Great Divide wants you to have a fun and safe experience everytime you visit. Below are some helpful tips to get you on your way to skiing and riding safe.
Great Divide promotes the use of helmets on the slopes. We urge skiers and riders to wear a helmet – but to ski or ride as if they are not wearing a helmet. NSAA views skiing and snowboarding in a controlled and responsible manner – not helmets only – as the primary safety consideration for all skiers and boarders. A skier’s behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sport as does any piece of equipment.
In 2002, Lids on Kids http://www.lidsonkids.org/debuted as a resource for consumers to learn about helmet use in skiing and snowboarding. This site contains FAQs about helmet use, fit and sizing information, general slope safety information, related articles and games, and testimonials about helmet use from well-known athletes, including US Ski Team members. The site has received nearly 2 million hits since it was created. The tagline, “A Helmet-It’s a Smart Idea,” is printed on posters and promotional cards at resorts nationwide.
Great Divide views using and riding chair lifts in a responsible manner as one of the primary safety considerations for all skiers and boarders. A skier’s behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sport as does any piece of equipment from helmet to chair lift.
In 2012, the website www.kidsonlifts.org/ and the initiative as a whole debuted around the country to resorts and consumers. This site contains FAQ’s and safety tips on how to load, ride and unload responsilby, general skiing and riding tips, coloring pages for kids, public service announcements and more. The tagline “No Horsing Around” is a motto we hope to ingrain in not only children but every skier and boarder.
Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS hazards)
Skiing and snowboarding off the groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of our sport. However, if you decide to leave the groomed trails you are voluntarily accepting the risk of a deep snow immersion accident. A deep snow, or tree well immersion accident occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized and suffocates. Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as a SIS harzards or Snow Immersion Suffocation.
Become educated on how to reduce the risk of SIS hazards through your own action and awareness. ALWAYS ski or ride with a partner within viewing distance. The website www.deepsnowsafety.org is an excellent resource designed to assist all skiers and riders in educating themselves about the risks and prevention of deep snow and tree well immersion accidents.
Common Sense, it’s one of the most important things to keep in mind and practice when on the slopes. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) believes education, helmet use, respect and common sense are very important when cruising down the mountain. NSAA developed Your Responsibility Code to help skiers and boarders be aware that there are elements of risk in snowsports that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce.
Seven Points to 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.
KNOW THE CODE: IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
THIS IS A PARTIAL LIST.
BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS.
Complementing the Responsibility Code and it’s 7 tenets, #RideAnotherDay promotes 3 actions every skier and rider can take to help keep themselves and those around safer on the slopes. These three actions are:
1. 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 and avoid others and objects you may encounter on the run, groomed or otherwise.
2. Stay Alert
Stay alert to what’s going on around you, especially other skiers and riders. Being aware of those around and changing conditions will help you have a fun and safe day on the hill.
3. Plan Ahead
Ease up at blind spots, check uphill when merging onto trails, and give other skiers plenty of room when passing. Look out for spots on the run where traffic merges or you can’t see what’s coming next. If you are unfamiliar with a run, take it easy the first time down it and make note of places where you’ll want to slow down, such as cat tracks and rollers. Also, give other skiers and riders lots or room, especially if you are passing them. There’s plenty of space out there, so there’s no need to crowd each other.
By doing these three things every run, you’ll be helping keep the slopes safe and enjoyable, for you and everyone else.
To learn more about the Johnson family and the development of the #RideAnotherDay campaign, read this article from the summer 2017 issue of the NSAA Journal.
Helpful Facts & Tips
- Helmets – Questions & Answers
- Facts About Skiing and Snowboarding Safety
- Skiing and Snowboarding Tips
- Ski Tips for Kids
- National Safety Council
- National Ski Patrol
- The Professional Ski Instructors of America
- American Association of Snowboard Instructors
You’ve arrived. You’re geared up and have a lift ticket. Now what? Go get a trail map at the base lodge or lift-ticket window. Take a few minutes to check it out. The lifts and the trails are marked on the map. The colored symbols next to the trails are the keys to enjoying your first few days on the slopes. Their shape and color indicate the difficulty of the trail.
Here’s what they mean:
Green Circle: Easier
Blue Square: More Difficult
Black Diamond: Most Difficult
Double-Black Diamond: Most Difficult, use extra caution
Orange Oval: Freestyle Terrain
You’ll find them on trail maps and posted on signs on the mountain. The same trail symbols are used at every resort in the country, but as Albert Einstein must have said, “It’s all relative.” A Green Circle trail at Jackson Hole, Wyo., might be as tough as a Blue Square at Sunlight, Colo. Not a big deal. The trail ratings are consistent within each resort. So all the “Greens” at a ski area will be about the same difficulty, as will the “Blues” and the “Blacks.”
Before you ride a lift during your first few days, make sure you can handle the trails at the top. Some skiers think they can improve by skiing tough terrain when their skills aren’t up to that level, but that’s a good way to get hurt. Instead, take a lesson. Check your trail map and make sure the trail symbols off of that lift fit your ability. If you have any questions or need directions, go talk to a lift attendant or anyone in a resort uniform. “What’s the easiest way down?” “Where’s the closest groomed trail?” “What’s the capital of New Guinea?” They want you to have fun nearly as much as you do.