DENVER, Colo. – February 17, 2012– Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) and its 22 member resorts remind skiers and snowboarders to practice safe skiing and riding, know and follow Your Responsibility Code, be aware of surroundings and obey terrain closures.
“Guest safety is always the number one priority of our members,” explained Melanie Mills, CSCUSA president and CEO. “President’s Day weekend is a popular time to go skiing, and our resorts are doing absolutely everything they can to make sure guests are safe and have an enjoyable time on the slopes during this busy weekend.”Individual skier and snowboarder responsibility is the foundation for safe skiing. Loveland Ski Area assistant patrol director and CSCUSA Ski Patroller of the Year, Joey Riefenberg, stresses the importance of being aware of your surroundings, “Skiers and snowboarders need to be proactive about safety, pay attention to who is skiing around you and always look downhill. Go slow and give yourself time to stop. Know that little kids are out and about and need a wide berth, watch where the flows are.”
CSCUSA member resorts across the state are taking extra measures to provide safe skiing environments, including constantly reassessing conditions. “Resorts are working super hard to make sure it’s safe. Everyone is super conscientious of that, and the snowpack,” said Riefenberg. “It’s a funny snowpack this year, really odd, and resorts are on alert, busy knocking all the air out of the snowpack and making sure everything is safe.”
Skiers and snowboarders are also reminded to obey all signage and be especially alert to obeying terrain closures. As snow continues to fall in Ski Country, resorts will open more terrain as conditions safely allow. “We’d love to open everything but things are closed for a reason, because it’s unsafe for you and unsafe for those who have to rescue you,” Riefenberg explained. “Nothing is being saved, we want everyone to have fun, but be safe doing it.”
Ultimately, it is the responsible behavior of skiers and riders that make the slopes safe. Knowing the nationally recognized Your Responsibility Code is crucial to skier and rider responsibility. Referred to simply as The Code, it is comprised of seven principles that collectively outline on-mountain skier etiquette and safe skiing practices.
Responsibilities within The Code include:
:: Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
:: People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
:: You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
:: Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
:: Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
:: Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
:: Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
CSCUSA also reminds skiers, snowboarders and other snowsports enthusiasts heading into the backcountry to check with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) on the magnitude and nature of avalanche hazard they may encounter, do not venture out alone, and have proper equipment and education for the conditions. “Backcountry avalanche danger right now is considerable,” states Ethan Greene, director of CAIC. “With the holiday weekend there’s going to be powder snow and nice weather, but don’t be fooled that the hazard is anything less than very serious.”
More information on backcountry conditions can be found at the CAIC website, www.avalanche.state.co.us or by calling 303-499-9650.