Parents question use of snowmobiles on slopes
VAIL – Why a snowmobile is running up and down the mountain when dozens of children are around warming up for a race is a question parents of teammates are asking in the wake of the 13-year-old ski racer Ashley Stamp’s death in a collision Sunday. Reports from eye witnesses about what happened on Golden Peak Sunday morning are conflicting. Stamp was warming up for a race when she collided with a snowmobile driven by a Vail Resorts race crew employee. While the collision is still under investigation, some parents insist they didn’t notice anything unusual about snowmobiles that day.But other parents, who didn’t see the collision but watched some of the skiers warming up before the race was canceled, say the two snowmobiles operating around the race course were going too fast and negligence could have been a factor in Stamp’s death. “Something has to be done to regulate snowmobiles on the slopes and if Vail is the lead ski mountain in the United States, they should take the lead in implementing it,” said Stuart Roberts, whose four children were on Golden Peak last weekend skiing with Stamp. “We allow our kids to do something risky,” Roberts said. “I don’t need an 800-pound snowmobile jeopardizing them. There were 200 kids in that race.”Stuart Roberts and his wife, Lulu, said the snowmobiles in the race arena were going at least at 20 mph with no sirens on, contrasting initial Colorado State Patrol reports that said the snowmobile was moving about 10 mph with the siren and lights on. “It is feasible for a race to be put on without snowmobiles,” said Jeff Gibbs, of Steamboat Springs, whose son, Alex, was skiing behind Stamp when the collision happened and is an eyewitness. “Snowmobiles can be a helpful tool when they are used in a prudent fashion. That wasn’t the way I felt they were used in the weekend,” Gibbs said.Vail Resorts officials declined to comment on the accident or their snowmobile procedures on the mountain and on race courses.”The investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident is ongoing and therefore it continues to be inappropriate for us to comment any further,” said Kelly Ladyga, spokeswoman for Vail Resorts.”The investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragic accident is ongoing and therefore it continues to be inappropriate for us to comment any further,” said Kelly Ladyga, spokeswoman for Vail Resorts.
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Sitting at the base of Sunlight Mountain, Larry Strohmeyer pictures a perfect day for skiing — a warm, spring day with a bluebird sky and a fresh layer of powder covering the slopes.