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Author Topic: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel  (Read 4337 times)
Crystal Patrol
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Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« on: 12/10/17, 02:55 PM »

Now that Crystal Mountain is open we ask that everyone adheres to our uphill travel policy. You can find the link on our website here.

Here it is in a nutshell: when we are not doing avalanche control anywhere in the ski area we allow uphill travel on designated runs. Those runs may change slightly based on our crowds and conditions. Everyone skinning up within our ski area boundary must check in with the patrol every day (one per group is okay) in order to find out the approved route.

The Mine to Market Road (the cat track that heads to the Gold Hills Cabins) is outside of our ski area boundary and always open to uphill travel. Also, we can no longer allow uphill travel in Southback now that we are open for the season. This is an area where we do avalanche control, and any uphill travel is strictly prohibited.

We’ve noticed a skin track in the Exit Chute and some posts on social media of skiers in this area. If this continues we will have to restrict all uphill travel within our ski area boundary at all times. Don’t be the guy/gal that ruins it for everybody. Just to clarify: it’s okay to travel into the part of Silver Basin that’s not in our ski area boundary, but not okay to skin/hike into Southback, which extends from the top of the Throne to the Three Way Exit Chute.

Feel free to stop in and ask questions at the patrol station near the bottom of the gondola. We also have a snow safety board with recent pits and forecasts.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #1 on: 12/10/17, 05:40 PM »

Question:  I was touring outside the permit boundary a few weeks ago (1st day the lifts were spinning actually)   My party checked in with Ski Patrol in the morning.

When we stopped by the ski patrol office at 3:45pm I discovered that the Crystal Ski Patrol had tried calling my and my ski partner's cell phones several (20?) minutes earlier.  Since the phones were in airplane mode to conserve battery, we didn't answer.   Crystal Ski Patrol then called my emergency contact -- which freaked her out.

So I'm wondering if calling the cell numbers of backcountry parties is now something that is part of Crystal's "sweep" procedure?   
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kneel turner
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #2 on: 12/10/17, 06:28 PM »

So no uphill travel within south Back? No more Throne/King/Threeway access? What a shame.
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No, I'm not a telephone solicitor. I ski with my heels free.
kneel turner
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #3 on: 12/10/17, 06:36 PM »

BTW, funny (not) that the marketing department uses those photos on Facebook as promotional material.
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No, I'm not a telephone solicitor. I ski with my heels free.
jeremyallyn
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #4 on: 12/10/17, 07:58 PM »

Crystal Patrol - I think it would be very helpful if you post a USGS topo map (1:24,000 scale with the line drawn on it) on your website in addition to the FatMap screen shot. Your description of Southback vs. Silver Basin is good, but it would be even better if it was accompanied by a topo. A lot of folks have a hard time placing local names and runs once they get in the terrain (especially in bad vis, or if they're new to the area) and I'm sure they would appreciate a real map plus the aerial shot. Thanks!
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altasnob
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #5 on: 12/10/17, 09:24 PM »

Here's what I believe patrol is saying


* silver_basin_terrain_TAY.jpg (195.44 KB, 799x550 - viewed 1466 times.)

* silver_basin_topo_TAY.jpg (246.46 KB, 690x464 - viewed 1470 times.)
« Last Edit: 12/10/17, 09:29 PM by altasnob » Logged
altasnob
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #6 on: 12/10/17, 09:31 PM »

Here is the "exit chute" skiers left side of three-way that they are referring to. Not ok to skin up (so you must go the long way to get to Crystal Lakes, if that is your destination).

Crystal's uphill policy post from last year.
« Last Edit: 12/11/17, 08:07 AM by altasnob » Logged
Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #7 on: 12/11/17, 04:01 PM »

Question:  I was touring outside the permit boundary a few weeks ago (1st day the lifts were spinning actually)   My party checked in with Ski Patrol in the morning.

When we stopped by the ski patrol office at 3:45pm I discovered that the Crystal Ski Patrol had tried calling my and my ski partner's cell phones several (20?) minutes earlier.  Since the phones were in airplane mode to conserve battery, we didn't answer.   Crystal Ski Patrol then called my emergency contact -- which freaked her out.

So I'm wondering if calling the cell numbers of backcountry parties is now something that is part of Crystal's "sweep" procedure?   


Randy,

That's not part of our normal procedure. Not sure what happened there. We have actually just changed the "backcountry registration" process to be entirely self check-in and out. There's a clipboard on our Snow Safety Board in the patrol locker room, and you can fill it out yourself. We use this in the event that a friend/loved one reports you missing. We don't expect everyone to check out, especially if it's after hours. But it is helpful.
 
For uphill travel within our ski area boundary, you still need to talk to the dispatcher. Hope that helps.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #8 on: 12/11/17, 04:02 PM »

Crystal Patrol - I think it would be very helpful if you post a USGS topo map (1:24,000 scale with the line drawn on it) on your website in addition to the FatMap screen shot. Your description of Southback vs. Silver Basin is good, but it would be even better if it was accompanied by a topo. A lot of folks have a hard time placing local names and runs once they get in the terrain (especially in bad vis, or if they're new to the area) and I'm sure they would appreciate a real map plus the aerial shot. Thanks!


This is a great point. We are working on putting out a better map soon. Stay tuned!
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #9 on: 12/11/17, 04:05 PM »

Here's what I believe patrol is saying

This is precisely it. You just can't skin up where we do avalanche control. That's what we are trying to avoid. There are other areas well within our ski area boundary that have always been closed to uphill travel. It's because we do AC there. I realize that 5, 10, 20 years ago we allowed it. But with the uptick in uphill travel we have to take a more serious stand.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #10 on: 12/11/17, 04:09 PM »

So no uphill travel within south Back? No more Throne/King/Threeway access? What a shame.

I hear you. We tried for several years to find a way to make this work. But to no avail. And yep, marketing shared a post that was taken in SE Trees. Big oops. We are working on getting everyone on board. It's an uphill battle (no pun intended).

This year it's been especially hard because Chair 6 and Southback haven't been open from the top much. Currently, you can hike up Powder Pass to top of Chair 6 and across to Southback. The key is that you have to enter through our gates and read our signs. It's a liability thing. Thanks for understanding.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #11 on: 12/11/17, 06:08 PM »

Crystal Patrol:  Thanks for the update on check-in/check-out/closing procedure -- looks like my experience was likely an opening day glitch. 

Anyone that want to know: The Crystal Ski Patrol's blog has a useful map of boundary between "Southback" and the rest of Silver Basin.



There is also this description:
Quote
Southback vs. Silver Basin
Southback sits within Silver Basin, but does not take up the entire basin. It is still okay to skin up into the section of Silver Basin that is not within our ski area boundary. Before getting to the “airstrip”–the long flat section at the base of Southback–turn left as you travel uphill (marked above with the red star), and skin along the climber’s left flank of the airstrip, heading towards the base of Chicken Head and Triple F. Joe’s Badass Shoulder and the climber’s left flank of Threeway are outside of our ski area boundary. It’s still okay to tour into these areas.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #12 on: 12/11/17, 06:36 PM »

Currently, you can hike up Powder Pass to top of Chair 6 and across to Southback. The key is that you have to enter through our gates and read our signs. It's a liability thing. Thanks for understanding.

So to confirm current policy -- one may skin up along the edges of "Arwines" (lower and upper) , along "Lucky Shot" to "Powder Pass" and then right along the eastern edge of "Kempers permanently closed area" to the summit of "Silver Queen" and then follow the normal lift assisted skier's route over to Southback?    If so -- can one start skinning before the lifts start spinning or does one need to wait until the area is open and control work on powder bowl is completed ?

What about skinning up "Queens Run" to base of "Chair 6" and then working up "Hamburger Bowl" to access "Southback Gate #1"  (Names from the FATMAP application)

Thanks in advance.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #13 on: 12/12/17, 07:18 AM »

So to confirm current policy -- one may skin up along the edges of "Arwines" (lower and upper) , along "Lucky Shot" to "Powder Pass" and then right along the eastern edge of "Kempers permanently closed area" to the summit of "Silver Queen" and then follow the normal lift assisted skier's route over to Southback?    If so -- can one start skinning before the lifts start spinning or does one need to wait until the area is open and control work on powder bowl is completed ?

What about skinning up "Queens Run" to base of "Chair 6" and then working up "Hamburger Bowl" to access "Southback Gate #1"  (Names from the FATMAP application)

Thanks in advance.

The route up Little Shot to Powder Pass is not always open. This is why you must check in with patrol to see the approved route of the day. On weekends and busy days, we usually don't let people travel uphill due to crowding. Right now Lucky Shot is the only way off the upper mountain, and so it's closed to uphill travel. Hiking up to Campbell Basin is not a route we ever approve. It's simply too crowded on those runs. We also want people to hike up from Powder Pass right now so that they read the signs. This is how we manage all of our avalanche prone terrain. You have to go through a gate and read the signs. This configuration should only last a little while longer. To access Southback without being a customer of Crystal, you'd need to head over to Morse Creek, then to Crystal Lakes and drop into Southback from the top. On certain non-busy days in the spring, when the avalanche threat below Powder Bowl is non-existent, we will allow uphill travel up Little Shot. But it isn't the norm.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #14 on: 12/12/17, 07:36 AM »

The route up Little Shot to Powder Pass is not always open. This is why you must check in with patrol to see the approved route of the day. On weekends and busy days, we usually don't let people travel uphill due to crowding. Right now Lucky Shot is the only way off the upper mountain, and so it's closed to uphill travel. Hiking up to Campbell Basin is not a route we ever approve. It's simply too crowded on those runs. We also want people to hike up from Powder Pass right now so that they read the signs. This is how we manage all of our avalanche prone terrain. You have to go through a gate and read the signs. This configuration should only last a little while longer. To access Southback without being a customer of Crystal, you'd need to head over to Morse Creek, then to Crystal Lakes and drop into Southback from the top. On certain non-busy days in the spring, when the avalanche threat below Powder Bowl is non-existent, we will allow uphill travel up Little Shot. But it isn't the norm.

Reading this, it sounds like the option to tour up through the resort to powder pass for practical purposes doesn't exist on weekend days during the winter.
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Doug Hutchinson
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #15 on: 12/15/17, 11:50 AM »

Thank you Crystal Patrol for striving hard to strike a good balance between skier safety and access. One of the reasons I switched to Crystal from another resort is because the Crystal Patrol is obviously focused on providing a great customer experience. Keep up the good work.
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flowing alpy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #16 on: 12/17/17, 07:33 AM »

indeed, more folks should follow this example and make the southern resort their go to destination as well. good on you Doug for making this positive decision to switch to crystal and their great customer service model, they have no time for mediocracy.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #17 on: 12/24/17, 02:30 PM »

Thanks Doug. Appreciate it.
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Heli-Free North Cascades
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #18 on: 12/27/17, 03:41 PM »

Quote"We’ve noticed a skin track in the Exit Chute and some posts on social media of skiers in this area. If this continues we will have to restrict all uphill travel within our ski area boundary at all times. Don’t be the guy/gal that ruins it for everybody. Just to clarify: it’s okay to travel into the part of Silver Basin that’s not in our ski area boundary, but not okay to skin/hike into Southback, which extends from the top of the Throne to the Three Way Exit Chute."

So you're willing to punish everyone for the mistakes of One person or group.

What grounds would you use to justify closing public land to uphill travel?

If it's safe now to skin up according to your current rules, why would it be suddenly unsafe to skin up the hill according to your rules just because one group or person chose to ignore or didn't understand the rules?

Does crystal punish all its paying customers when one of its paying customers ignores the ski area policy?

I really think these types of threats and unfair policies are what causes people to assert  their rights to access public land.

I can hear the announcement now over the lift PA speakers.

" attention attention all Crystal Mountain skiers and snowboarders- a Scottish fellow just skied a closed run- we will be closed for the rest of the season. We warned you this would happen"


« Last Edit: 12/27/17, 05:33 PM by freeski » Logged

two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice
C Hedges
BCSchonwald
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #19 on: 12/27/17, 08:06 PM »

Freeski, again trolling does not further the discussion. This is WA State Law, not some arbitrary punishment. If the ski area determines a boundary then it is up to us, the bc community to respect this or lose the 'privilege' of touring uphill through a ski area. The idea you wish to perpetuate that the public lands the ski area is on is open to all goes against the actual law that is enforced by the the sheriff and state troopers. Do you argue with a trooper who pull you over for speeding that it is your right to speed because the highways are public land and we can drive however we want?

When one member of this community disrespects a ski area's request, the ski area cannot perform an inquest, just cut off access so the buffer becomes wider to keep poachers away.

This discussion really needs to focus on how we can develop a local culture of accountability, then Crystal, Alpental, Baker and Stevens can work with us as a trusted partner.
WA State Law
https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=79A.45.070
'Skiing in an area or trail closed to the public—Penalty.
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person knowingly skis in an area or on a ski trail, owned or controlled by a ski area operator, that is closed to the public and that has signs posted indicating the closure
.'
[ 2011 c 276 § 1.]
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Heli-Free North Cascades
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #20 on: 12/27/17, 10:13 PM »

Freeski, again trolling does not further the discussion. This is WA State Law, not some arbitrary punishment. If the ski area determines a boundary then it is up to us, the bc community to respect this or lose the 'privilege' of touring uphill through a ski area. The idea you wish to perpetuate that the public lands the ski area is on is open to all goes against the actual law that is enforced by the the sheriff and state troopers. Do you argue with a trooper who pull you over for speeding that it is your right to speed because the highways are public land and we can drive however we want?

When one member of this community disrespects a ski area's request, the ski area cannot perform an inquest, just cut off access so the buffer becomes wider to keep poachers away.

This discussion really needs to focus on how we can develop a local culture of accountability, then Crystal, Alpental, Baker and Stevens can work with us as a trusted partner.
WA State Law
https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=79A.45.070
'Skiing in an area or trail closed to the public—Penalty.
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person knowingly skis in an area or on a ski trail, owned or controlled by a ski area operator, that is closed to the public and that has signs posted indicating the closure
.'
[ 2011 c 276 § 1.]
I'm asking legitimate questions. Quit trying to attack me personally by calling me a troll. That just reflects poorly on you.

When a ski area has people skiing down a hill, that area is obviously open to the public. So explain to me oh great one how that Washington state law applies.

Someone who is skinning uphill on a ski run is no more dangerous then then a paying customer who stops in the middle of a ski run. Happens all the time. The proof is that skinning uphill is allowed now on many runs.

The analogy would be if the ski patrol closed a ski run to everyone because someone stopped in the middle of it.

What the ski patrol is proposing is to exclude that segment of the public who are not willing to pay the exorbitant fees that a ski area charges to access public land.

They seem to be looking for any excuse to exclude the  non paying public from public land and they're trying to use safety as an excuse. We all know it's about money and powder as a commodity.

Sure let's punish everybody who skins up a ski hill because someone doesn't know the rules or intentionally ignores them.

If you want accountability Mr. Schonwald, let's start with the guide Outfitter Services shall we. Explain to me why you don't have a Public Safety responsibility to disclose safety records to the public ie your potential customer base?

 Don't you think potential clients have a right to understand the actual risks that they are about to incur when they hire a guide.

 The fact is many guide Outfitters go out of their way to hide their near-miss accidents and even fatalities because those incidents are quote 'bad for business'.

That is an actual quote from a guide who asked me not to disclose a near-miss accident that we had just finished discussing.

Okay Crystal Patrol I'm waiting for your response to my legitimate logical questions.

Please don't confuse my query as disrespect. I think the patrol does good work and are highly underpaid for the jobs that they perform especially when they're handling explosives.

 And I really think you should know that when you come up with those types of lame excuses, like 'we're going to close the whole area to uphill traffic because of the actions of one individual', you lose credibility for your legitimate safety concerns, such as skiers skinnng up during Avalanche control work.

Which by the way, the Forest Service considers to be a perfectly acceptable practice for helicopter ski operations, and even guides out with clients. they can cut all the Avalanches they want above us and the forest service doesn't give a damn.

Yes I would like some accountability, Mr. Schonwald.

« Last Edit: 12/27/17, 11:01 PM by freeski » Logged

two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice
C Hedges
Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #21 on: 12/28/17, 09:08 PM »


Does crystal punish all its paying customers when one of its paying customers ignores the ski area policy


Yeah -- I think so -- look at the trailmap,  there are a number of "permanently closed" areas that are that way because of fatalities.
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Heli-Free North Cascades
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #22 on: 12/29/17, 10:36 AM »

Yeah -- I think so -- look at the trailmap,  there are a number of "permanently closed" areas that are that way because of fatalities.
Could you elaborate on your statement with some actual facts?

 If what you were saying is true, sounds like the patrol is closing areas that are extremely hazardous, however they're obviously still leaving areas open that are relatively safe.

I have no problem with actual safety concerns being implemented and hazardous areas closed.

 As I said before, when the public perceives that lame safety excuses are being offered by authority figures designed to deny Public Access, which is contrary to the special use permits issued for that public land, those policies will not be accepted and rightfully resisted.

When authority figures are perceived as being unreasonable, unfortunately some folks will demonstrate complete disregard to Authority and will go out of their way to ignore legitimate safety concerns.

 I think the guide Outfitters do this when they refuse to publicly discuss why they choose to hide actual risk by not disclosing their near miss and even fatal accidents.

Instead of furthering the safety conversation with logical debate, they attack personally time and time again. I find that behavior despicable.

If a ski run is closed to uphill traffic because of extreme crowding on that run, maybe the problem isn't the uphill skier. Maybe the ski area is just selling too many tickets and overcrowding is occurring that is leading to safety concerns.

But we all know that in the corporate business world , when it comes to gathering money, public safety is often compromised.

A good example of greed taking precedence over safety is using Ski Patrol folks to toss bombs instead of spending the money for ava-lanchers. Every time an explosive charge goes off near the human body, the concussion causes the brain to rattle just a bit. long-term exposure leads to brain damage.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/shock-waves-may-create-dangerous-bubbles-brain-180957396/

 Are the patrolman being fairly compensated for the risks that they incur?  or are they just cannon fodder for the corporate world?

But hey let's put up a smokescreen and pretend uphill traffic is a major safety concern. It's obviously not when done according to best safety practices.

« Last Edit: 12/29/17, 11:01 AM by freeski » Logged

two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice
C Hedges
Good2Go
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #23 on: 12/29/17, 11:40 AM »

Ski area land is leased for a private purpose.  They are given broad discretion to operate their business.  They don't need much reason to bar you.  Look at the snowboarder suits against Alta as an example.  You don't have a right to skin in a ski area.

As for guides, etc.  Lots of people die in ski areas.  Do you see them advertising that fact?  Guides make you sign a liability waiver.  It's a contract.  It's full of examples of how you may be hurt or killed.  The law looks to that document as the critical notice that shifts responsibility from the provider to the purchaser.  There is no conspiracy here, you're just clueless how these things work in the real world.
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KLW
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #24 on: 12/29/17, 03:13 PM »

A liability waver is not a legal get out of jail free card. If negligence can be proven it's not worth the paper it's written on. Welcome to the "real world" Wink
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