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Letter to the editor

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Re: Article on death of Dave Sheets

To many living in Whistler area, this letter may express a very unpopular opinion, but I feel that this "minority" voice must be heard, because I may be speaking for a majority of a very important group at Whistler-Blackcomb, a visiting skier and tourist.

In reading the article on Dave Sheets' death, one can only assume he was skiing very, very fast when he encountered another skier below a knoll, and was unable to avoid hitting the other skier. Your story mentioned he was wearing a helmet (good!) and skiing on Honeycomb Run (a blue run!). Fortunately, the other skier was not seriously injured (or killed) as well.

I come to Whistler-Blackcomb as an intermediate skier and a visitor, to enjoy the skiing and other benefits of the area. But I am frankly terrified when skiing the upper blue slopes by expert skiers who ski at speeds far in excess of what seems prudent in a crowded ski area. No one seems to pay any attention to "Slow" signs. Ski Patrol personnel seem to spend their time in the Ski Patrol Hut – I only saw them leaning over victims. Several times, I noticed personnel wearing jackets marked "Mountain Safety" but only once saw them stop four snowboarders on Olympic Run at the end of the day. I believe the management of Whistler-Blackcomb fails to provide runs where the expert skier can be more challenged, without exposing out-of-towners to the risk of being run off the blue runs. And it’s just as bad, if not worse, on the green runs.

I would really be interested in reading the Ski Patrol accident report on the collision that killed Dave Sheets. He may have been all the fine things that your story said about him, but I wonder how long it had been since he bothered to read the Alpine Responsibility Code that is posted all over the ski area – on poles supporting the ski lifts, in the lodges, and on lift tickets.

You should be editorially deploring the accident – you should be condemning the atmosphere where his actions are condoned – you should recognize that Whistler-Blackcomb should be run for the visitors and not just the 9,000 living in the Whistler area.

David M. Blakemore

Seattle

 

Faith restored.

I had lost faith in Mr. Maxwell after his fence sitting regarding the Olympics but he has stormed back with this week’s editorial slamming our wrong footed premier for his ski boot faux pas. Brilliant. I too noticed this remarkable fashion crime. But G.D. didn't mention the appalling clothing. Our illustrious premier was wearing very old Far West pants with what I believe was a Columbia Jacket. Surely his handlers could have made sure he was wearing one of the many leading apparel brands that are made in Canada and show a lot more taste and savvy than his thrift store specials. In the photo he looked like a complete geek, just so god damned happy to be there hanging around with these cool international guys! Almost like royalty those IOC officials and our benevolent dictator, Mr. Chretien, along as well.

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