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Thread: Cog Railroad Expanding Winter Operations

  1. #31
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    If the Snowcat Operation were to get approved it will be interesting to see if there is a change in the uphill/downhill traffic by non-paying customers. Much like the changes in policy already instituted by privately owned and Forest Service land leased Ski Areas. Will there be a limiting of that traffic to certain time frames or at all and in certain cases for a fee?
    Thought you might like this. Ha. On a side note Peakbagger the Base Road is plowed by the Cog. And that was the best thing for the state to have done. Allowing the Cog to be accessed year round for safety repairs and badly needed maintaince for one of USA's and New Hampshires premire attractions.
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  2. #32
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    Great this is change from when the road was reopened by the state for winter use. Thanks for the update.

  3. #33
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    The Coos County Planning Board approved the Cog proposal. The Berin Sun (paywall) has an article with additional info. With respect to off cog property skiing the owner had this comment Mount Washington Railway owner Wayne Presby said anyone who wishes to ride on the Snowcat will be required to purchase a Hike-Safe card from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and will be asked to stay on the property owned by the railway.

    The article also states that the 10-passenger snowcat will be used as an additional emergency support for cog passengers, skiing, tours and to assist Fish and Game with rescues.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    Thought you might like this. Ha. On a side note Peakbagger the Base Road is plowed by the Cog. And that was the best thing for the state to have done. Allowing the Cog to be accessed year round for safety repairs and badly needed maintaince for one of USA's and New Hampshires premire attractions.
    Odd that someone would leave their skis there.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Regarding the legal issues in case of an accident....

    To date as others mentioned, liability on skiing has been hard to pin on resorts and even more so if you ski OOB. However, in places out west, they have terrain inside and outside of the ropes. I'm thinking most of us would classify the train cut, ROW as an out of bounds terrain. Do OOB places and heli-skiing locations have warming huts out of bounds?

    Are you a ski resort if you have no in-bound skiing? As others mentioned, from time to time, the resorts close down upper lifts and slopes in high wind or extreme cold conditions. A snow cat would be able to go in conditions that a chair might not. (being stuck on a chair in 60+ winds in the winter would get ugly fast)

    On a hiking related note, with the projected increase in traffic, will there be less or no parking for hikers at Base Station? Will USFS start plowing the hiker lot?
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  6. #36
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    The USFS Ammo parking lot was built deliberately on FS land. At the time, roughly after the current Cog owner and his partner first bought out the prior owner's, they requested that the hiking trails be moved off the Cog's inholding. The cog also was charging hikers for parking during non snow season and with the primary access to Lake of Crowds being the Cog lot I expect AMC was uphappy about the situation. Therefore, the USFS lot was built with parking fee money. Initially it was not plowed but soon after the base station road started getting plowed and the cog decided to start charging, the FS started plowing the Ammo lot. Therefore, it was the hiker's choice, either pay for an annual parking pass and park at the FS Ammo lot or pay a few bucks to park at the Cog lot and save a few minutes and take the former trail routes which are kept open for the convenience of the Cog customers. Note in the intervening years the trail from the Ammo lot had a washed out bridge and the only access to the Jewell was via the Cog lot. I do not believe that the cog was charging for Winter parking during this time. The problem with parking fees at the Cog is that the typical hiker traffic did not justify assigning an employee to manage it in winter. Available parking area is function of plowing, so I do not see where they will run out of space if they are collecting a parking fee.

    Note that the Cog reportedly switched from a parking fee per car to a recreational access fee per person a few years ago. The difference is that anyone on Cog property regardless of where they parked is supposed to be paying an access fee if they are on the property. This deals with vanloads of people paying one parking fee or folks entering the cog property from elsewhere like the Ammo Lot but far more importantly by charging per person, NH recreational liability wavier used by ski areas can be noticed to all the individuals on the property. I do not know if the cog is actively pursuing folks that do not buy passes. The standard reliability waiver accorded to landowners in NH does not apply to the cog as that only applies to properties where there is no fee to enter.

    If you look at the numbers, a 10 passenger snowcat is not going to be moving a lot of people on a daily basis. My guess would be 12 runs at 40 minutes (Up and back) each based on 8 hours of daylight. The Cog has discussed running ski trains using the diesel cogs and have built warming huts with outhouses at the top of their intended maintained slope so if that was put in place the numbers would be a lot higher. My guess the unit cost is lot less with diesel cog than a snowcat so unless the snowcat charges quite premium, I question the profit unless its proof of concept for running snow trains.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 12-21-2021 at 02:26 PM.

  7. #37
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post

    If you look at the numbers, a 10 passenger snowcat is not going to be moving a lot of people on a daily basis. My guess would be 12 runs at 40 minutes (Up and back) each based on 8 hours of daylight. The Cog has discussed running ski trains using the diesel cogs and have built warming huts with outhouses at the top of their intended maintained slope so if that was put in place the numbers would be a lot higher. My guess the unit cost is lot less with diesel cog than a snowcat so unless the snowcat charges quite premium, I question the profit unless its proof of concept for running snow trains.
    Maybe the cat will do double duty: I imagine the Cog will need to groom the ROW on a regular basis.
    A man needs to know his limitations -- Dirty Harry / Clint Eastwood

  8. #38
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    Reading through thoughts and points on this made me wonder if this effort would need to fall into identifying themselves as a ski area and be required to comply with NH Laws regarding the operation of a ski area, since they plan to charge a fee. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/.../225-A-mrg.htm

    When I was at Monadnock State Park we had an XC ski trail network that was fading that I was trying to reinvigorate and attract customers to. My supervisor at the time told me I really should not require the park use fee, since we were unable to comply with RSA 225-A due to limited resources. When I oversaw Milan Hill State Park and worked with the Nansen Ski Club to build their ski touring operation in the park, it was important for both the club and the state to figure out a way for the club to receive money from the public without requiring a fee, and this was through club membership and fundraising drives with the trails kept open to all. All to comply with RSA 225 and reduce liability.

    I read that RSA many times. but not being a lawyer or a college graduate, I may not have been interpreting things correctly, and this may not apply to the proposed Cog ski operations at all. And quite frankly that despite years of contributing wording to NH Laws and Rules, even the best of us with the state only got a headache from trying to interpret state rules and laws. Besides, NH state government is so short-staffed and limited right now, that it probably would not matter anyways.

  9. #39
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    I am also not a lawyer. The RSA sets down the law but usually there are administrative rules that are less accessible that set how the state agents will enforce the statute.

    A few lines stick out with respect to out of boundary and trespass

    225-A:24 Responsibilities of Skiers and Passengers.
    V. No skier, passenger or other person shall:

    (g) Ski or otherwise access terrain outside open and designated ski trails and slopes or beyond ski area boundaries without written permission of said operator or designee.

    V. No ski area operator shall be held responsible for ensuring the safety of, or for damages including injury or death resulting to, skiers or other persons who utilize the facilities of a ski area to access terrain outside open and designated ski trails. Ski areas shall not be liable for damages, including injury or death, to persons who venture beyond such open and designated ski trails.
    VI. A ski area operator owes no duty to anyone who trespasses on the ski area property.


    My "non legal" interpretation. If someone buys a Cog pass, the Cog is not liable for injuries and accidents to guests on the Cog property as long as the Cog meets the other requirements of the RSA.

    Going out of bounds violates the clearly defined responsibilities of the Skier and therefore the ski area has no exposure

    If the snowcat (or future cog) is used to access terrain off the property boundary the Cog is not liable for any injury or death.

    People who trespass on the property do so at their own risk. I expect that hikers or skiers who on occasion elect to hike or ski up or down the powerline "road" on the Cog land are trespassing, the cog can either sell them a pass or attempt to prosecute for trespass (if there is proper noticing at the boundaries of the property).

  10. #40
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I am not a lawyer either but I would bet that Presby and company have a few on retainer and have already covered their behinds or they wouldn't be offering this product.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  11. #41
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    Mr. Presby is lawyer by training. No doubt he has looked at the pitfalls as he needs insurance to run the Cog operations and would not jeopardize his ability to get it

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Mr. Presby is lawyer by training. No doubt he has looked at the pitfalls as he needs insurance to run the Cog operations and would not jeopardize his ability to get it
    Agreed.

    Not wanting to take the effort to read the details in the RSA, and not necessarily intending to see this as controversial......I'm very curious from the management perspective if the operation would need to consider itself a ski area, and implement the ski area like requirements, if you are advertising conveying people up a slope specifically to ski back down an established route. The other option would be to advertise just snow tractor (I doubt they use a Snowcat) rides to access the upper elevations of the mountain, and whatever mountaineering experience you pursue is your own risk and business, no ski area. They could justify grooming the route as what is needed to keep the snow road open. Very much as the auto road is kept groomed primarily for the sake of keeping it up for travel, and not maintained primarily as a ski descent.

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