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Fatal ski accident spurs safety group

Courtesy photo/Sierra Sun
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More than a year after his daughter died in an accident at Alpine Meadows ski resort, Bay Area doctor Dan Gregorie is launching a state ski and snowboard safety organization.

Gregorie is expected to announce the new organization at a press conference at the state capitol building in Sacramento today.

Unlike many states, California has no safety statute, and the ski industry has no uniform safety code, according to the California Ski and Snowboard Organization.



The absence of those uniform safety guidelines spurred Gregorie to found the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization to educate the public on ski risks, monitor safety issues, and inform lawmakers on safety practices in other states, according to the organization’s Web site.

Gregorie was unavailable for comment before the press conference. But the tragic accident that caused the Bay Area doctor to form the organization occurred last February at Alpine Meadows.



Gregorie’s 24-year-old daughter, Jessica, was trudging along the northern ski boundary at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort’s Beaver Bowl, when she dropped her snowboard over the icy precipice.

Her snowboard slid down the mountain toward Granite Chief Wilderness. When the Bay Area woman tried to retrieve it, she slipped and plunged 200 feet down a series of steep embankments.

The autopsy revealed that Gregorie died from multiple internal and external injuries, Washoe County Coroner Vernon McCarty reported three days after the accident.

According to a press release from the new ski safety organization, the area where Gregorie fell to her death did not have fences or warning signs in place, and no signs or fences were placed there following the accident.

Gregorie will be joined by California Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, at the 10 a.m. news conference.

But Lisa Yates, a spokeswoman for the new organization, said no specific safety legislation is in the works at this point.

The safety organization is not affiliated with the California Ski Industry Association, but the industry association’s Executive Director Bob Roberts said his organization works with the U.S. Forest Service on ensuring skier and snowboarder safety.

“In principle, any one who can help us with safety ” more power to them,” Roberts said.

Officials at Alpine Meadows said they were not familiar with Gregorie’s new organization, but said safety is the resort’s top priority.

“We support safety initiatives and have an extensive safety program,” said Public Relations Manager Rachael Woods. “We work really closely with the National Ski Areas Association [in regards to] safety.”

The National Ski Areas Association is a trade group of ski area owners and operators. The association represents 332 alpine resorts in the United States.


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