Safety group names board |

Safety group names board

Elected officials and ski industry veterans have joined a Maine physician, whose daughter died in a snowboarding accident, to form a new organization that promotes winter sport safety practices.

A congresswoman, San Francisco supervisor and U.S. Ski team doctor have signed on to the nascent organization, announced by Dr. Dan Gregorie at the state capital building last week.

Gregorie’s daughter Jessica died while snowboarding at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort on Feb. 5, 2006, as she walked a traverse route to a popular ski run called Beaver Bowl. The tragedy spurred the doctor to start the safety group.

Among those joining the new California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization’s advisory board is Rep. Mary Bono, whose husband, Rep. Sonny Bono, died in 1998 in a ski accident at Heavenly Ski Resort.

Also named to the new group’s board are San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, known for her work with rights for the disabled; Terrence Orr, a doctor for the U.S. Men’s Alpine Ski Team; John Long, founder of Highridge Partners in Los Angeles; and Stan Gale, a ski-safety expert from Colorado.

In materials announcing its mission last week, the new safety group indicated the area where Gregorie died had no fencing or signage to warn of the danger of steep, icy slopes. The group has identified as part of its goal to promote adequate fencing, signs as well as information regarding ski accidents.

On Tuesday, a representative of Alpine Meadows said the area where Gregorie’s daughter slipped and fell to her death was outside the resort’s boundaries.

“The route to Beaver Bowl runs along the Pacific Crest,” said Alpine Public Relations Manager Rachael Woods in an e-mail interview. “The (southwest side) of the Pacific Crest is not within the ski area boundary, which is denoted by a sign posted by the resort; the (north side) of the Pacific Crest is within the ski area boundary.”

Gregorie said he is looking for cooperation from resort managers in his quest to change ski industry standards.

“Our desire from the very beginning is to do this collaboratively,” Gregorie said in a phone interview. “The first person I went to was Bob Roberts of the California Ski Industry Association. We are not interested in forcing anyone to do anything.”

In announcing the formation of the new group last week, state Assemblyman David Jones, D-Sacramento, praised its goal to “improve consumer protection and safety at our ski resorts.”

He said the organization will lobby for legislation that will improve the safety guidelines already in place.

The safety group will operate as a nonprofit corporation based in San Francisco.

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