Monday, February 21, 2011

Elderly man arrested for uphill skiing

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort officials say they will not press charges against a 78-year-old who was arrested on Feb. 5 after skiing uphill to watch his granddaughter’s ski race. Resort President Jerry Blann, whose ski patrollers spent 3.5 hours Feb. 5 trying to turn the retired Jackson Hole doctor around, said Fleck’s arrest and removal from the mountain resolved the issue.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested the fitness buff, one of the original investors in Teton Village, on misdemeanor charges of trespass, interference, unsafe skiing and theft of services. Ski patrollers then tobogganed Fleck and a deputy down the mountain as Fleck sat in handcuffs. “Once he was removed, the safety issue, which was our primary concern, was removed,” Blann said.

Uphill skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is not safe, Blann reiterated, especially in the early morning when avalanche mitigation activities, grooming machines and snowmobiles pose hazards. Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen said his department also will decline to press charges. “Pretty much from the beginning of this thing, we didn’t see any reason to move forward with the criminal prosecution,” he said. “We’re fine with it.”

Roland Fleck spent about seven hours in the Teton County Jail, an arrest summary report showed. Dan Fleck, Roland Fleck’s son and an attorney with The Spence Law Firm, said he was pleased to hear that the resort wasn’t pressing charges. “I’m hoping this will end the matter,” he said. Still, Dan Fleck said his father should have the right to ski uphill at the resort.

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