Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Skiing Resorts Shifting Focus and Stressing Safety

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Skiing Resorts Shifting Focus and Stressing Safety

Article excerpt

During National Safety Awareness Month in January, mountain resorts focus efforts on making the public aware of how to be safe on the slopes and on the lifts.

A variety of contests, programs and materials are promoted through the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), which works with resorts around the country to help promote its safety messages including Know the Code, Kids on Lifts and Lids on Kids (www.nsaa.org/safety-programs).

"Skiing in control is probably the biggest safety message we push," said Jason Tamulen, a local police sergeant, who volunteers his time as a National Ski Patrol Safety Team member and patrolman at Wachusett Mountain, a busy ski area about 40 minutes from Boston that has 200 patrollers and safety rangers on staff. "It's important to understand your limit, being responsible for your own speed and making sure your edges are tuned."

January and February are busy times for Wachusett, with 10,000 school kids hitting the slopes, some new and some experienced. Patrollers talk to students before they get off the bus to remind them about the Ski/Snowboard Responsibility Code with tips like "People ahead of you have the right of way" or "You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above."

To keep it fun, Wachusett's safety personnel randomly test kids on the hill and if they get four out of seven of the codes right, they get a free hot chocolate. The area developed a video about terrain park safety and posted it on its YouTube channel to spread the word. In 2015, Wachusett got NSAA's Best Guest Safety Program Award for its efforts.

In the Rockies, there are different safety challenges with guests going out of bounds risking dangers like avalanches, falling into tree wells and getting lost.

Sun Valley Resort, in Idaho, has new mountain-top signs that include a solar-powered automated beacon checker that detects whether a skier or snowboarder leaving the ski area boundary has an avalanche transceiver and encourages them to carry proper rescue gear. …

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