Ski Victim's Father Pushes for Greater Safety on the Slopes

Dan Gregorie said there still are no ropes or warning signs near where his daughter, Jessica, tumbled into the Granite Chief Wilderness area of the Tahoe National Forest.

Gregorie, a physician, wants state government to ensure that resort operators clearly mark such dangers. He formed the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization with Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento to lobby for new laws and urge the ski industry to establish uniform safety standards.

Unlike many states, California has no skiing safety statues. The state agency that comes closest to regulating the ski industry is the Department of Industrial Relations, which monitors tram operations and other issues affecting the safety of resort employees.

Gregorie said the industry is protected from liability through the common-law doctrine of assumed risk and through the contractual
negligence waivers that are included in ski pass purchase agreements.

"Often the skier or boarder is not aware of the unknown risks they are supposedly assuming," he said.

Last ski season, 22 people died and 40 more were disabled in skiing or snowboarding accidents across the country.

Over the past decade, an average of 37 people have died each year, according to the National Ski Areas Association, an industry group.

Among the better known examples are the 1998 skiing death of Michael Kennedy, the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, in Aspen, Colo. Soon afterward, Rep. Sonny Bono, who starred in "Sonny and Cher" before being elected to Congress from Palm Springs, died in a skiing accident on the Nevada side of the Heavenly Ski Resort near South Lake Tahoe.
Information from: Palo Alto Daily News,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)