Skiing out of bounds is a bad idea |

Skiing out of bounds is a bad idea

Staff report

There are few things more alluring than fresh powder where no one else is likely to venture.

For all the thrills skiing out of bound presents, it could be the deadliest decision a skier or boarder makes. There is no good reason to venture outside the posted signs at any ski resort.

In the past week Tahoe resorts have responded to a handful of search and rescue calls because people were in terrain they should not have been in. Fortunately, everyone was rescued and there were no search and recoveries.

But the season is young and the likelihood of someone making a fatal mistake by skiing out of bounds is only heightened when we have such a tremendous snowpack.

People need to have common sense. There are reasons ski resorts have ropes and signs up to limit access. It is not to limit a person’s fun, but instead to limit one’s risk to being lost or even worse.

Ski resorts can only patrol so much ground. There are chairlifts in only so many spots to bring a rider back to the top. There are rules for a reason.

Many of these rules are printed on the back of lift tickets. Take a couple minutes to read them. There is a skier’s responsibility code. One rule is, “Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.”

It does not get much clearer than that.

Most resorts are good about not grooming every trail after a fresh dumping. Most resorts have plenty of acreage covered with trees, with pocket after pocket of powder. There really is no reason to venture onto the illegal path.

People are trained to find people in the snow. But it is obvious that search and rescuers are putting their lives in danger with each mission they go on. Why would you want to risk other people’s lives because you were foolish enough to think you could ski in an area marked off-limits?

On top of the potential loss in human life, there are real dollars being spent on other people’s poor judgment. The expense of an average rescue is between $1,000 and $5,000. People, dogs, equipment and time can be costly.

Sometimes the agency involved recoups its costs through the court system, other times it is the taxpayers in that jurisdiction who incur the costs.

Next time you are on the slopes do not even think twice about ducking under the rope to make fresh tracks. It is not worth it. Living to ski another day is more important than skiing untamed terrain.

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