Covering Bad Ski News

Educating not Doomsaying!

Skiing ABCs L -- A Lift
The Skiing ABCs L

I love skiing and my hope is to inspire you to engage in outdoor winter sports, but my main goal is to educate. Given that this venue is mainly to share my passions (skiing and cycling) I am often torn when it comes to covering bad ski news.

Covering Bad Ski News — Reporting

Bad Ski News -- a photo of an avalanche
Avalanches are often bad ski news
It seems many of my biggest pieces and social media shares revolve around disaster. This ski resort burned down, that skier fell into a tree well, random skier was hurt in an incident at ABC resort, the avalanche danger in XYZ National Forest is extreme, here is what you do to avoid avalanches, and the like. Those stories give the impression that skiing and related sports are fraught with peril.

However, we all know the nature of reporting, right? Joe and Alexis Skier having a super day at Clubhouse Pow is simply not news. News reports on the exceptions and rarely on the expectations.

Covering Bad Ski News — Educating You and Me

bad ski news -- children at a ski lesson
Giving a ski education
YOU can minimize many of the dangers of by skiing at resorts and staying on their established trails. Skiers can further minimize the risks by being in good physical condition and by skiing on terrain they are capable of handling (or only slightly in excess of your abilities). You continue to reduce the risk of injury by being sober and staying aware of what is around you (and yes, this means turn off the music and listen to your surroundings).

Still, many of us skiers want to graduate from the on-piste experience to full on off-piste skiing. Off-piste skiing has more hazards and that is the point of my articles on them, to educate those of us who are not familiar with those hazards.

bad ski news -- a gondola and ghostly trees
Danger in the Trees (fun too!)
I never heard of tree wells until recently. Had I gone out west and decided to take a glade run I could very well have done so in blissful (and possibly deadly) ignorance. Tree wells are unheard of around my region, people generally do not know about them and I want to make sure people who decide to take a trip to really big snow country are at least aware they exist and can ask about them.

Yeah, we’ve all heard of avalanches, but if you are looking to get out-of-bounds (even if it is not in the immediate future) then now is the time to start learning more about avalanches. Again most of us east of the Mississippi River do not have to worry about avalanches and even if we do go out to big mountains our intent is usually to stay in-bounds at a resort. Still, the danger of avalanches on the big mountains is never zero.

Covering Bad Ski News — Holding Back

On a daily basis I review some news feeds for skiing news. Unfortunately, I see many bad news stories in those feeds. I am reluctant to broadcast those stories to my audience because we all know they occur.

However, I do not squelch all bad stories. If the story is unique in some way or alerts us to things we need to take care about, then I will share it or write about it.

bad ski news -- riding up a chairlift
No Bad News Here!
Recently, there has been a spate of stories about chairlifts catching skiers by their backpacks. The results of these incidents are skiers hanging from the chairlifts. Most of the time I see the stories as putting the skier into a very uncomfortable and awkward position, but occasionally we see deadly or near deadly incidents.

So now we need to understand the lurking dangers of having loose and dangly stuff attached to our bodies while skiing.

Covering Bad Ski News — Being Honest and Open

I owe honesty and clarity to my readers. Someone once asked me to pull some videos I shared. One video featured a news report on a lift mishap at a regional resort and the other showed an intentional and catastrophic lift failure (the lift was being torn down, they loaded chairs with bricks and let the lift do what it may). I asked why I should and received no response.

I understand why the ski industry may want to minimize the exposure those videos receive, but it is news and it is real. All of us must weigh very real risk when deciding to ski or not.

Covering Bad Ski News — Oh Yeah, Tons of Good Stories

bad ski news -- two guys riding up a Ski Brule chairlift
GOOD TIMES!
You know what? There is no shortage of good news skiing stories to share. There is a reason skiing is a popular winter recreational activity. Whether that be about competition (keep it friendly), camaraderie, or simple good times there is plenty of positive stories surrounding skiing.

So, when I do feature dark stories about skiing simply search and you will find the light!

Good Stuff!

2 Comments on Covering Bad Ski News

  1. Thanks for posting this. People who write about skiing should give an honest and accurate portrait, including the bad along with the good, while recognizing that bad news can be sensationalistic.

  2. Thanks,

    I pointed out this site to a fellow out East who is a business partner of my employer. At the time, my story on tree-wells was fresh and he reacted to that, glad I was getting the word out. He went on to note he lost a good friend to a tree well.

    It is a balancing act, outlining the risks and the steps to reduce the likelihood of a bad outcome.

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