Al Thomas: Ski area need better safety enforcement |

Al Thomas: Ski area need better safety enforcement

I have been a homeowner at Copper since 1988. On Jan. 30, I was skiing at Copper with one of my local neighbors. We were crossing High Point – a green, slow-skiing area – to go back to The East Village for lunch. I stopped to wait for my neighbor by the “Slow Skiing” banner in a group of eight-10 skiers. I make it a practice to stop by those slow-skiing banners because I feel safe there. I was immediately hit by a snowboarder going at a very high rate of speed. This person was completely out of control riding into a crowd in a slow-skiing zone.

The blunt force of the impact knocked me out of my bindings and 20 feet down the hill. At least 10 people witnessed this accident, including a former ski patroller who provided complete details to Copper ski patrol officials. Unable to get up I was transported by the ski patrol on a sled to Copper Mountain clinic where I received emergency treatment.

I suffered contusions to my face, an injured rib cage that hurts every time I move and a severely injured shoulder. My skiing for that trip was over. I returned to South Carolina 10 days early for medical treatment. I visited an orthopedic surgeon who ordered an MRI. I am in constant pain and may require surgery.

A requested ski incident report was furnished to me by Copper Mountain. I met with Charles Payne “Risk and Safety.” I asked if the other party had been cited. Mr. Payne explained that unless a Copper employee was an actual eye witness to an event, it was Copper’s policy not to issue any citations. In my case the other party admitted to skiing in excess of 10 mph in a slow-ski zone and to having at least one alcoholic beverage before the incident. I wonder if this person was impaired.

My South Carolina attorney has already written to the snowboarder who ran into me suggesting that we settle out of court. It is my intention to pursue all legal means to achieve justice in this case.

Copper, you could have done better!

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