It started in December-- the rescues came one after another. Fifteen in all, involving more than 50 skiers and riders who left a resort and got lost out of bounds. The epicenter was Killington and Pico-- what some call a "topographically challenged" area and easy for inexperienced skiers and riders to get bogged down.
"The comments I've heard from people about this-- it's the taxpayers' dollars that are being spent for this and they're kind of outraged," said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington County.
From criminal charges to imposing fines up to $500, Sears' Judiciary Committee is weighing the best course of action to deal with scofflaw skiers.
"I don't think people are not going out of bounds because they're afraid they're going to get charged for the recovery. I think they're going out of bounds because it's fun," Sears said.
While ski areas have in the past occasionally billed individuals for their rescue, Vermont State Police and other agencies continue to be adamantly against it despite having a law on the books for 20 years that allows them to do so.
Vt. Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn: If we start imposing criminal sanctions or significant fines then people will stop and think twice before calling in and that's completely opposite of what we want to get the message through.
Sen. Dick Sears: Basically you believe the bill is unnecessary.
Keith Flynn: We do.
Ski industry officials also agree the bill is unnecessary and would also inhibit backcountry users-- one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. A proposal to have skiers purchase annual rescue cards-- something done in Colorado-- was also quickly dismissed as unmanageable. For lawmakers, the consensus for now may be to take an approach used in neighboring New Hampshire and in Oregon where collection of fines is based on a standard of recklessness or negligence, something the Vermont statute does not have.
The bill does not appear to have legs this year. Public Safety officials say that since an aggressive public information campaign started at the beginning of the year, there's been only one rescue.
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 5:09 PM EDT2013-05-24 21:09:17 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 4:37 PM EDT2013-05-24 20:37:30 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:48 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:48:57 GMT
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess. First, shut off power to all basement appliances. Don't touchMore >>
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-24 20:24:06 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:55 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:55:28 GMT
Four people behind bars this morning, charged with kidnapping and burglary. Brattleboro police say just before 1 p.m. Thursday, a group of people forced two women into a car at gunpoint. Police caughtMore >>
Four people behind bars, charged with kidnapping and burglary.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:58 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:58:10 GMT
A Massachusetts man is dead after an ATV crash in Concord. Police say just before 10 p.m. Thursday night, 42-year-old Frank Baker Junior was driving an ATV off of Leonard Hill Road when he lost controlMore >>
A Massachusetts man is dead after an ATV crash in Concord, Vt. More >>