No fines for skiing out of bounds in Vermont or charges for a rescue

If you ski out of bounds in Vermont, get lost and need to be rescued, you won't be fined for your actions, nor will you be charged for the rescue. The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been debating the issue, has decided to let the matter drop for the moment. This came after testimony from top law enforcement officials, a ski industry leader, and the author of a book on backcountry skiing. These officials said fines are a bad idea because it would have a detrimental effect on skier visits to Vermont. The Committee also rejected the ide of charging lost skiers for their rescue. Senior police officers testified that they are worried skiers would be intimidated and would be reluctant to call for help. Vermont law states that a lost person who skis out of bounds can be held responsible for the costs of a search and rescue, but this is rarely enforced.

The debate was sparked by the 2013-2014 season's high number of lost skiers at Killington and Pico. According to Senator Kevin Mullin, a Rutland Republican, there have been 50 rescues in the area. He wants skiers who deliberatrely ski out of bounds to be subjected to a $500 fine.

“Nobody goes out of bounds thinking that they’re going to get lost,” says Mullen, “but inevitably it happens and I just think it would be helpful to have a sign that says, ‘It is a crime to ski out of bounds.” Mullen says rescues are costing Vermont taxpayers a lot of money.