Susanna Opper: Cost of carelessness


An open letter to the snowboarder who ran into me on Rudi’s Run:

Since you took off when you heard the call to Ski Patrol, even though you were asked to stay around, you don’t know my story. I’d like to share it with you.

Here’s what was going through my mind as I lay on the snow with a dislocated shoulder.

First, my vacation was over. I’d only skied a day and a half. I’m from the East Coast, and for most of the past 50 years, I’ve taken a week’s ski vacation out West. I prefer Colorado, and this was my 12th visit to Steamboat. I first came alone in 1974 when the road to the mountain was still unpaved. I returned later with my boyfriend, then with my husband, and later still with his sons and our grandchildren. My husband no longer skis, and this year, I visited with a friend. She grew up in Grand Junction, but had never been to Steamboat.

Because you didn’t look where you were going, or you couldn’t control your snowboard, or both, my friend had to finish her vacation alone. Fortunately, she had a good time, so you didn’t ruin two vacations. Now, I’m back in Massachusetts, and there’s a foot of snow coming. But I won’t be skiing at the little mountain near my home.

I didn’t get a good look at you, though fortunately, there was a witness, but I think you are young. I’m not. I’m 77, and this was my last Western ski vacation. I didn’t want it to end this way. I hope you’re still on the mountain at 77 and that you remember then the cost of your carelessness when you were young.

Susanna Opper

Alford, Massachusetts


Scott Wedel 2 months, 1 week ago

I find the thought process behind this letter to be interesting. If the person that ran into a 77 year old woman was willing to leave the scene then why believe that person cares that the victim has a separated shoulder or won't take another SB ski vacation?

Seems to me what this sort of incident suggests is needed is more video surveillance. Presumably, covering key areas such as scanning passes/tickets at base, unloading of chair lifts and where runs merge then would have enough video to figure out the perpetrator. Might not have the evidence to prosecute, but would be enough to pull a pass.


steve randall 2 months, 1 week ago

What do you call a snowboarder in a suit....the defendant. What do you call a snowboarder that breaks up with his girlfriend...homeless

All jokes aside, courtesy on the slopes is definitely lacking during peak times. I like Scott's suggestions for cameras.


Ben Tiffany 2 months, 1 week ago

I doubt cameras would be very effective in the middle of a remote slope;more likely they would just be another intrusion. Not so good in a driving snowstorm either. Perhaps they would be helpful near where trails merge,as Scott suggests. I'm never eager for more cameras to be watching me,so it would only make sense in spots where a clear benefit could be established.


Scott Wedel 2 months, 1 week ago

The idea is not to cover the entire mountain, but if covering a few key areas that would suggest what people are likely on what runs. If also record base area where passes are scanned as then that should allow matching names to clothing then should be able to have a short list of suspects for that sort of incident.


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