OAKLAND, Calif. - A 10-year-old boy from San Francisco broke two vertebrae in his back when a member of the Squaw Valley ski team lost control at high speed and collided with the boy, the boy's father said.
Nolan Chong now has to wear a back brace and deal with potentially life-long back issues, said his father Joseph Chong.
The collision happened on the morning of Dec. 31 on a black diamond slope, which is considered to be among the most challening ski runs.
Chong said two teen members of the Squaw Valley ski team were racing down a hill when one of them collided with Nolan. The 14-year-old ski team member then hit a tree.
Members from the ski patrol at Squaw Valley withnessed the crash and told Chong that ski team members are held to higher safety standards than members of the public.
"It was easily avoidable, an egregious violation of Squaw Valley’s top safety rules, and directly witnessed by ski patrol."
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows issued a statement Sunday afternoon addressing concerns that the members of the ski team were acting reckless at the time of the crash.
After an investigation, our ski patrollers concluded that this collision was not caused by reckless skiing, but rather was an unfortunate example of the inherent risk that all skiers and riders take on when they approach any ski slope. Our ski patrollers have a variety of options when they evaluate the cause of collisions, from no-fault to egregiously dangerous skiing. In this case, the ski patroller who was an eyewitness to the collision, and has 30 years of experience, chose not to note reckless skiing as a factor in this collision. Had reckless skiing been identified as a contributing factor, the penalties would have been more severe than even the forceful and numerous consequences this child faced.
The ski team member who hit Nolan had his season pass revoked for one week.