Being a daredevil on the ski slopes could get expensive under a bill by Sen. Jim Kastama.
The bill, SB 5186, would make it a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $1000, to ski in areas marked off as closed.
Kastama, D-Puyallup, and ski patrol officials from Crystal Mountain argued that skiers regularly find ways to get around barriers and ski in closed areas, endangering their own lives and those of the ski patrol who come after them.
“There are too many folks out there who think they’re in a Warren Miller movie,” said Kastama, referring to a company that makes extreme winter sports movies. “They want to go places where danger is clearly a factor.”
At a hearing on the bill in the Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee, lawmakers agreed with its intent but worried that it would be difficult to enforce.
Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Islands, and Sen. James Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, both pointed out that people who do ski patrol in Washington are not deputized, meaning they could not compel a skier they found out of bounds to give them identification.
The bill relies on ski patrol getting identification information from skiers who go into off-limits areas and sending that information on to local law enforcement in order for fines to be assessed.
Current law requires ski patrol to put up signs about hazards on ski slopes and skiers to act within the limits of their individual abilities, but does not specify penalties if skiers don’t abide by the signs.