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 guests can keep safe on the slopes every day. Activities include a wide array of hands-on demonstrations by ski patrol such as bringing guests on patrol sweeps at the end of the day, demonstrating 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.
Skier Safety Village, January 16-17
Arapahoe Basin is hosting a Safety Village in the Base Area to celebrate Safety Month Saturday, January 16th and Sunday, January 17th from 10:00am-1:00pm. Guests can meet the Arapahoe Basin Avalanche Rescue Dogs in the Safety Village and have cake while learning more about skier and rider safety on the mountain. Representatives from Centura Health’s Think First program will be talking about the importance of helmets and will have 100 helmets on hand to give away. Donations are happily accepted. In addition, Summit County Search and Rescue Group will be in the Safety Village with one of their rescue trucks.
As part of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Change Your Peak Drive Time campaign, Operation TireSafe encourages motorists to check their tire tread and make sure their tires are winter ready. Representatives from ColoradoLand will be in the Safety Village providing information about tire safety and conducting voluntary checks to let guests know if their tires are safe for mountain travel. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.
National Safety Month kicks-off at Aspen Snowmass on Sunday, January 3 featuring a monthly schedule that rotates between all four mountains with a focus on global slope safety events and topics that are relevant to each mountain. Aspen Highlands begins the safety extravaganza Jan. 3-9, followed by Buttermilk Jan. 11-16. Safety month continues at Snowmass Jan. 17-23 followed by Aspen Mountain rounding out the month Jan. 24-30. Each mountain will showcase safety through an array of on-mountain demonstrations, contests, prizes, kid’s safety parties, avalanche dog drills, safety s’mores and more. In total, Aspen Snowmass hosts approximately 90 events and special offerings across all four mountains throughout safety month to bring greater awareness and education to being safe on the slopes. For more information about Safety Month at Aspen Snowmass, visit www.aspensnowmass.com.
Copper Mountain Resort
Safety Fest Celebration, January 16 – 17
During Copper’s Safety Fest, Burning Stones Plaza transforms into Safety Village with tents featuring National Ski Patrol signing up guests for mountain sweeps, Summit County Rescue Group offering backcountry awareness and beacon training, Copper Mountain Ski Patrol Avalanche Dogs demonstrating how dogs are trained, and more. Guests who visit all Safety Village vendors are entered in the daily raffle to win helmets, lift tickets, season passes and other prizes. In addition, a Flight for Life helicopter will land on Saturday, January 16, at approximately 10:00a.m. at Patrol Headquarters, located at the top of the Excelerator and Super Bee chairlifts, weather dependent. For more information on Safety Fest, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
“Caught Being Safe”
Throughout the month of January, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is rewarding its guests’ good safety behavior. When guests are “Caught Being Safe” by a resort Safety Committee Member, they may receive a resort gift card as a symbol of the resort’s appreciation for skiing and snowboarding safely.
CBMR’s popular avalanche dog and beacon demos will be presented by the Crested Butte Ski Patrol on January 2, 16, 17, and 30 in the base area. Another favorite, “Touch a Truck,” presented by the Crested Butte Fire Department, will be held on January 2 and 16 in the base area. For more information, visit www.skicb.com.
Eldora Mountain Resort
For National Safety Month, Eldora Mountain Resort will promote safety to all their visitors by having different departments take the lead with individual campaigns throughout January.
- Jan 1 – 8: Snowsports and Marketing
- Jan 9 – 15: Ski Patrol and Terrain Park
- Jan 16 – 22: Lift Operations, Rentals, and Nordic
- Jan 23 – 29: Guest Services and Base Operations
- Jan 30 – 31: All Departments
Additionally, Eldora will post information around the resort regarding Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS), Lids on Kids, Know the Code, ACL Injury Prevention, and more. Eldora will focus on stressing to their guests that safety is key to a fun day on the snow. For more information, please visit www.eldora.com.
Safety Month Weekend, January 16-17
Loveland is celebrating national safety month on the weekend of January 16-17 with events and activities including:
- A safety tent set up at the base area informing guests on the skier safety code, terrain park etiquette, sun safety, hydration, snow and avalanche safety and other topics.
- Loveland ski patrol will have patrol dogs on hand to demonstrate avalanche rescue techniques, conduct beacon demonstrations and talk about avalanche awareness and tree well safety.
- The Loveland Mascot, LG, will be quizzing kids on the skier safety code and handing out prizes for those that can recite the entire code.
- Resort staff will have water and sun screen on hand to help people stay safe and have fun on the mountain.
- The Sport Shop will also be offering discounts on helmets and the Ski & Ride School will offer free helmets with any kids lesson package.
For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.
Safety Booth Series
Each Saturday this month, Monarch will host a discussion on a different safety topic at its booth in the base area.
Jan. 2: Know the Code
Monarch’s Ski Patrol team and avalanche dogs will be available to talk about the Skier Safety Act, the Skier Responsibility Code, and answer any questions you may have.
Jan. 9: Lids on Kids and Kids on Lifts Initiatives
Guests can stop by the booth to learn about the importance of helmets, and can be fitted by the Outer Edge Gear & Gift Shop staff. They’ll also have information on NSAA’s Kids on Lifts program, which helps teach kids to properly load, ride, and unload lifts.
Jan. 16: Park Smart & Tilt Demo
Guests can learn about SMART Style in terrain parks, and hear from Monarch’s Terrain Park crew about what it takes to shape and maintain Tilt and Never Summer. Then, head to Tilt with the Ski & Ride School instructors for a demonstration of SMART Style.
Jan. 23: Backcountry Day
Guests can take a dawn patrol lap, hear from Colorado Avalanche Information Center, learn about Monarch’s Backcountry Access Points, and demo some of the latest gear.
Jan. 30: Sun Safety, Frostbite and Hypothermia Prevention
Guests can learn about protecting their skin from local Dermatologist Sheree Beddingfield, and about frostbite and hypothermia from Laura Madsen, Burn Outreach Coordinator for the University of Colorado Denver.
Level 1 Avalanche Course, January 8-10
Powderhorn Mountain Resort is offering a Level 1 Avalanche course. This three-day course starts Friday, January 8 and goes through Sunday, January 10. The class is designed for current and aspiring backcountry travelers to be able to apply the current avalanche bulletins, select safe travel routes to minimize exposure, recognize instabilities in snow pack, apply simple decision tools in avalanche terrain and conduct a mock avalanche rescue. The course will be held at Powderhorn Mountain Resort and will include class time and field time. The cost of the course is $320, and is limited to the first 21 students.
In addition, on Saturday, January 30 Kohl’s Cares representatives will be giving away free ski helmets for children at Powderhorn Mountain Resort. This is a first come, first serve event co-sponsored by St. Mary’s Hospital and Powderhorn Mountain Resort. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com.
Ski Granby Ranch
During Safety Month, guests at Ski Granby Ranch will have opportunities to open and close the mountain with patrol, take free toboggan rides with a patroller, and ski or ride with a patroller or terrain park guide. In addition, Flight for Life staff will visit the resort to educate guests on safety and the resort will give prizes to guests who correctly answer safety quiz questions. For more information, visit www.granbyranch.com.
Steamboat Ski Resort
SlopeWise at Steamboat
Steamboat’s SlopeWise strategic initiative focuses on safe and responsible skiing and riding through awareness, education and consequences for unsafe conduct on the mountain. The resort unveiled its SlopeWise program to incredible support from all levels of the resort and community. The program has gained significant momentum and continues to dramatically shape safe skiing and riding at Steamboat. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com/the-mountain/safety-and-responsibility.aspx.
Winter Park Resort
“Know the Code” Raffle
All month long, Winter Park Resort will be holding a “Know The Code” raffle and if guests can answer specific questions about the Skier Responsibility Code, they’ll be entered in a raffle where the grand prize is a Winter Park season pass. Winter Park Ski Patrol will also be holding its annual Poster Contest, where local 4th, 5th, and 6th graders create a poster depicting an aspect of the code that will be displayed throughout the month in the Balcony House. At the end of the month, those who created the best posters as judged by patrol get a chance to be a Ski Patroller for a day, enabling kids to see first-hand what Winter Park Ski Patrol does throughout the course of a day. Ski Patrol will also have a “Know The Code” booth at the base of Winter Park, educating passing visitors on the importance of the Your Responsibility Code. For more information, visit www.winterparkresort.com.
Safety Month Poster Contest
Wolf Creek Ski Area organizes a poster contest for the 3,000 children who participate in its School Program to promote awareness and understanding of the Your Responsibility Code. Students of all ages and grades submit their poster for the competition; posters must illustrate one or more aspects of the Your Responsibility Code. Posters are displayed in Base Camp, the hub of Wolf Creek’s school groups program. Guests and Wolf Creek staff vote on the posters and the top four posters are awarded prizes.
In addition, Wolf Creek is in its fourth season of providing Season Pass holders with a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card, and is the is the largest contributor to the Search and Rescue Fund through the purchase of one-year CORSAR Stickers. Wolf Creek’s Ski School also teaches the Skier Responsibility Code to all guests taking lessons. For more information, visit www.wolfcreekski.com.