and landing off? Probably. But they would have had a walk through and practice runs in advance. The one thing that bothers me is the terrible design of the finish line. The netting probably wouldn't have made a difference. He was killed instantly when he impacted with the snow pile. I don't know if that's enough to show negligence but that was just plain stupid.
 

MadMadWorld

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
4,082
Points
38
Location
Leominster, MA
I would like to know how all the other prior races ended in earlier heats on this course. Did they have numerous heats of 4 both boarders and skiers on this course throughout the day that finished the course with normal jumps. Were they all thrown far right into the course. Or did this group of 3 skiers take a line that pushed them to the right. Also the videos singular perspective makes things tough.

Another angle...

 

BenedictGomez

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
11,419
Points
83
Location
PRNJ

ski/snowboard cross is completely nuts.
I'd rather take a shot at a downhill course than compete in any cross event.

It didnt used to be like that. ALL these friggin' "extreme" sports, it's like they're pushing the envelope year-after-year for the attention and ratings rather than the sport. I would like ski/snowboard cross just as much if there wasnt a massive kicker at the bottom.

The worst event? Snowmobile Freestyle (or whatever it's called) in the X-Games - that sport will end eventually, but it will take a few deaths first (there has "only" been one so far). Lets play chicken at 40 feet with an 800lb vehicle. It's completely insane.
 

MadMadWorld

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
4,082
Points
38
Location
Leominster, MA
It didnt used to be like that. ALL these friggin' "extreme" sports, it's like they're pushing the envelope year-after-year for the attention and ratings rather than the sport. I would like ski/snowboard cross just as much if there wasnt a massive kicker at the bottom.

The worst event? Snowmobile Freestyle (or whatever it's called) in the X-Games - that sport will end eventually, but it will take a few deaths first.

Snowmobile Freestyle is insane. It's extreme just doing inverted tricks at that height throw in a sled that weighs 400 lbs and you have a death wish. I cringe when I see the Caleb Moore video
 

abc

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
5,487
Points
83
Location
Lower Hudson Valley
Did he hit the finish hut?

If so, it's clearly a course safety issue.

Why are there so many nettings along the side? Surely it isn't as flags to not cross. It's there to prevent or reduce injury IN CASE the skiers lost control!

Skiercross is a contact race. So collision and lost of control is to be expected when every racer is pushing to get an edge. There's assumption of safety EVEN IF one crashes. Otherwise, how can they push themselves if any crash could mean death?

When Mr. Zoricic flew over that last jump, he's only looking to land it as far and as fast as he can, not thinking about hitting the finishing hut!

Not saying the course designer is at fault. Only that the course is not as safe as it could be, and it's not good sport for racers having to worry about losing not just their race but their life!
 

drjeff

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
18,197
Points
113
Location
Brooklyn, CT
Not sure if it was the design of the course (except maybe the width of the finish area both between the pylons and the adjacent snow bank) or the course marking paint and potentially its alignment.

If your in a race, especially a speed race, you often NEED to utilize the course marking paint, especially on jumps with blind landings. The fact, and I know it could just be a camera angle thing, that prior to the jump all 3 racer seemed to be in the center of the marking paint line and then in the air off the jump all 3 racers are noticeably to skiers right.

Something seems weird here based on how "smooth" each racer was in the air.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using AlpineZone mobile app
 

bigbog

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
4,882
Points
38
Location
Bangor and the state's woodlands
I have no idea, but it should be the top people of the event along with Archer. He should've run it, at least at a mediocre pace. The top guy hires the course designer...y/n?, which is usually as much cut rate as they can get...profit above everything else. That's what matters these days...
I just get the sense that these top guys are more concerned with what quality alchohol is stocked at the bar...at these events...
 
Last edited:

bigbog

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
4,882
Points
38
Location
Bangor and the state's woodlands
......The worst event? Snowmobile Freestyle (or whatever it's called) in the X-Games - that sport will end eventually, but it will take a few deaths first (there has "only" been one so far). Lets play chicken at 40 feet with an 800lb vehicle. It's completely insane.

Among the worst..+1....but it's the same testosterone challenge with big $$$ for young guys/women... The top people with the deep pockets are pathetic slime with dark minds.....imho.
 

Twism86

New member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
139
Points
0
Location
Highland Park, NJ
Website
gardenstatetrout.com
Not too seem cold or anything, which I am far from, but at the end of the day we all control how our lives turn out. Almost all loss of life is tragic and I hate hearing about it in the sports that we all love and are meant for enjoyment.

These are extreme sports that are meant to be challenging and push the limits. If they weren't everyone would be able/have the guts to do it. Do I need to keep trying bigger jumps every time I ski? No, but its fun and I accept the risk. All of these racers know and understand the risks, no one wants to or thinks they will die but its something im sure they all understand is a possibility. At the end of the day they have the final say, if a course is too dangerous, pull out of the race. No one is pushing them off the starting line. When an extreme athlete straps on their helmet and "goes for it" they know the risks and willingly face them. Blaming someone else for an athlete's death and their decision to participate in an extreme and dangerous sport is pathetic.
 

abc

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
5,487
Points
83
Location
Lower Hudson Valley
I would pretty much say skiing in general is an extreme sport with inherent risks. Strapping slippery boards to feet and sliding down a mountain counts as an extreme sport.
that's an interesting definition I've not heard before. perhaps I should ask what 'sport' would you consider non-extreme sport?
 

Twism86

New member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
139
Points
0
Location
Highland Park, NJ
Website
gardenstatetrout.com
that's an interesting definition I've not heard before. perhaps I should ask what 'sport' would you consider non-extreme sport?

Curling? Although you could slip on the ice and hit your head and die too. Im not going to discuss what I consider an extreme sport over another. Every sport and activity has risks, some are just greater than others. As a willing and reasonable participant we accept the risks of the activities we partake in.
 

MadMadWorld

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Messages
4,082
Points
38
Location
Leominster, MA
Downhill ski racing as well. I would pretty much say skiing in general is an extreme sport with inherent risks. Strapping slippery boards to feet and sliding down a mountain counts as an extreme sport.

Should there be no expectation of safety then? I think the concussion case against the NFL shows that there should be. Maybe you don't consider football an extreme sport but I think a lot of doctors may disagree.
 

Twism86

New member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
139
Points
0
Location
Highland Park, NJ
Website
gardenstatetrout.com
Should there be no expectation of safety then? I think the concussion case against the NFL shows that there should be. Maybe you don't consider football an extreme sport but I think a lot of doctors may disagree.

Of course not! Safety should be a very important factor but there is only so much that can be done. In the case of Zoricic I think the finish landing/area should have been much wider as the chances of contact, falling or being bumped off course are greater at the very end. Hindsight is 20/20 though. Also, as is often the case with extreme sports, athletes push the limits faster than safety measures and technology can catch up. That or they push the limits beyond what safety measures can provide (i.e. base jumping).

If you categorized extreme sports from least to most extreme I think football would be knocking to get in or at the lower level. I think my fellow Rutgers alumnus Eric LeGrand would argue that football is an extreme sport, dont you think?
 

thetrailboss

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
30,329
Points
113
Location
NEK by Birth
Did he hit the finish hut?

If so, it's clearly a course safety issue.

Why are there so many nettings along the side? Surely it isn't as flags to not cross. It's there to prevent or reduce injury IN CASE the skiers lost control!

Skiercross is a contact race. So collision and lost of control is to be expected when every racer is pushing to get an edge. There's assumption of safety EVEN IF one crashes. Otherwise, how can they push themselves if any crash could mean death?

When Mr. Zoricic flew over that last jump, he's only looking to land it as far and as fast as he can, not thinking about hitting the finishing hut!

Not saying the course designer is at fault. Only that the course is not as safe as it could be, and it's not good sport for racers having to worry about losing not just their race but their life!

I'm late to the game here, but it looked like he hit the fence and then a snow/ice bank or a building.
 
Top