DrailI do realize that I, as well as those I associate with, are not your 'normal' skiers, but I think a number of you are missing a very important part of the bigger picture.
It sucks when unknowing people go out of bounds and end up dying from their bad decision making, but skiing is a demanding sport, and the mountains are not an amusement park. Sure, the retail industry is all about touring, but from where I stand, they are supplying the ever growing demand from their customers/athletes and not the other way around. The beast/kingpin didn't create a market, the market demanded a hybrid tech binding and they listened. For years the Duke was the only real option for someone who wanted to tour with something beafy, and all other companies would have been fools to not follow suit. To think that a retail company would do anything but follow the demands of its consumers is naive. All the new stuff that is being introduced and marketed to ski touring is making things safer out there, and the more people that are getting into it, the more the culture shifts to one of safety.
Skiers in the backcountry is nothing new, and personally, the thought of being told I'm not allowed to go somewhere puts a horrible taste in my mouth. I don't like ski hills that have 'permenantly closed' areas let alone anything in the backcountry that tries to deny me from travelling where I please, when I please. There are very little rules out there, but a lot of etiquette and it's very important to remember that. There have been times (usually between Christmas and New Years) where I've seen some very questionable acts go down in the mountains, but it's not up to me to decide what they should or shouldn't do, but instead make sure I distance myself from their mistakes. For example: Yeah, it's suck if an inexperienced group set off a slide that took out an experienced group below, but it's just as important for the experienced group to not be lingering below potential danger. It could easily be the other way around with an experienced group make a ski cut, or drop a cornice to test the slope with an inexperienced group in the run out zone.
Sometimes people do stupid things. It's not the retail companies fault, it's not the ski hills fault, sometimes there really is no one to blame, not even the victim. We as humans often rush to a conclusion of blame when most of the time it's not so simple. If you don't respect the mountains, you're gonna have a bad time.
Completely agree, guess I don't see where we see it so differently.
I don't think ski areas should have to cater to the least competent of skiers. People should fully comprehend the inherent dangers of skiing, and in my opinion, there's an implicit acceptance of potentially fatal consequences the moment someone steps into a pair of bindings. That goes tenfold for people recreating in the BC. Ski areas don't maintain or establish BC gates, those are mandated by the forest service (at least as far as I'm aware of), so it follows that individuals are solely responsible for their own wellbeing outside of area boundaries. Then again, while I'm more than happy to help people who need it, I think there's far too little self-responsibility in general within the boundaries as well.
I don't agree with one small point you made, that sometimes not even the victim is to blame. Maybe it's just semantics, but if you're the victim of a slide, you invariably made a mistake somewhere along the line, even if the slide was a once every 30 years kind of slide or whatever. Now, that mistake can be glaringly obvious where even a quick glance at the circumstances reveals warnings missed/unheeded, or it can be much more subtle—so much so that maybe most other experienced people would've made the same mistake given the same circumstances, but it's still a matter of risk aversion/acceptance. We might look at an accident report and conclude, "fuck....they did a lot of shit right, and given all the info available to them at the time, I probably would've done the exact same thing", but that doesn't mean they're blameless really because they accepted the risk.
You'd probably agree that "Successful" decisions aren't necessarily indicative of being "right", as they are possibly the result of simply being lucky, but on the flipside, unsuccessful trips/decisions are confirmation of being wrong.
I totally agree with you on the point though that it is on individuals to protect themselves from any/all hazards, and increasingly, one of those hazards is other people with little to no knowledge. If the hypothetical experienced skiers are on their p's and q's, they shouldn't put themselves in positions where someone else's bad decisions can kill them. Sure, there are situations we could come up with where we could agree that they were just incredibly unlucky and got a raw deal somehow, but I think the point remains.
As for ski areas or manufacturers somehow shouldering some of the blame due to marketing AT gear, or BC skiing, or fresh snow, or making less controlled/managed terrain and snow available, I think that's bullshit 100%. If I went on a surf trip as someone who's never stood up on a wave, is it someone else' fault if I go to Pipeline or Mavericks or wherever and fucking die? No. That doesn't mean it's irresponsible for quiksilver or Surfer mag to promote big wave surfing.
In response to you japanada, I don't know JH or the surrounding terrain at all, outside of reading about it, but gullies are gullies, benches are benches, exposure is exposure, and valley floors surrounded avy paths are just that. Complicated terrain is everywhere, and again, it comes down to risk acceptance. If a particular area is so dangerous that it seems like there is no safe zone, well, that's really on the people choosing to ski it at the end of the day. A huge part of making decisions is weighing the likelihood of something happen vs. the consequences if it does. If the likelihood is low but the consequences lethal, that's a decision to be made, and if the likelihood is high but the likely consequences relatively low, that's different, but still a decision. I know I'm stating the obvious and none of this is revelatory to you, so I'm not trying to school you or some shit, I just like the conversation and talking these things through.