Resorts in the West believe skiers and snowboarders should be able to enjoy the inherent excitement, exhilaration and thrills on the slopes – and feel safe while doing them.For nearly two decades, the National Ski Areas Association has designated January as the time to focus on how to activity on the slopes and trails safer for everyone. And, in the past several seasons, the issue has been in the spotlight with high-profile accidents and lawsuits.
Education programs play off the venerable Skier’s Responsibility Code, which asserts that safety on the slopes begins with the behavior’s of the individual: staying in control, giving the downhill skier or rider the right of way, and keeping an eye out for fellow skiers-snowboarders and obstructions – among others.
Most resorts in the West have laid out activities and events for National Ski Safety Month. Here is a sampling:
Snowbasin. The Utah resort lets skiers and riders “close the mountain” with its ski patrol, a safety education booth at the base and a terrain park challenge focusing on safe riding.
Tahoe Donner. The Sierra resort puts its avalanche dog, Tucker, front and center, along with avalanche beacon training and free sunscreen and dark glasses.
Vail. Proper helmet sizing and use highlights the Colorado resort’s safety efforts. Local police register skis and snowboards for free, and ski patrol demonstrates use of avalanche beacons and digging out a buried skier or ‘boarder.
Arizona Snowbowl. Knowledge of Skier’s Responsibility Code means discounted lift tickets at Flagstaff resort. An avalanche simulator enhances the understanding of the dangers of a snow slide, and helmets are on sale.
Grand Targhee. On-the-slope demonstrations and activities highlight the Idaho resort’s safety efforts, including topics of mountain survival, avalanche beacon use and demonstrations by rescue dogs.
Photo: Rescue dogs like this pup at Lake Tahoe are part of mountain safety (Tahoe Donner)