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The dangerous lure of skiing out of bounds

billski

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Ludlow, Vermont - February 10, 2011
Going out of bounds and into the wilderness can provide quite a thrill. And it's gaining popularity.


"As the equipment has evolved so have the people using it and more and more terrain is being explored," said Sun Park of the Outdoor Gear Exchange.


Improvements like lighter, thicker skis, better bindings, and snowboards that split in two allowing for longer treks deeper into the trees; tools helping some mountain enthusiasts find what they describe as great adventure.


And access is growing easier as well. In a matter of moments a person can go from being on a resort trail to on their way into the unmarked, unpatrolled woods. But that great sense of adventure can turn dangerous quickly.


"Just because a person has the right equipment doesn't mean they have the right judgment. It takes time to travel safely in the backcountry," Park said.
In February alone there have been 10 mountain rescues for lost skiers. And those rescues have not been isolated to one area or resort; stretching from Burke Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom to Mount Mansfield and further south at Killington and Pico Mountains.


"I've been doing this for about 30 years now and there is no question there is a correlation between good snow and good conditions and people heading for the backcountry," said Neil Van Dyke of Stowe Mountain Rescue.
According to Van Dyke, in a typical response time is key; the earlier they respond the better. Response typically starts small with resort ski patrol, then specialized mountain rescue teams like Stowe Mountain Rescue and finally the Vermont State Police. Thankfully all rescue operations have been successful this year, but who exactly foots the bill for these operations?
Vermont state statute says rescue crews, resorts and the state can go after the person rescued in court to recover the costs. But that's not usually what happens.
"It's really hard to quantify it. A lot of organizations are volunteer. Same with state resources. And a lot of people-- it's part of their job," Van Dyke said.
Rescue teams worry that a big bill could send the wrong message.
"We are really very concerned about creating an environment or situation where there could be a large cost put to the person being rescued, because frankly it makes our job much more difficult if somebody perhaps delays calling because of the cost. It makes it more difficult and it makes it more dangerous for us," Van Dyke said.


A growing sport that's experiencing growing pains as more people go off-trail in search of fresh powder.


While the State Police and Mountain Rescue squads typically do not charge for rescues resorts still can. Jay Peak is one resort that will charge skiers and riders for rescues because it puts their staff at risk. A four-hour rescue can run into the hundreds of dollars. At Killington and Pico, where a majority of those rescues happened earlier this month, officials there say they will not charge those folks.
Ian Oliver - WCAX News


Source
 

BenedictGomez

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At Killington and Pico, where a majority of those rescues happened

Hah!

If I hadnt read the article, and I was forced to guess "where a majority of those rescues happened", that would have been my guess.
 

kingslug

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10_alta_amy_theresa_kingslug_commachute_110206.jpg


Yup..the lure can be dangerouse as we found out at Alta at a very rarely skied chute.....
 

kingslug

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Hmmm...know the name of it??? its NEVER open..don't know why they opened it this day...incredibly scary getting to it...you're skirting right above a 150 foot cliff....no more than 8 feet from the drop...the chute wasn't bad though...
 

Puck it

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Hmmm...know the name of it??? its NEVER open..don't know why they opened it this day...incredibly scary getting to it...you're skirting right above a 150 foot cliff....no more than 8 feet from the drop...the chute wasn't bad though...
Nope. We were not with a local. It is OB at Alta. Right? I thought you were skiing tirolpeter and some of the locals. They didn't tell you.
 

kingslug

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I was..its the comma chute..I was was some first tracks people....funny thing was the troupe of..younger..more insane people that showed up and just dived right off the wall into the chute..
 

Puck it

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I was..its the comma chute..I was was some first tracks people....funny thing was the troupe of..younger..more insane people that showed up and just dived right off the wall into the chute..

Off of Supreme lift and head left of it.
 

dmc

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Rescue teams worry that a big bill could send the wrong message.
"We are really very concerned about creating an environment or situation where there could be a large cost put to the person being rescued, because frankly it makes our job much more difficult if somebody perhaps delays calling because of the cost. It makes it more difficult and it makes it more dangerous for us," Van Dyke said.

very true..
 

awf170

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In February alone there have been 10 mountain rescues for lost skiers. And those rescues have not been isolated to one area or resort; stretching from Burke Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom to Mount Mansfield and further south at Killington and Pico Mountains.

I wonder how many of those people had dukes, wicked fat skis, and alpine boots? My guess is all ten.:dunce:
 
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