Eastern ski resorts are preparing for the very small percentage of skiers and boarders who may feel the necessity to duck under the ropes and plunge through the pow that no one else has seen. The trouble with that, however, is that in some cases no one will see them.
Vermont State Representative Thomas Terenzini from Rutland (Killington/Pico's backyard) is sponsoring a bill that holds resorts accountable for the cost of a rescue. The state representative told media that resorts shy away from this as they do not want bad publicity, and law enforcement will not prosecute for fear that future lost skiers will not seek help.
Killington has met with the state of Vermont, its State Police and the Vermont Ski Areas Association regarding search and rescue efforts in the backcountry.
“Although we have not reviewed the particulars of the bills proposed, Killington Resort supports a punitive measure of search and rescue to pay for the efforts of the State and ski resorts involved,” Marketing Director Rob Megnin told SnoCountry.com.
Mad River Glen, also in Vermont, disagrees with the proposal as well, and points to a 2002 incident.
“The weather was very cold but the conditions were excellent and the woods were full of snow,” John Ayers, long-time ski patrol director at Mad River Glen, told SnoCountry.com. “(Jefry Rosmarin, of New York City, his family and a friend) headed down through the trees, but inadvertently went left instead of right. The group was soon lost in the forest behind Mad River.”
With darkness approaching, the group was unable to travel further as Ayers’ patrollers were in pursuit. Early the next morning, the Rosmarin group was retrieved. Since that time, the family has expressed its thanks to their rescuers.
“The Mad River Ski Patrol, Stowe Mountain Rescue, Waterbury Backcountry Rescue and the Vermont State Police each received a donation from the Rosmarins,” continued Ayers. “Every year since, all four teams have received an equally generous check and yet more expressions of thanks. All four teams have purchased gear, upgraded vehicles, and obtained training using funding from the Rosmarins. More and better equipment combined with more and better training was the result of the Rosmarin donations.” It has given Ayers and his colleagues at the resort a reason not to hop on the political bandwagon.
“Jefry Rosmarin and his family have donated vastly more than any expenses incurred for their rescue. They have supported all four teams to ensure the safety of dozens of other lost skiers in the 12 years since that night near Mad River Glen.”
SnoCountry.com will continue to follow the progress of Terenzini's proposed legislation.
Photo: Mad River Glen