Yesterday another geezer skier crashed on freshly made snow from the snow makers. I have already written about snow maker anxiety caused by my own crash of January 2013. So why do I return to this topic? It is clear that skiing on a slope where snow making is in progress is a hazardous activity for many reasons. (To be fair, the ski area does warn the skiers with a sign of "Caution Snow Making"). Even when you heed the warning it is often difficult to navigate the slope to avoid not only fellow skiers but also to compensate for the lack of visibility. Goggles are frequently iced over no matter how careful you are passing the spate of new snow. On a cloudy day it is also a challenge to read the snow surface for evidence of wet and sticky snow.
I have outlined the hazards. So, why do we continue to ski slopes with snow making in progress? Both the ski area and the skiers are making trade offs. The ski area wants our business and during the early season it is essential to keep the snow making going to build base. Skiers want to be on the slope too and most are willing to take the risk of a crash. At the beginning of the season it is probably reasonable to operate with the trade off between hazardous skiing versus no skiing at all. However, I cannot fathom why a ski area would need to open a snow making slope to skiers during the rest of the season. For my part, I will be very glad to see more slopes open up to relieve the risk of skiing through the snow makers.
Meanwhile, fellow geezers take to heart a cautious approach to the slopes with snow making. And best wishes to Pat R. for a speedy recovery. Certainly we all need to preserve these old geezer bodies for the sake of our loved ones!
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