December 19, 2016, 12:50 pm By: Adam Ruggiero
Rescue Fine: Steamboat Springs Warns Backcountry Skiers
New signs around the Steamboat Ski Area warn adventurous skiers of newly-implemented rescue fine.
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Ski patrol is putting up the signs, proclaiming the $500-per-person rescue fine, on out-of-bounds access gates at edges of the Steamboat Springs, Colo., ski area. The resort’s new trail maps also carry the warning.
The purpose is to deter inexperienced skiers from getting in over their heads (sometimes literally). It is also a response to an uptick in trespassers not heeding the current boundary signs.
According to a report in Steamboat Today, ski patrol director John Kohnke estimates 500 people a day slip through the access gates. This is up from about 20 when he began 40 years ago.
Neither Routt County Search and Rescue, which sometimes aids in ski area rescues, nor the Forest Service objected to the fines.
Rescue Fines In Steamboat Springs
By Colorado state law, Search and Rescue cannot charge for operations because it may deter skiers from calling for help when they need it. However, this fine appears to be directed specifically at skiers who leave through the resort gates.
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Sorry, but if you have to have the “Search and Rescue” to haul your sorry butt out, then you should pay for it.
At the very least, they could sell “insurance”. Buy it and need us, OK. Don’t and you do, you pay.
If you spread the cost across lots of skiers, it’s probably reasonable.
No one has a “right” to be rescued.
Wonder how many of these were “repeats” or “obvious beyond their skills”.
Time for individual responsibility.
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