Following a morning of testimony, it appears that legislation proposing a fine on skiiers who go off trails, get lost and require rescue will not move out of committee this year.
The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee took testimony Tuesday morning on a bill that proposes that “a criminal trespass charge be brought against a person who requires rescue for skiing off a designated ski trail.” A $500-fine would also be imposed.
The state’s top law enforcement officer, ski industry officials and the author of a book on back-country skiing all testified the bill is a bad idea.
Vermont Ski Areas Association President Parker Riehle believes the bill was born of frustration.
Stowe Mountain Rescue Team Leader Neil Van Dyke observed the proceedings, and he too believes the bill is a bad idea.
Parker Riehle believes more skiiers are going out of bounds because of the rising popularity of back-country skiing.
Neil Van Dyke says the bill has numerous faults that were pointed out during the committee discussion.
Van Dyke says the state Department of Public Safety gave the Judiciary committee statistics showing that State Police have been involved with 50 lost back country skiiers this winter, 48 of them at the Killington and Pico ski areas.