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National Ski Patrol Responds to Denver Post

Some of our readers may have seen the Denver Post series supposedly about ski safety and the industry here in Colorado. In this response letter, National Ski Patrol Executive Director Tim White weighs in on behalf of ski patrollers.

To the editor,

Since 1938, the nonprofit National Ski Patrol (NSP) has dedicated itself to serving the public and outdoor recreation community. As a testimonial to its good work, NSP received a federal charter from the U.S. Congress in 1980. Today, NSP is made up of more than 28,000 paid and volunteer patrollers nationwide. For all these decades, skiers and snowboarders have come to know ski patrollers as dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to make the slopes safer and who often put themselves in harm’s way to rescue those who have become hurt or lost on the slopes. As patrollers, we are especially saddened when there is a loss of life or serious injury on the slopes. Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and all of those who have suffered as a result of a ski or snowboard accident.

But to vilify patrollers, as investigative reporter Karen Crummy has done in her recent series of reports on ski area liability, is incredibly misguided. At best, Ms. Crummy’s attack on the integrity of ski patrollers and the slanderous suggestion that ski patrollers tamper with evidence to benefit corporate stakeholders represents unfounded reporting. Those who are familiar with ski area operations know that patrollers arrive at the scene of an accident first to provide care, and secondly to find fact, not fault. This is part of the job, and a role patrollers take very seriously.

At worst, Ms. Crummy’s work is nothing short of fearmongering that does a disservice to the skiing public by offering little in the way of educating skiers and riders to have a safer ski experience. Perhaps if Ms. Crummy had spent more time talking to those who work on the slopes promoting safety, and less time talking to attorneys, she would have learned that safety is a primary concern of the industry, and has been for many decades. From our view, Karen Crummy and the Denver Post owe an apology to the dedicated men and women who boot up each day and proudly wear the white cross on the back of their parka in service to the skiing and snowboarding public.

Tim White
Executive Director
National Ski Patrol