Summit Daily letter: Keep skiing safe on our slopes; marching orders
January 8, 2017
Keep Summit skiing safe
On Jan. 4, I read in the Summit Daily News about an instructor at Keystone who was hit by a jumping male snowboarder at the base of the Haywood run. He caused her multiple fractures. He then fled the scene. To date, no one has found him. I write about this because, on the very same day, I rode a lift at Keystone and had a fellow tell me that his wife had been hit the day before by a boarder and had suffered a concussion. I, myself, was hit by a boarder not more than a week prior to this. I was on Silverspoon and was making gentle, contained turns when an out-of-control boarder ran on to the backs of my skis, turning me around on the spot. My son and the boarder's friend witnessed the whole thing. Not having eyes in the back of my head, I couldn't see what was happening; but, I surely could hear it coming!
This isn't anything new in the world of skiing and boarding. No one yet has come up with a solution for these unfortunately and, too often, painful, damaging and traumatic accidents. But I have a few observations.
The first is that I try to be a "Mountain Misanthrope." I don't want to ski with anyone around me and do my best to avoid others. My mantra is: "I don't want to see ya, I don't want to feel ya, I don't want to hear ya and I certainly don't want smell ya." I may come to like you when we're riding the lifts together, but once we hit the white stuff, our friendship becomes a threat and a liability.
My second point is that living in Summit County affords me the opportunity to ski when there are fewer people on the mountain. I never, ever ski Keystone on the weekends. It's just too crowded and that makes it all the more dangerous. Relishing first tracks, I try to ski early and get off the slopes around 10 to 10:30 a.m., when a greater volume of people arrives.
The third point is that no ski resort has enough people to monitor the daredevil behavior we increasingly have come to witness and fear. Keystone, for example, stations "Yellow Jackets" at some spots to try to slow speeders and straightliners, but unless they are empowered, energized and encouraged to pull passes, their effectiveness is gravely limited. Understanding that pulling passes has economic implications, I would be interested in seeing a published number of passes that were pulled in say, 2016. In the interest of public safety, I'll bet that most of the readers of this newspaper, especially all those who have been hit, would wish that it had been and will be more.
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I don't know many people who haven't been hit on the slopes. Most of us ski and ride with as much caution as we can and are appalled by some of the selfish, careless, and outright dangerous behavior we encounter. We also recognize far too many people who don't have the skills to control their equipment. Because they resist taking lessons, they are a danger to themselves and others. I reserve special contempt and disgust for those who bring their friends and relatives who have never skied or boarded before and just set them free on the mountain. It is no act of love or friendship. It's just plainly dangerous.
This said, if you are hit, be sure to get the offender's pass number. I now carry with me pencil (not ballpoint) and paper. If, in the future, I again suffer a collision, you can bet that I'll get that number. In certain instances, I'll also be demanding that the perp lose his/her pass.
One more thing: To all those on the slopes who put whim, thrill and self-gratification over safety, know that, if I do get hit and injured, I'll probably lose my ability ever to ski again. I am of that generation whose bones are more brittle and whose ability to bounce back is more limited. So, to all those who don't understand that the downhill person, whether skier or boarder, has the right of way, expect me to sue you to the limit of your liability for your ignorance, negligence and irresponsibility. Don't expect me to be turning the other cheek. I'm going to make as sure as I can that never again will you have the resources to purchase another lift ticket. Your days of reckless abandon at the expense of others will be over.
For those of you who think that this letter is too harsh or angry, I ask you to speak to your fellow lift riders and ask them about their experiences. If they've been hit, I'll bet you'll encounter the same passionate responses I have expressed here. They don't much differ from those who have been hit by an impaired driver. That they still want to ski or board is a testament to the sport's allure. It would be so much better if we all determine to collaborate to make it safer!
Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman
I choose to march because…
I plan to march. On January 21, millions of women across the country will be marching to express their voice and taking part in the Women's March on Washington and in sister cities. Some people criticize us for being anti-democratic, sore losers, and pinheads, but none of those tags are true. I won't be marching to protest the vote. I will be marching because women matter. I will be marching because I'm half the planet's population, and I'm not going away.
I march because I matter.
I march because I believe in freedom.
I march because I have a voice.
I march because I love my country.
I march because I have daughters.
I march because I have a son.
I march because I have a mother.
I march because I have sisters, a brother, a husband, nieces and nephews and cousins.
I march for my grandmothers and great grandmothers who marched before me.
I march for my father, brothers, grandfathers and ancestors who've passsed and can't march.
I march because I represent marginalized voices.
I march because we matter.
I march because I love pure democracy.
I march because I choose to march.
I march because I believe choice matters.
I march because I am tired of people telling me how to feel and how to act.
I march because women should not be called fat or ugly.
I march because assault is not okay.
I march because women are more than contestants in a beauty pageant.
I march because I don't want to be ranked by my looks.
I march because women have brains.
I march because I believe in good and right and equality.
I march because we need to heal.
I march because women should not be marginalized or minimalized to objects.
I march because women are not lesser human beings.
I march because women should not be afraid to be women.
I march because I love.
I march because I care.
I march because I am not afraid.
I march because I want others to know women matter.
I march because women should be able to choose what they do with their bodies.
I march because when the environment is ignored, women suffer first.
I march because women should not die in backroom, coat-hanger abortions.
I march because I care about early childcare initiatives that help women.
I march because locker room talk hurts women.
I march because I have a right to feel safe.
I march because women should not be thrown into poverty because men got them pregnant.
I march because I have a vagina and am not embarrassed or ashamed to say it.
I march because women should be paid what men are paid.
I march because it is time to move forward, move beyond sexism.
I march because I need to feel hopeful about my future.
I march because I don't want to feel terrified alone.
I march because women working together can transform the planet.
I march because I love and stand with my LGBTQIA, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, black, brown, indigenous, disabled, ethnic, hurt, abused, and all of my sisters.
I march because we won't move backward.
I march because we matter.
I march because I matter.
Join me. The organizers for the Women's March on Washington posted this statement; "We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country."
If you can't get to Washington DC, go local! There are over 30 states planning sister marches, including in Colorado. The event in Denver will be 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. on January 21 at Denver's Civic Center Park. For more information and other marches, check out: https://www.womensmarch.com/colorado/
Breckenridge and renewable energy
I would like to urge the Town of Breckenridge to continue to work towards the goal of 100% renewable energy. I hope we can acheive this goal within ten years. The city has already researched and implemented steps towards converting municipal electricity usage for city owned facilities to renewable sources. I would like the town to look at converting over time all city heating and transportation to electric sources. This way renewable sources of electricity such building or leasing solar gardens and buying wind power credits can be utilized as we work towards a goal of 100% renewable energy.
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