Drones in Colorado raise concerns about safety and privacy


Photo from Fastcompany.com

Drones have been a hot topic in Colorado over the past few years and many people are not sure what to think. There are benefits and drawbacks to drones for almost every practical use. Drones might be in a time of transition where they cant be taken too seriously or it may lead to further problems the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

In todays world it is very easy to buy a drone and fly it freely around the US but that soon may change. Every year there are new problems arising with publicly and privately owned drones. In the ski town of Vail, Colorado we see a trend emerging among skiers and snowboarders and it involves the use of drones.

Many people around town asked to ban the use of publicly owned drones but that request was shelved with a number of remaining questions.

Matt a junior at the University of Denver said, “I think drones allow for a lot of new innovative ideas, but it also raises the question about how much privacy the american people are willing to give up for new technology.”

Drones are not perfect and have the ability to fall out of the sky and injure people. Some drones weigh up to 50 pounds, which is somewhat intimidating when its seen buzzing over your head with no pilot to be found.

Nick Menicucci, a marketing major at the University of Denver, said “I don’t really see a use for publicly owned drones besides making home movies and video, other than that they should not be allowed on national forrest areas or ski resorts”

As of right now Vail cannot really make any serious rule changes for drone use. This is only because the regulations are always shifting at a federal level which leaves small towns out of the picture.

Even though drones have been receiving a lot of criticism from Colorado residents, there are upsides to this type of technology. At some ski resorts drones have been brought up in avalanche safety meetings and search and rescue efforts.

“Drones have the ability to get to places much quicker and safer than ski patrol.” Said Matt Holden who is an avid skier, ” So I can see them playing a large role in mountain safety as long as they can prove the effectiveness.”

It sounds like drones have a lot of potential in the outdoor lifestyle industry, but they seem to have a few kinks they need to work out before they can take over the skies. Reliability is a huge factor when it comes to drone use because the operator could be many miles away while their drone fails and falls out of the sky.

This is not uncommon for drones to do, that is why there are so many questions being raised about the use of this technology at crowded ski resorts and national parks. The dangers of drones colliding with ski lifts or fast moving skiers is a dreadful thought for anyone in the ski industry.


2 thoughts on “Drones in Colorado raise concerns about safety and privacy

  1. What’s up Harlan?
    You bring up some really interesting points regarding the positives and negatives of drones. Something that I’ve never thought about is the use of drones for mountain safety and avalanche search. Having drones controlled to travel to the locations of skiers in danger would be highly beneficial. As a ski instructor, I know that people go missing on the mountain every year and this has the potential to reduce some of those casualties. Using drones and radios to communicate back and forth from the ski patrol shack to the search team creates a communication that could never happen before.
    However, I do agree that it would be off-putting if we had a bunch of drones constantly flying through the air on a regular basis. That just seems unnatural to me.
    Thanks for your story!


  2. This is a very interesting article, with great quotes. On one side it is easy to condemn drones for public use based on the idea of privacy, especially because drones can fly over private properties with GoPro’s attached. However, on the other side, it is easy to see the use of drones for helping out with avalanche rescue. Overall, I do not think that drones have been created safe and secure enough for public use, and I believe that drones should be only used for private industry purposes and rescue purposes. This article did an excellent job of showing both sides, and giving explanations.


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