With the fourth annual Ski California Safety Day planned for Saturday, January 29, member resorts in California and Nevada are planning a variety of safety-themed activities to educate skiers and riders about avoiding collisions and other general skier safety initiatives. This year, in partnership with the High Fives Foundation, Ski California collaborated on a new video focused on how to avoid collisions as the next entry in the High Fives B.A.S.I.C.S. series. The video will be shared through Ski California, High Fives, and member resorts’ social media and other channels when it is released in early February.
“The safety of our guests and employees is something our industry is focused on every single day, but Safety Day presents a unique opportunity to increase everyone’s focus on mountain safety,” said Michael Reitzell, Ski California president. “Collisions with fixed objects are the number one source of serious incidents. Skiing and riding safely is a shared responsibility between resorts and our guests, and teaching skiers and riders how to avoid collisions so they can ride another day is just one part of our ongoing education efforts.”
Three tips to avoid a collision that Ski California member resorts encourage include:
- Be Ready. Be ready to slow down or avoid objects or other people at any time. Ski and ride in such a way that you are always able to control yourself regardless of conditions.
- Stay Alert. Stay alert to what’s going on around you, especially other skiers and riders.
- Plan Ahead. Slow down at blind spots, look uphill when merging onto trails, and give others plenty of room when passing. Look out for spots on the run where traffic merges or you can’t see what’s coming next.
Although not an exhaustive list, in addition to education through their social media channels (using #SkiCalifornia and #SkiSafety), sharing theSki California Mountain Safety Guide and airing Ski California’s full reel of safety videos, here’s what some Ski California member resorts are doing to support Safety Day this year:
- Big Bear Mountain Resort: Guests are invited to stop by the Safety Day booth in the Bear and Summit base areas to take a photo with Biggie Bear or Nala the patrol dog, answer ski safety trivia for prizes, or complete the safety scavenger hunt for a chance to win a $25 gift card. In addition, the resorts will offer a free Nala the Patrol Dog plush toy at Big Bear Sports with the purchase of any helmet between Jan. 28-30, 2022.
- Boreal/Woodward Tahoe: At the resort’s entry ticket gate, resort staff will educate guests on Park S.M.A.R.T., the skier/rider responsibility code, and helmet safety in partnership with the High Fives Foundation. Raffle tickets will be given to every guest arriving with a helmet. Ten different winners will receive a one-month Woodward/Boreal All-Access membership.
- Heavenly: Resort safety committee members will host Safety Day demonstrations throughout the day in various locations around the mountain. An Avalanche Dog Team meet and greet will take place at the top of Groove run at 12 p.m., along with a park safety talk and lap through Groove Park at the same time. Participants will learn how to scope a feature, to always call your drop and how to approach a jump. Nature Valley Bars and swag will be given to guests in the Groove Park who know the SMART Style acronym or the Responsibility Code.
- Homewood Mountain Resort: On-mountain safety stations will be used to share information about how to dress for cold weather, review chairlift safety, and educate guests as to how to avoid collisions by demonstrating what a 15-foot safe riding zone looks like on snow.
- Kirkwood: Focusing on safety, education and awareness, resort Terrain Park staff will be at the top of Bandit Terrain Park during the day with a special appearance by Kirkwood Rescue Avalanche Dog, Lennon. Staff will educate guests on safety topics including SMART Style, the skier and rider Responsibility Code, and preventing collisions, and will give out Nature Valley Bars, candy bars, and a limited number of hats, koozies, buffs and stickers to guests who can recite elements of the SMART Style acronym or the Responsibility Code. At 12 p.m. a talk and lap through the park with terrain park staff will address how to scope and ride features.
- Mammoth Mountain: The resort’s Junior Ski Patroller day will coincide with Ski California Safety Day, with programming featuring five stations where young athletes will learn about different aspects of Ski Patrol and on-hill safety with demonstrations, mock rescues and more. In addition, Mammoth will construct its “Know the Zone” safety course under Broadway Express for public participation. The safety course features mannequins with 15-foot circles painted on the snow around them to offer a visual reminder of what “the zone” is. Safety messages will be painted under three of the resort’s key lifts, and a safety themed beanie drop will include free Mammoth Beanies for the first 100 guests who can describe one of our 4 Safety Month themes: Know the Zone, Stop on the Side, People Below you Have the Right of Way, and Make a Plan.
- Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Guests will find a welcome information booth at the Main Lodge on Safety Day with information including Mountain Safety Guides and Poker Card pick-up. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. a safety themed Poker Run will take place on the mountain, with winners to be announced at 1:30 p.m. on TVs and LED boards around the resort.
- Northstar: Focused on engaging guests about collision avoidance in a fun way both on-site and digitally, Northstar Ski Patrol will host both a scavenger hunt and a meet and greet with the Northstar Avalanche Rescue Dogs. A Respect for Respect raffle will include giveaways, with tickets to be handed out in the terrain parks and around the mountain to those who demonstrate safe skiing and riding. A “bars for bars” program will offer Nature Valley bars to guests who use the safety bar when riding chairlifts.
- Palisades Tahoe: With a variety of informational and hands-on activities planned, Palisades Tahoe will host avalanche dog demonstrations at both mountains on Safety Day, deep snow immersion clinics that will educate participants about tree wells and deep snow safety, and safety trivia with the Palisades Tahoe mascot. Alpenglow Expeditions will also offer mini-avalanche awareness clinics geared toward novices interested in learning about avalanche terrain, how beacons work, search and digging techniques. These 1-2 hour long sessions will be offered in advance of Ski California Safety Day on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 at 11:00 a.m. Advance registration will be required.
- Snow Valley Mountain Resort: The resort's “Snowsports Safety Stations” feature safety related information and will be center stage in the rental shop and positioned all around the base area for two weeks leading up to Ski California Safety Day, reminding everyone to "Think Safety First on the Slopes." In addition, a complimentary lift ticket that can be used anytime during the remainder of the season will be offered with any helmet purchased in the resort’s Sport Shop on Saturday, January 29 ($105 value).
- Sugar Bowl: With a focus on terrain park safety, Sugar Bowl will share images, video and important messaging designed to reinforce safety in the parks.
- Tahoe Donner: Resort staff will pass out Ski California Mountain Safety Guides and help educate visitors on slope safety including following the skier and rider Responsibility Code, responsible chairlift use, helmet safety, and deep snow and tree well safety. Tahoe Donner will also host chairlift safety demonstrations at its base area.