January is National Safety Month at ski resorts across America, and Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) member resorts are hosting special safety-related programs and activities all month long to raise awareness and demonstrate the many ways they work to keep the slopes safe every day.
Throughout January resorts are working to educate guests about on-mountain safety and responsibilities. This is happening with a variety of activities at the resorts and in some cases in local mountain communities with resort staff visiting local schools to educate kids on safe skiing and snowboarding.
Safety activities at the resorts include ski patrol conducting a wide array of hands-on demonstrations such as bringing guests on patrol sweeps at the end of the day, training exercises, and many more interactive safety experiences. Additionally, some resorts’ highly-trained avalanche dogs will show off their impressive skills in avalanche response simulations, an annual favorite for guests.
Skiing and snowboarding safely is important all throughout the season. From wearing appropriate gear and equipment and using a helmet to riding under control and within one’s abilities, safety is essential to having a good day on the mountain. All skiers and snowboarders should know and abide by the Your Responsibility Code, which is listed below:
Your Responsibility Code
-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.
Below is a summary of National Safety Month activities at CSCUSA member resorts.
Arapahoe Basin will be hosting its annual Safety Village on Saturday and Sunday, January 18-19, 2014. A-Basin’s Patrollers will be in the base area, accompanied by their trusty avalanche dogs, talking about the Responsibility Code. Representatives from Centura Health’s Think First! helmet safety program will be giving out helmets to guests for suggested donations. Ski area staff will hand out cake to kids who “Know the Code,” and will have avalanche dog trading cards with the Code printed on them available as well. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.
Aspen/Snowmass will host a variety of on-mountain demos, a Patrol Beacon Park, Avalanche Dog Drills, Kids Poster Contests and will distribute avalanche dog trading cards to spread safe skiing and riding messages during the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Safety Month. Each mountain has been assigned a week of the month kicking off with Aspen Highlands. For activities hosted by each mountain see below or visit the guest service station at the mountain.
From January 5 -11, the mid-mountain Guest Service center at Aspen Highlands will host a different activity daily. Events include Avalanche Dog drills, take a safety run or bowl lap with a patroller and learn the basics of an Avalanche Beacon. From January 12 – 18, Snowmass will host a number of safety-themed events throughout the week including free binding checks and helmet demos; a safety tent located at the top of Elk Camp Gondola; Beacon Park and a Park and Pipe Meet-and-Greet at Little Makaha. Guests can also enjoy a free NASTAR run with proof of visit to the Safety Tent.
The theme of the week of January 19 – 25 at Aspen Mountain is “Skiing Aspen Mountain Responsibly” and there will be a series of daily tips and pointers such as ski in a predictable manner, respect slow skiing areas and how to navigate certain runs and traffic areas. Aspen Mountain will also host daily avalanche beacon drills and avalanche dog demonstrations. A highlight of Safety Week at Buttermilk (January 26 – February 1) is a Safety Poster contest at Bumps, where kids are encouraged to design a poster demonstrating safe skiing and riding. Other activities include binding and helmet checks at Four Mountain Sports and helmet decorating. For updated times and details of the activities please visit: www.aspensnowmass.com/now.
During the month of January, guests are welcome and encouraged to stop by Copper’s on-mountain ski patrol duty stations to enjoy a warm cup of free hot chocolate and meet patrollers and avalanche dogs. Stop by either Patrol Headquarters, which is located at the top of the Excelerator lift, and/or Timberline Patrol which is located off of the American Flyer lift. Guests are also encouraged to swing by the weekend Safety Zone Tents where Copper Mountain Safety Patrol staff will discuss and provide safety educational material and handouts.
Also during the month of January, Copper Ski Patrol will allow guests to join in on patrol sweeps on weekends, which is the process patrol goes through when closing the mountain at the end of the day. Patrol will have the avalanche beacon training center open for guests as well and will be doing avalanche dog drills at the top of the American Flyer lift.
Additionally, Copper is featuring two new safety-related programs, including mountain intelligence and safety messaging through its new app: Sherpa. Wearing one earbud and plugged into smartphones, Sherpa delivers terrain updates, secret stash updates and tips on how to stay safe on the slopes.
The second new program is the Siesta Zones or rest areas. These are nylon fenced areas on the mountain where guests can pull behind and get out of the main stream of skiers to rest their legs, adjust their equipment, etc. These Siesta Zones will be located throughout the mountain in high-interest areas. For more information, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is having each of its departments host a different safety awareness topic for each day of the month, giving safety information for everyone. Safety information will be available for all guests and employees at the Guest Services table in the base area through the month as well. For the dog lovers, the Crested Butte Ski Patrol will be hosting Dog Demo days, every Saturday in January. Check out the four-legged, hard working crew at the top of Painter Boy, as they find buried people in this impressive simulated training exercise.
For the kids, join the Crested Butte Fire Department and EMS for Touch a Truck on Saturday, January 18. And finally for the inquisitive ones, the lift operators will be posting different safety trivia on their status boards, to keep guests guessing all day long through the month. For more information, visit www.skicb.com.
Loveland will be celebrating Safety Month over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, Jan. 18 – 20 with ‘Know the Code’ competitions, including giveaways for people who can recite the code and educational materials for people who need some refreshing. The terrain park crew will be focusing on safety with handouts on the Smart Style program and helping educate skiers and riders as they make their way through the terrain park over that weekend.
The Loveland Ski Patrol will be conducting free beacon classes as well as avalanche awareness info. The patrol dogs will be there as well. Hydration and sun safety will also be a part of the safety booth. The Forest Service plans on attending to help educate people about the environment and danger of being exposed to the elements. For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.
During Safety Month at Monarch, ski area staff will be distributing Know the Code business size cards at the ticket windows with lift tickets. Monarch’s safety mascot, Safety Sam, will be skiing the mountain interacting with guests. Know the Code gold bars will be hidden around the area for guests to find and bring to Guest Services. Guests who find gold bars win a prize for reciting one part of the Skiers Responsibility Code. In addition, Monarch will have a safety slogan contest for employees. Last year’s winner was “Protect your Noggin or end up in a Toboggan”. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.
For Ski Safety month, Sunlight will post Lids on Kids posters and Ski Safety posters around its lodge area and at the top of mountain. Sunlight will also have volunteers in lift lines with safety info to hand out and will be available to answer any questions guests may have. For more information, visit www.sunlightmtn.com.
Throughout January Winter Park Resort Hosts and Patrollers will be on the mountain, around the Winter Park Resort base and in The Village at Winter Park wearing their Know the Code arm bands. Guests who talk about the Responsibility Code with these Winter Park employees will be entered into a drawing for a 2014-15 Winter Park Resort adult season pass.
Posters created by local students depicting an element of the Responsibility Code will be on display at the Winter Park Base throughout the week. Posters will be judged on how the safety message is conveyed and overall creativity with the winners getting a chance to spend the day with the Winter Park Ski Patrol as well as having their art displayed.
Throughout the month, Winter Park Ski Patrollers will be visiting every grade and middle school throughout Grand County to talk to students about the Responsibility Code and the importance to staying safe on the mountain. For more information, visit www.winterparkresort.com.
Safety Month will be recognized at Wolf Creek with the Wolf Creek Ski Patrol and Flight for Life working together on Avalanche Burial Drills. Wolf Creek Ski Patrol along with their avalanche dogs will be flown from the snowshed parking lot in the Flight for Life helicopter to Prospector Bowl Ridge. From the ridge the dogs will work their way down, practicing on a two person burial drill. The public is able to view the drill from top of Tranquility Trail. After the drill is completed, guests are invited to meet Wolf Creek’s Ski Patrol and their team of avalanche dogs. Guests are taught the value of the avalanche dogs and the timely rescue efforts they provide. Guests are also given skier safety and winter survival tips.
Wolf Creek also promotes the Responsibility Code to skiers and snowboarders who participate in both group and private lessons. Each element of the code is taught and reviewed at the beginning of each lesson by the ski school instructor. As the lesson progresses the instructor promotes and points out examples of guests using the Code. The beginner lift, Nova, has a printed board displaying all seven elements of the code for beginner ski. For more information, visit www.wolfcreekski.com.