Jon had this to say about my "Jumps and Jump Building" article:
With much respect for the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol, there are two points (plus some) that seriously suggest that properly trained skiers should be able to build in-bound jumps: 1.) Most states have passed multiple bills that clearly state that nobody can "sign away her or his rights"…meaning that corporations cannot be held accountable for negligent actions by consumers. 2,) By forcing jumps into the less-safe backcountry regions the risk for danger and unwanted rescue by patrollers seems to be increased beyond practicality.
Thanks, Jon. I’m glad to be able to have a discussion of this that’s NOT in-the-heat-of-the-moment when tempers run high, as is often the case when I’m at work and have to ask kids to take down jumps they’ve built. It seems that humans just LOVE building jumps. Ski and snowboard jumps, skateboard jumps, bike jumps, you name it! Maybe it’s because we wish we could fly. The other day I was watching a TV story about Native American Fancy Dancing from different parts of the country, and MAN there were a lot of feathers on some of the clothing. No antlers, no hooves, no moulted snake skins or shedded hair. But lots and lots of feathers. It made me wonder about our special affinity for birds. Maybe we subconsciously remember a time when we were angels or something. Kind of makes ya’ think, huh?
Anyway, back to your comment…I don’t disagree with your point #2. Like I said in my article, I would never "recommend" backcountry jump building because of the things (injuries!) that can go wrong. But Crystal Mountain doesn’t have rules controlling what you do when you’re elsewhere. And no one’s forcing anyone to jump anywhere! You’re welcome to keep your feet on the ground, and there are all sorts of natural terrain features that you can jump off at Crystal as long as you do it in a safe manner. We just don’t allow you to alter our ski area because a) we like it the way it is and b) we have no way of knowing if you know what you’re doing!
I hear your point #1 all the time, but attorneys I talk to seem to have a different opinion. I want to keep an open mind, though. If you can find me some Washington law indicating that "corporations cannot be held accountable for negligent actions by consumers" in situations like ski area jump building, I’ll be all over that! But remember…we don’t prohibit jump-building because we want to avoid accountability; we prohibit jump-building because we don’t want to see our guests getting hurt!