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Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 13.34hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
Well Tosh over at the Lecht must be laughing all the way to the bank this half term.

It's the busiest time of the year, and the area that attracts the most skiers and boarders is closed for snowsports, but busy milking tourists in the Ptarmigan Restaurant, as the hordes of frustrated skiers head east on the A939!!

It's probably not doing much for the queues, but the chair and the new Eagle Poma have made a big difference, maybe with yet another "Gorm Closed" windfall, the Lecht can put in more uplift or more snow cannons for next year! So be even better placed to take our money when CairnGorm doesn't want it!
Christopher Paton


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Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 18.55hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
Ha ha ha!

Message to all frustrated CairnGorm customers: go to Glenshee too please! eye popping smiley)

That way they might be able to provide us with a non-surface access to Coire Fionn so we don't have to walk in these crappy conditions! Has anybody actually walked round so far?

[%sig%]
helen rennie


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 20.09hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
Obviously Winterhighland thinks that Cairngorm are not wanting to have snowsports customers. Am I the only person that cannot believe this?
I was there on Saturday to watch the wind pick up in the afternoon and blow the snow off the runs leaving ice. I was also there on Sunday and took a ride up in the train in the morning to witness sheet ice glistening in the sun and the gales. I am a fanatical skier who will ski in virtually all conditions but I certainly would not have contemplated attempting to ski in those conditions.
Considering that many people over estimate their ability, classing themselves as experts when in fact they are only average, opening to the public even if it was stated that they must be experts, would have been a recipe for accidents and probably future law suits against Cairngorm Mountain.
I might add that the train was virtually empty, as was the Ptarmigan, so it was no doubt not making a profit "milking the tourists"
some frustrated skier


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 20.11hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
The lecht and nevis are the best ski areas in scotland byfar. The lecht have snow making modern tows(compared to the gorm) better summer attractions friendly staff and a clue about running a ski area unlike the gorm, also nevis now have the m/bike track for more cash when they hold m/bike comps like the world cup.
Some frustrated skier


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 20.15hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
also i think the gorm only gets the punters (mainly the english) is because of Aviemore. Well that is why i go there.
Admin


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 21.12hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
Firstly has anyone on here skied on CairnGorm on Monday and anywhere else either today or over the weekend, that could give an objective view on what the surface conditions are like on the 'Gorm compared to the areas that have remained open for snowsports despite the icy conditions.

Secondly from Helens observation, "and probably future law suits against Cairngorm Mountain", is deeply worrying taken to its logical conclusion, CairnGorm Mountain would never open for snowsports.

Why can Glencoe open the Main Basin for experts only, warning people of the very difficult conditions, on terrain considerably more challenging than Coire Cas? Tom Paul, former general manager of the Cairngorm Chairlift Company was once quoted as saying "here the lifts are modified to run under adverse conditions.... it is entirely up to the individual to make the decision to ski or not."

Further, I have come to the view that there is a structural problem within CairnGorm Mountain Ltd, in that one of the operations managers is also Health and Safety manager. I'm not alone in coming to the view, that an overzealous implementation/interpretation of Health and Safety guidelines could unnecessarily restrain snowsports operations and thus for one person to hold both these roles is a conflict of interest, which is detrimental to snowsport operations.

The fact that virtually no-one believes CairnGorm when they say the mountain is unskiable is also a serious problem, CairnGorm need to look at this and say how on earth did we get here, I mean few people trust area reports totally, but nowhere else in the world to people believe a ski area always paints things worse than they are to suit their own ends, the situation is just plain bizarre!

Finally, back to Helens comments about lawsuits, and safety, and accidents. One reason I have difficulty believing what CairnGorm is saying is that IF it was not safe for expert skiers and boarders, suitably equipped for mountain conditions, how on earth can it be deemed safe to take totally ill-equipped and inexperienced sightseers up the mountain, esp. elderly visitors or people of limited mobility 3600ft up an ice clad mountain in high winds? There is not enough snow to get piste bashers down the lady by the track, reaching the train for an evacuation if anything had broken down would have been challenging itself, but how they would then have got the people down the mountain is, God only knows. It is for that very reason, that last year the funicular frequently operated for "experienced expert skiers and boarders" only, and sightseeing was suspended in poor conditions.
John Doherty


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 21.51hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
Also it doesn't help that people these days will sue for anything, its a wonder any ski slope can operate and even if they are insured any action against cairngorm mountain would hardly help there already pretty poor public image.
helen rennie


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 21.52hrs on Tue 18 Feb 03
The point I was making was that an average skier desperate to ski could arrive at a ski resort and persuade themselves that they were expert enough to ski on sheet ice in gale force winds.
I am not knowledgable about the law but as as layman I can see someone doing permanent damage to themselves, or having an out of control "expert" doing permanent damage to them, might try to get compensation.
Sadly today some folk will try to get compensation for virtually any mishap, even if it is their own fault . I have even witnessed skiers complaining that their skis have been damaged because the piste was gritty or rocky and trying to get refunds / compensation from the ski resort because they were open in such conditions.
Ok I accept that perhaps in some people's view resorts may be cautious, but although desperate to ski on Sunday, I had no disagreement about the decision taken not to allow skiing.
Graham


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 01.13hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
I spoke to Dave Patterson of Glencoe/Glenshee earlier in the year about liability and believe that Glenshee Chairlift Co. do not accept any liability what so ever for injuries sustained skiing. I think they believe there duty is to inform you as to exactly what the conditions are like. My experience at both Glencoe and Glenshee is that if the conditions are at all iffy, ticket staff and towies do make a genuine effort to warn punters about the conditions (hats off particularly to the 'coe in this respect)

As for the Lecht they deserve every success, I went up last year for the first time in years (yes the gates were shut at Glenmore), and was really impressed with the whole feel of the centre (warm welcome, really friendly staff, lifts in top nic, and on that day a fabulous day of sport)

Caingorm appear to be authors of their own misfortune!

Graham
SkiBeard


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Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 11.07hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
Glencoe/Glenshee might try and claim that they have no liability for ski injuries and try and warn punters of bad conditions but in the event of a court case, although this might enhance their defence, a court could still decide they were liable if conditions were deemed to be too dangerous for skiing to take place. OK, insurance might cover the resulting settlement but would they be able to get insurance again and what would the cost of this insurance be? (all increases passed onto punters of course!).

I think Cairngorm is taking a conservative line and probably the best one for the majority of skiers because they can afford to! (although I don’t think ferrying a handful of people up the mountain could be deemed “milking the tourists” – have you ever ridden the funicular as a sightseer during winter when there is no skiing? – its more like a ghost train ride to a ghost cafe!).

I think it boils down to the fact that the other centres have to take risks because if they don’t they’ll go out of business. Even in the other centres it must be marginal in terms of profitability to open when not that many people like to/can ski on ice! (another post describes Glenshee as very quiet this week despite the half term). I think for a lot of sub-expert skiers (i.e. the majority) the conditions are just too bad to go out.

The other centres need to be careful not just for these reasons either. There is the moral and PR problems as well. If you hype up the state of conditions (i.e. try and pretend that they are better than they are) and novices / intermediates venture out only to have a bad experience then they might a)give up skiing for good or b)not ski in Scotland again or c)not go back to your resort again (or Ok d) become better skiers!).

As to one of the Operations Managers also been Health and Safety manager at Cairngorm, you would expect this in a relatively small operation and I guess all the other ski centres will combine roles in this way? This combination of roles could actually enhance the perspective of the said person in that they will understand day to day operations as well as Health and Safety issues (i.e. not live in an ivory tower!). A separate Health and Safety officer is likely to be far more zealous in applying the regulations.

As to all these elderly people who are been taken up the mountain - you make it sound like they will have to build snow holes in order to survive if the train breaks down! I think they will be OK roughing it in the Ptarmigan - at least they will have the bar! Seriously, the biggest danger would be if there was a fire that prevented the train operating then they would have to spill out onto the mountain. I wonder if Cairngorm has considered this eventuality? It would be interesting to know what their contingency plans really are.

In the end I think that Cairngorm are right to not open the mountain to sub-experts and they are probably not opening up for “real” experts (I agree with Helen, like with car drivers, skiers tend to think they are more expert than they are) for a combination of legal and profitability reasons. It would be really interesting to know at what point in terms of numbers of punters (if ever) does it become profitable for Cairngorm to open for skiing and if skiing really is so unprofitable at Cairngorm then how come other Scottish centres can seemingly make a profit?

“Free the heel and the rest will follow”
Admin


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 11.45hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
As regards the slim possibility of the train breaking down, obviously the people in the Ptarmigan would not be at any risk, though they could be inconvienced, this would be a different story for those stuck in the funicular carriage if it came to a stop half way down the White Lady for example.

With regards liability and legal issues, I understand it that the other areas take the view that they have no liability for snowsport injuries which occur due to weather, state of snow, natural topography, when actually skiing. Liability extents to only when using the companies facilities, ie uplift, restaurants etc.

The mountains are not facilities of the companies, you DO NOT pay to ski on the mountain, you pay for use of uplift faclilities. These are high wild lands, snowsports are mountain sports involving a real if small risk element, a skier wiping out on sheet ice, has no more right to sue the lift company, then the ice climber falling in sneachda has to sue them because they parked in their carpark. If you do not accept that, why go skiing or boarding, you should only be in the mountains if you can take responsibility for yourself.

If the ski areas don't work on that principle, they are then "accepting" they are liable and increasing the risk of such actions. The company may be negligent if it lies about conditions and lets lots of begginers up on sheet ice, but providing they warn people and give an accurate assement of conditions, they have done their bit, the individual has then acted on that information and made their own decision to go skiing or not, thus the buck stops there. There is already legal precidence for cases where people try to sue over mountain sports related injuries in Scotland having been promptly kicked out of court, hopefully this will continue, and while it does, the incentive to try will be greatly reduced.

The ski areas must not operate in fear of litigation, otherwise they risk bringing doomsday closer, they should be pro-active in making sure their liability extends to only use of uplift, and buildings etc, not the mountains and educate people of this.

The bottom line is that these areas would never operate in a climate such as exists in the states. Several years ago Glenmore hosted an international ski patrol conference, I got speaking to several yank patrollers waiting for the White Lady Tow. They expressed concern over the sign which said, singles only - track very narrow. At the top a sign warned "Piste Broken - Experts Only" and "Unpisted Terrain - Ski with Care". They seemed a bit preplexed by this. The lady had superb spring snow, mountainous bumps, and extremely heavy skiing traffic, it was giving great fun spring sport on a nice sunny day, however the piste was broken in 4 places, for a couple of yards, however people soon realised that with good route choice the bumps gave sufficent air to clear the gaps in the snow, thus it was possible to make a descent without stopping/removing skis, and during the day the queue on the Lady tow grew longer and longer. I meet up with the yanks late afternoon half way down the White Lady, firstly, they were absolutely shocked by the fact that the tow was operating, they were speachless that a ski area would let people near a run like this, they said they would have had to have roped it of a long time ago, but they were also amazed at the number of people using the Lady time and time again, and finally, they commented, "this is crazy skiing, but it's the most fun skiing we've had in years, but we could never do this back home, your actually pretty lucky here!"
Admin


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 11.53hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
A final thought, is that doesn't the new Land Reform Act, have a section which protects landowners, lease holders from any liability for injury resulting from people participating in mountain sports on their land. Perhaps this can give some protection to the lift companies, if not then it should, and I would like to see legal protection given to the lift companies, that makes it legally binding that the buck stops with the participant. Obviously if a Piste Basher runs somebody down, or part of a pylon falls off and whacks someone then the company would be liable, but for true skiing accidents they would not be.

THhughts on this, esp. from anyone with a legal background.
SkiBeard


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 14.02hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
I do not think the legal position is as clear-cut as you think. The advice I have always received as regards the liability issues of public access, particularly as regards the Occupiers Liability Act, is that in the end a court would decide liability taking all individual circumstances into account and denying liability would not be enough to ensure that you actually have no liability.

I agree it would be tragic if a court was ever to decide in favour of a claim based on a pure ski injury (i.e. not a lift accident due to inadequate maintenance or, as you suggest, getting trashed by a pisting machine – although if it was on a closed run who is to blame then?) but in these claim consciousness days when people will sue the Council for tripping on uneven pavements at the drop of a hat, then ski centres must take this possibility into account. It would be very sad if Scotland became as court happy as the US but unfortunately this is the way things seem to be moving. More and more people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions. I agree ski centres need to seek ways of protecting themselves against unwarranted litigation.

That said the ski centres must also accept some responsibility for the safety of visitors using the ski areas. By creating ski runs and ski infrastructure and uplifting skiers the ski area can longer be thought of as “wild land” – it is not the same as climbing in Snechda. If a ski accident occurs within the ski area due to obvious dangerous conditions a court might say,” Well ok they warned people it was icy but conditions were so dangerous they should have closed the lifts and runs and therefore they are liable”. If someone hikes up and uses the runs when the place is shut then I am sure it would be completely different. In the end within the ski area, the ski centre must accept some responsibility for trying to ensure the safety of visitors and if conditions are dangerous this could well mean closing down runs or even the whole centre not just warning people. The problems with warnings are that some people misunderstand them – after all what is a “real” expert or a “good “ skier ? (Would it not be possible to give comparative warnings e.g. the Ptarmigan Bowl is skiing as a red run!?).

Of course there is a balance to be struck here. As you say if runs were closed every time there was a bit of ice or a rock showed through we could forget skiing in Scotland! But at the other extreme keeping a run or runs open when they are genuinely dangerous is irresponsible. Sometimes these decisions must be difficult to make after all it is not an exact science.

As regards the Land Reform Act it will all depend how mountain sports are defined. Skiing within a ski area is not the same as skiing in the “backcountry” or climbing, so might not be designated as a “mountain sport”.
John Doherty


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 14.23hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
Perhaps when conditions are icy then ski centres should think about getting people to sign that then won't go to the courts after a purely ski-ing accident (for want of a better term).
David Goldsmith


Guest
Re: Tosh Must Love CairnGorm Mtn Ltd....
Date Posted: 17.01hrs on Wed 19 Feb 03
If a ski centre has a notice next to the lift ticket counter saying.....
"Dangerous icy conditions. Exposed rocks. Danger of uncontrolled falls and injury. Skiers not used to skiing these conditions should not ski today"
....then I think they are pretty well covered in terms of liability.
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