I must admit that I don’t ski a great deal in ski resorts these days. With the introduction of fast ski lifts, modern ski and snowboard gear and equipment like helmets and back protectors you seem to get slopes full of Robocop clad loons honing around the place without a thought for other slope users. I remember the case of Philippe Traynard, French ski touring pioneer who was hit by an out of control skier a couple of years back at the bottom of the pistes at Chamrousse. Traynard, in his late 80s and still skiing suffered a broken hip. The end of a long ski career through no fault of his own.
Today I was at les Sept Laux. The resort has something of a reputation with so called “freeriders” but the place was nearly empty. I was skiing with my 4 year old son. After a lunch stop with mum we were climbing up a path that links the restaurant area with the “front neige”. Suddenly a “freerider” appeared over the lip of the slope riding switch and after avoiding me crashed into my son. This on a path within the resort. The slopes above completely empty, you would have to try very hard to find someone to run into.
My boy received the full force of the skier and though nothing was broken was bruised and shocked by the incident. After some remonstrations with the skier, who told me he could teach me a thing or two about skiing I took my son back to the restaurant to recover. Accidents happen but to ski like that in a beginner’s area then across a footpath is outrageous. The piste security were not particularly interested in the incident. This is the second time this season we’ve had a problem in this zone. Earlier in the year another roboidiot fell on my son after trying a hockey stop at the bottom of the beginners drag lift. Another person who considered himself “an expert skier”.
What is to be done? Well don’t ski in resort is one answer but I do wonder whether French ski resorts need to get over their “laissez-faire” attitude and introduce pro-active American style slope policing? I’m absolutely furious about the incident and am going to make my thoughts known to the mayor. At the very least they could install a chicane at the bottom of the slopes to slow users down entering a pedestrian and beginner’s area.