2014 Safety Initiatives

In 2014 The NSAA honored several resorts for their safety awareness programs. Both the guests and the employees were the targets of the initiatives . “Play Safe, Play Smart” is a catchy title promoted mountain wide by Stratton. Upgraded padding,ropes,signage,online course in terrain park safety.

Copper Mtn was awarded Best Terrain Park Safety Program for 2014. They emphasize a variety of ability levels in their indoor/outdoor terrain park program. A large variety of professionally crafted terrain park obstacles provide an experience and a conversation for  terrain park etiquette, safety and basics.

Steamboat promotes a ” Buddy Up” program. An idea from our editor, Sara Greenfield is to make a meet up spot somewhere in the resort for people to meet up and ski/board with a buddy. They provided an online twitter following #buddyup.  Resorts are encouraged to make interesting signage promoting the idea near a cafe for example. ICE, or In Case of Emergency tags might be the next phase. These tags, runners use them all the time,  are often made of vinyl, or laminated material for waterproof external use, on boot, gear or clothing.

Safety Camp was an idea promoted by Arizona Snowbowl. They transitioned from gear safety to helmet give aways.     Red Lodge in Montana, developed a “slide safe, dress smart” for proper dress and and on-hill safety initiatives.  We hope that resorts will put this information on their websites to encourage proper outdoor winter clothing and safety before the guest arrives at the resort.

Educational safety posters were always a plus, and several resorts are putting out online intiatives as well as providing tables to create poster art for the artsy competition flair  for  guests and staff .  The creation of new prints for safety promotion and injury prevention awareness outside, on the lift posts, and inside is a small price for a large benefit…  Buddy Up posters, trail signs, terrain park safety signs, load and unload signs, backcountry signage, and others should be posted in and outside clearly visible on the resort property.

One skipatrol woman we spoke with agreed that the absence of age related  signage for young people make them want to put up the bar too soon, and on their own, creating terrible consequences for the little ones falling to the ground from the chairlift.  She believes under a certain height, the guest should ride up with a taller guest, a buddy up system. We agree the time has come for all skiing and boarding guests be buddied up by  lift attendants, as well as line and ticket checkers  aware of  the need for height and skill partnering as necessary for Chairlift and T Bar safety..

We also spoke to a boarder who would like to see resort boarding policies change from a one board on/off policy to an optional two feet on board unload choice for experienced boarders, as another and alternatively safe way to unload from a chairlift. A one board exit was not as safe as a two board exit for some of the riders we have verbally surveyed. Most get used to the one legged entrance and exit, but they do like to be able to board away from the lift, as a skier gets to experience, unemcumbered by a one foot out scenerio. Boarders are welcome to weigh in on this. Do you think  two feet on the board chair lift exit is safer then a one foot exit? Should that be a sign? Boarder exit with both feet on board.  ???

Vail was awarded Best Avalanche Education program. There is a free of charge Eagle County Avalanche awareness series for backcountry education and safety.

Here at the NSBSA, we are told these programs fill up to capacity, and some people think they should be offered online or in person  once or twice a month basis at resorts who offer backcountry experiences. Presenters and volunters who give these programs in person have a wealth of knowledge and the time it takes to save a life, or prevent serious injury, should not be overlooked.

Some conversation came up for the need for more safety video’s provided by the resorts. There was a suggestion that one must watch a video, or a series of video’s  in order to get a limited pass into the backcountry, or be fined for not having that pass..

A new software, TrailCheck, a skipatrol incident reporting system, improving workflow efficiency, and safety coordination inside the resort, may a good example of the new wave of safety technology to help ski patrol document their daily intake of accidents, and monitor slopes more effectively. Resorts may connect with Steve Small at steve.small@trailcheck.com

There is a new ski locker/rental  mobile app company hitting the slopes. Its name is SnowGate.. it won a  $20,000 prize in a national business competition. Its mobile app technology  allows the user to secure a lock, reserve and pay for rentals  from the click of a phone. Contact team@snowgate.com





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