Minnie, they’re at it again! The organization founded in 1938 by Charles Minot “Minnie” Dole, the National Ski Patrol (NSP), has been sued again by 6 patrollers, 5 of whom serve on the 28,000-member organization’s National Board of directors.
NSP watchers and members couldn’t forget, as much as they might like to, the last time this happened just 7 years ago. A group of Division Directors and patrollers was forced to sue the NSP in 2005 to have a say in how the organization was run, by electing their representatives on the NSP National Board. That group ultimately represented just under 8,000 NSP members before the organization relented and settled the litigation. That resolution led to a complete turnover of the NSP’s Board and National leadership team over 18 months. The settlement agreement resulted in a re-write of the NSP’s bylaws as it relates to member voting. Well, apparently old habits die hard.
Patty Tasker was just 18 when she moved to Burlington, Vermont from Brattleboro in the late 1930s to work for the government. Skiing was increasing in popularity at the time and two ski clubs near Stowe, the Mount Mansfield Ski Club and the Burlington Ski Club, were helping to attract a lot of young adults to Northern Vermont on the ski trains and via automobile on New England’s rapidly expanding highway network.
A girlfriend of Patty’s in 1937 kept telling her about this guy, Winston “Win” Morris, that she just had to meet. He lived in her friend’s apartment building and worked for the National Cash Register company (NCR) in Burlington. Win spent a lot of time at Stowe in the winter, and was affiliated with the mountain and the Mount Mansfield Ski Club. Win (and later Patty) was among the first ski patrollers of the Mount Mansfield Ski Club when it established one of the first US patrols around 1935, the organization that ultimately spawned the National Ski Patrol. Continue reading Patty (Tasker) Morris Interview: One of the NSP’s First Female Patrollers→
Dr. Gary S. Dankworth, 60, a patroller and Toboggan Instructor Trainer at Heavenly Area in California and Nevada died in an incident after summiting 13,855-foot Norman Clyde peak in the Sierras.
An official from the Carson Tahoe Medical Center confirmed the news, saying, “The Carson Tahoe family is saddened by the news of Dr. Dankworth’s death. The past several days have been difficult and we, like the rest of the community, have been hoping for the best. We are a small, close knit community and tragedies within our medical staff affect us all. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and we will do all we can to support them during this very sad time.” Continue reading Obituary: Heavenly Area Patroller Dies in Climbing Incident→
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down a decision on 18 July 2012 that reverses a Superior Court decision, in part, related to the Camelback Mountain Resort in the Pocono Mountains. Certain aspects of that decision may increase ski patroller exposure to liability at Pennsylvania resorts.
Camelback Ski Corporation and one of its employees were sued by Barbara Lichtman Tayer in January 2005 after she was injured in December 2003 at one of the mountain’s tubing parks. Camelback is in Tannersville, Pennsylvania and offers a range of winter sport activities, including skiing and snow tubing. Before allowing guests to participate in tubing it has them sign a liability release. Continue reading Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules in Camelback Negligence Case→
“How can you not love a man or woman who holds your life in their hands, flies in helicopters, has control of the explosives and the pain killing drugs and retains a sense of soothing laid back mountain man/woman calm in an emergency? Enter the angels of the mountain, commonly known as ski patrol.”
Former Lookout Pass, Idaho, Patroller, William Charles (Bill) Fout, died at 89 on 9 July in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Originally from Andes, Montana, Fout served as a pilot in the in the Army, flying as a spotter on search and rescue missions over China in WW II. After the war, he worked for Washington Water Power (now Avista) as a lineman for more than 30 years.
Fout was chairman of the local chapter of the American Red Cross, and taught first aid and CPR to high school students. He also taught hunter safety courses. He skied with his children and became a member of the Lookout Pass Ski Patrol and taught at the mountain’s free ski school. He was also involved with the Idaho Ski Club at Lookout Pass, and also previously managed the lodge and worked in mountain operations. Continue reading Obituary: Former Lookout Pass Idaho Patroller, Bill Fout→
Daniel R. Somalski, 58, a Patroller at Nub’s Nob, Harbor Springs Michigan, died of Pancreatic Cancer on 25 July 2012.
Somalski served as an Alpine Ski Patroller and was involved with the NSP on the divisional, regional and local levels. He began his association with ski patrolling in 1986, ultimately reaching Certified Patroller status in 1995. He was awarded Outstanding Administrative Patroller in 1997-98. He was was a Northern Michigan Region Section Chief, and was involved in testing and training for the organization for many years. His awards include three Yellow Merit stars and numerous Certificates of Appreciation. He received his National Appointment in 1997. Continue reading Obituary: Nub’s Nob Patroller, Daniel Somalski→
Killington Resort in Vermont has settled a lawsuit with Alfred Rocks of Egg Harbor, N.J. Rocks filed suit against Killington claiming it failed to maintain a trail in a “reasonably safe condition”. The 53-year-old skier sustained leg fractures in the fall in 2009, and claims to have suffered additional injuries due to ski patroller negligence when a toboggan he was strapped into over-turned. The suit was filed in 2010. Two days into the trial Killington settled. While both sides confirmed a settlement, details on it were not released.
According to court filings, Rocks was on Ovation, a double black diamond trail, and seriously injured himself in a fall when he hit hit a bare spot and then careened into rocks. He says the spot was not marked, and that it should have been even though it was spring conditions. Rocks said that he was further injured when the ski patrol decided to take him down Ovation on a snowmobile, which lost control and overturned. At trial, counsel for Killington attempted unsuccessfully to bar the plaintiff from talking about the snowmobile incident. Continue reading Killington Settles Skier Lawsuit→
The body of Nick Hall, 33, was recovered from Mount Rainier on 5 July 2012. Hall perished in a 2,600′ fall onto Rainier’s Winthrop Glacier from 13,800′ while rescuing climbers from Emmons Glacier on 21 June. Hall had just placed the 4 injured climbers from Texas into a rescue helicopter for their evacuation, when a gust of wind pushed him over the edge. He was in the process of securing an empty litter to the helicopter prior to departure.
Rangers made it to the lower incident scene that day and attempted recovery then, and again on 28 June, but had to call-off the missions due to Avalanche danger, high winds and unfavorable weather conditions at the 11,000’+ location.
Hall had been a climbing Ranger on Mount Rainier for four years. Six rescue workers from the 214th Air Regiment of Joint Base Lewis McChord used a Chinook helicopter with the assistance of a Hughes 530 from Olimpia’s Northwest Helicopters for the evacuation of Hall to Sunrise. He was then transferred to an ambulance for transport to the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office. Preparations had been made following the incident to secure him in an anchored litter for later transport. Avalanche rescue dog, Cirrus, from Chrystal Mountain Ski Patrol was used to locate the body under several feet of recent snow. Cirrus is owned by Crystal patrollers Andrew and Michelle Longstreth. Continue reading Obituary: Body of Former Stevens Pass Patroller Recovered from Mount Rainier→
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