There’s a whole lot going on here and it’s just another example of why I don’t participate in sports where you slide on snow.
Undeniably, watching someone who knows what they’re doing on skis or a snowboard is awesome, but the number of people who know what they’re doing seems to be drastically outweighed by the number of people who don’t, which has caused a number of incidents on the slopes.
From snowboarders tumbling trying to use a towline to a malfunctioning ski lift tossing people like ragdolls, there’s just so many things that can go wrong, and although one of these days I’m going to try it again (my first time was a disaster and I was sore for weeks), another video is popping up which makes me nervous about doing one of the most basic skills required on the mountain:
Sitting on the ski lift.
It took place last Saturday on Mammoth Mountain in California, was captured on video by someone riding in the cart behind, and shows just why I’m terrified to try again.
I’ll go into the details in a second, but let’s watch the video first.
According to the video’s caption, the girl was sliding out of the lift and was barely able to hold on while park employees and bystanders got underneath her with a net to catch her once she let go. But as we see in the clip, the net did almost nothing to break her fall and she slammed into the ground, which I assume caused at least a few injuries.
“The ski patrol failed this girl today, totally missing catching her with the net after convincing her everything was okay!! Telling her Just to jump already I heard the ski patrol say they’ve never done this before and was way under experienced for this situation!! Mammoth needs to do better!!”
But there’s some other accounts that paint a different story.
One comment on the video is allegedly from a relative of two men who were on the lift with her. It reads:
“For clarification, my father and friend were 2 of four people on the lift. It was completely the lift operator’s fault. It’s their responsibility to make sure everyone is seated before the lift goes up. My father and friend saw the girl unseated and immediately yelled stop, but it took the lift operator almost a minute until he stopped it when the lift was already about three stories high. Lift operator completely to blame.”
So that comment puts the blame on the operator for not waiting for the girl to be completely seated before sending it off.
Mammoth Mountain made a statement to Powder.com, which basically put the blame on the girl.
“At approximately 11:40am on Jan 27, a 16-year-old female snowboarder loaded Stump Alley Express (Chair 2) with two other riders. As the chair began its ascent, the guest, who for unknown reasons was not completely seated, began sliding off the chair.
The other individuals on the chair grabbed hold of the guest and held her from falling as Lift Operators stopped the lift. Five Mammoth Mountain employees and eight guests immediately responded and positioned the deceleration net under the guest. When the guest slipped from the grasp of her chair mates, the net decelerated her fall, but did not stop it. The guest was transported to Mammoth Hospital for evaluation. Our thoughts are with the guest and her family.”
There’s obviously a lot going on here, but it seems there’s plenty of fault to go around here.
For starters, the girl should obviously have done a better job sitting down. Who knows what her reason was and there may have been something preventing her from being able to, but clearly not making sure you’re secure in a lift is a problem.
Also, the lift operator didn’t follow protocol and allowed the girl to reach over 30 feet in the air before stopping the lift, despite her sliding out and having to be held by the others in the lift. That’s not good either.
Finally, according to the comments of the person who filmed, the resort employees which held the net were assuring her that she would be okay if she dropped, seeming to imply that the net would catch her. The ski resort denies that’s the intent of the net and that it’s only for slowing the fall, and let’s be honest it would take a strong pull from all sides to truly stop her from hitting the ground, but it seems that the people were barely even ready for her fall and there was a lot of slack.
There’s been no reports on the girl’s condition and we hope she wasn’t badly hurt and recovers quickly.
Wild scene for sure and just more proof that it’s a dangerous hobby to take up, especially for a 28-year old dude with no experience and some bad joints.
But then again, you see videos of dudes shredding gnarr and you want to be just like them and all great things involve at least a little bit of risk, so maybe it is all worth it.
Who knows, but clips like this sure cast some doubt.