NSAA Fall Conference Safety Review
In Sept of 2013, NSBSA’s Safety Coordinator and Executive Director, Sara Greenfield,
attended the NSAA Fall Education Seminar at Snowshoe Resort in W.Va.
Sessions were informative, addressing real and hypothetical incidents in all areas of the resort relating to safety prevention in the south, and mid-atlantic resorts… Consumer injury prevention and employee safety were key topics. Various resort managers agreed, a combination of on location videos and other uses of media on their websites, combined with social media pages made larger impacts on consumer safety with attention paid to injury prevention messaging and safety video production.
As terrain park features change on a daily basis and not all parks are for beginners, this was a large topic of discussion. One resort requires a viewing of a video on terrain park etiquette and safety in order to get a pass to ski or board inside the park. If the consumer does not have a pass, they are asked to leave the park by a park monitor. Park monitors may be stationed inside the park, or it may remain closed until a monitor is on duty, similar to the Nastar courses, where the course is closed unless it is monitored by the course officials. Parks may be designated for a certain level of skill.
The use of media messaging was also addressed. Progressive video releases on resort websites and inside the resort at high traffic locations proved to be very successful. These video’s display the proper and improper use of marked and unmarked obstacles, signage, lift use and the responsibility code. Some resorts are considering showing upscale, powerful and artfully creative videos in the lift line areas where a wait time may allow some thought for better choices on the way down. Instructive videos teach and promote lift safety, the importance of group or private lessons, and the need for certified instruction at all levels of winter sport.
There is no such thing as immunity from lessons and learning safe ski and board technique from qualified and trained instructors. However, due to the added expense, the consumer does go without. Accordingly, some resorts now offer a free or discounted lesson with a rental. It was also noted that Courtesy Patrol, Mountain Patrol as well as the National Ski Patrol as integral parts of the resort experience, are featured in many of the videos and marketing media .
In 2013-2014 season, we look for resorts using proactive, progressive campaigns to create safety awareness and client satisfaction. In the summer 2013 issue of the NSAA Journal, NSAA gave honorable mentions to the top safety programs for 2012/2013 .
Creative and educational initiatives took the spotlight. Injury prevention actions included new, and improved signage, onsite and virtual video education, increased terrain park safety rules and regulations, and grooming and slope hazard awareness to name a few topics. Several resorts were awarded special recognition awards for their new and innovative safety initiatives, resulting in increased visitation, and overall increased community outreach. Avalanche awareness courses , practice parks, new safety initiatives,
and new Know The Code campaigns were emphasized along with new employee safety training…
We look forward to resorts continuing to share their innovative new safety and fitness features making a positive change in injury prevention and awareness.. If your resort has a new safety feature, or program you would like to share with us, we would love to publish a link to that video, or pin a few pictures onto our blog for others to learn more about what works and makes your favorite resort a safe one to enjoy this coming winter season, and year round. Send your public safety media links to firstname.lastname@example.org ….. We appreciate your input.
In 2014 The Olympics in Sochi Russia take on a significant importance. With spotlight on safety, getting out the message to the international boarding and skiing industry alike. If you can contribute to our ongoing safety and prevention initiative, Give Us A Call….
If we can save more lives, prevent major injury to any consumer of our wonderful sports, than we have done our job. Being proactive is where we do our best. Takin
g care to prevent this through increased awareness, training and coverage is where we will succeed… It is how the consumer makes their choices, which route to take, which turn to take, how to stop and turn with safety in mind and in body, no matter the terrain, or level of skill, it is up to the consumer to make the right choices…. We hope that you will by reviewing our site, looking at our videos, maybe even making a purchase in our gift shop for t
he coming holiday season. We want to make a difference, and so can you….
This season we are looking for prize donations, awards, free helmets, printed giveaways, web initiatives, and ticket discounts.. If you or your preferred resort want to help make a difference,
we appreciate your efforts and all volunteers, partnering programs, collaborative donations, and legacy donors, together we can make a difference.
Jackson Hole Safety Review Jan/Feb 2013
The NSBSA is pleased with the safety initiatives ongoing in Jackson Hole specifically related to outback safety. Outback skiing is huge with the locals especially… There is an avalanche beacon training park designed for the practice of finding someone in an avalanche. Beacons are buried in the snow, and individuals try to find these beacons with the use of shock corded metallic poles which unfold from 2 feet to 10 ft in some cases…
In addition, Jackson Hole also has a beacon safety station, where outback enthusiasts are encouraged to check the batteries and operational function of their beacons before they enter the safety gate through the Jackson Hole boundary to the outback terrain.
Signage, orange and black poles, nets, and rope was evident at many of the off piste slopes we skied by or near. The Avalanche Center for Teton National Park forecasts avalanche danger on a daily basis, and may be reached by phone… Surprisingly, cell phones, and GPS, worked everywhere we skied.
Snow slides are easily triggered as new snow rests on weak or slick or wind packed snow surfaces underneath. When they are triggered, it is sometimes unclear which way they will slide or break, and slough off below. Especially in foggy or windy conditions, blowing snow and white out conditions, as well as disorientation can occur.
The Jackson Ski Patrol give courtesy rides down the mountain in an event that a skier or boarder cannot make it down on their own… The courtesy or mountain patrol are found at the lifts and restaurants on the mountain. There was no evidence of courtesy patrol at key intersections on the mountain…and there was a lack of midmountain maps and signage for skiers who wanted or needed to get down the easiest way possible.
Top to bottom of this mountain is long and for out of shape skiers quite tough.
The traverses were long, and often ended in intermediate terrain, rather than easy terrain…This made it difficult for beginners and less competent skiers to make their way down the mountain safely. This is not a top to bottom mountain for beginners. There were however a few lifts that were perfect for the advanced beginner and green slope skiers.
The responsibility code was laminated and stapled at the entrance to the gondola. There were several safety messages at the top of the lifts, but were not well placed, as they were in high traffic areas, where wind, and cold were of first priority, reading was clearly not a priority in the conditions we experienced. Permanently attached safety signs or pamphlets could be made available to ticket purchasers to read while waiting in line for the lifts for instance, rather than only at the top or the Tram. The Safety Signage we did see and the messaging expressed was excellent and to the point…
An announcement was made on each tram up, by the tram operator at the top, letting people know only expert skiers were to ski down, and all others were advised to take the tram back down….This was very good advice, and we hope this is ongoing…
We look forward to more signage at the bottom of the mountain that alerts skiers and boarders to safety conditions, blackboards, and safety announcements that make Jackson Hole the great mountain it has become.