January is National Safety Month here at Mountain Creek Resort! We are firm believers in having fun living life outdoors while keeping rider responsibility in mind. Along with the National Ski Areas Association, we will be educating our skiers and riders on slope safety. There are many preventative measures we can take in order to protect ourselves and increase our overall safety and environmental awareness on the slopes. We’ve compiled all you need to know about the basics of trail, helmet, park, and chair lift safety in one convenient place.
Continue reading to learn more about what you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the hill–whether you’re jibbing through the park, floating over jumps, slashin’ through some POW, or just taking some nice groomer carves, we’ve got the rundown.
Trail safety is a big one. Understanding the rules of the slopes is not always the most intuitive thing to do (especially if you’re new to the sport!)… which is why we’re here to help. One of the most visual representations of preventative measures taken to provide safety on the hill includes our intentionally placed trail signage (slow down signs, etc.), bamboo poles, fences, and snow gun padding. Remember, trees DON’T move, and this logic can be applied to almost anything that you can collide with on the hill.
A convenient list that we like to reference here at Mountain Creek Resort is the Rider Responsibility code. The Rider Responsibility Code is a perfect guideline to follow to help ensure the safest shred experience possible. This list is composed of the following:
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.
Your brain is arguably the most important part of the body to protect, so we’ve included some helmet safety tips to consider before you suit up for your next day on snow. We are proud to extend an offer of 30% off all helmets at our retail shops (Monkey Trails and The Showroom) in the month of January.
Helmet Safety Tips
- Make sure your helmet is specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding.
- Take time to ensure that your helmet fits properly. Your helmet should work with your goggles - bring your goggles when you’re purchasing a new helmet just to be sure.
- Be sure to use a helmet size chart if needed. (Available in both Monkey Trails & The Showroom)
- Look to replace your helmet at least every 5 years - but be mindful of any damage, cracks, or concerns with your helmet.
- Adjust straps until snug. Both the side and chin straps need to be snug. Avoid Helmet Rocking. Your helmet should not rock forward or backward, or side to side on your head.
Helmets act as the first line of defense from damaging impacts – sort of like an exoskeleton. Helmet brands have advanced technologies that have significantly improved their product efficiency. For example, MIPS is a helmet technology that was developed by a Swedish Brain Surgeon in 1995. According to the MIPS Corporation’s website, “MIPS low-friction layer mimics the brain’s own protection system and is designed to protect the brain from rotational motion.” You can read more about MIPS technology here These revolutionary advancements in helmet safety allow us to enjoy what we love most in the safest way possible. You can find MIPS products in both of our retail shops (Monkey Trails and The Showroom).
There are several resources you can reference to educate yourself more about helmet safety and the signs and symptoms related to a potential head-related injury (such as Non Profits like our friends at Save a Brain). However, we always strongly recommend seeking a trained medical professional to assess. At both South and Vernon Peak, we have highly trained EMTs and Ski Patrollers available to transport, assess, treat, and make recommendations here (free of charge!). The most efficient way to contact Patrol/EMS is by calling (973) 864 -8888 for any and all emergencies.
Terrain Park Safety
Alright here’s the kicker… (see what I did there?) when you’re in the park, having a spill on a rail or wiping out instead of landing a jump is kind of inevitable. Fall down seven times, stand up eight, right? Good news is there are so many ways we can prevent avoidable injuries and mitigate risk by knowing what to do and what not to do when cruisin’ through this type of terrain. Below you’ll find a picture of the S.M.A.R.T. Park campaign sign (located at South Peak). This list is a great guideline to follow in order to maintain safety and peace in the park.
Extra Information on Park Safety
- Look before you leap - check out the feature and its surroundings at least once or twice before you attempt to hit it.
- Know the code - It’s your responsibility to know the code. Whether that’s regarding the right of way or stopping either before or after a feature.
- It’s smart to avoid the lip and landings of features. If you fall, gather your belongings and move to the side to avoid collisions with any other skiers or riders.
- Respect everyone. Whether they are a beginner or advanced rider, you must always respect their space, speed and ability.
Chair Lift Safety
Ah, chair lift safety is a fun one. While sometimes overlooked, it’s important to know the proper way to ride the lift to avoid injury. Chair lifts are unique in nature – in order to successfully ride a chair lift, two things must take place: you must be familiar with your equipment and you must be familiar with the lift and how to load/unload properly. While using a chair lift is generally more intimidating for a never-ever rider or skier, there are still some situations that can take place while riding a chair lift that even the most advanced rider or skier might not be prepared for. Continue reading to learn more.
Tips for Riding Ski Lifts Safely
(Sourced from https://discoversnow.org)
- Be familiar with the type of lift you are riding, and ask for help if you need it.
- Before loading, remove backpacks and secure loose items. Remove pole straps from wrists.
- Look over your shoulder to watch the chair approach.
- Sit all the way in the chair, with your back to the seat rest.
- If the lift has a restraint bar, wait until everyone is seated, and slowly reach up and lower the bar. Do not attempt to lower the bar if you cannot reach it! Adults should always help kids to lower the bar.
- Be aware of your surroundings while riding the lift. If you drop something, let it fall! You can always ask Ski Patrol for help retrieving the lost item.
- As you approach the top terminal, prepare to raise the bar. Look for signs advising you to do so to help with your timing.
Now I know what you might be thinking… “What about the Cabriolet Gondola?” I’m glad you asked! Our Cabriolet Gondola also follows traditional chair lift safety measures – the only major difference is that you are standing, not sitting, and you must hold your equipment for the duration of the ride up. During the winter season, we do not allow more than 8 people in one cabin at a time. We also require you to remain inside the cabin at all times. Remember to throw out all your garbage at either the bottom of the lift or the top as tossing items out of the cabin is prohibited.
Remember when I mentioned before that there are scenarios to which even the most frequent of resort flyers might not be prepared for? Those situations include Emergency Lift Evacuations. These can take place as a result of inclement weather, or mechanical malfunctions. In the rare and unlikely event that an Emergency Lift Evacuation does take place, you can rest assured knowing that you are in good hands with our professionally trained Ski Patrol here at Mountain Creek Resort. In order to help our team best serve you in the event of an Emergency Lift Evacuation, remember to do the following:
- Remain calm – Ski Patrol will instruct you on how the evacuation will take place, so wait for instructions before taking any physical action.
- Keep your safety restraint bar down at all times, unless directed otherwise by a Ski Patroller.
- Leave all equipment on your feet for the duration of the Lift Evacuation and hold onto your ski poles at all times.
- Do not swing, bounce or hang off the lift in any capacity. Sit still, hold onto the safety bar, and wait for further instruction.
- Communicate with the Ski Patrollers on the scene if you have any critical reason to which your personal evacuation should take priority (Medical related issues, for instance.)
As you can see, understanding all the nuances surrounding safety is no simple feat. There are many moving pieces, and so much to learn. The best thing we can do is remain vigilant, open minded, and educated on the policies and procedures put in place to allow us to live life outdoors safely. Enjoy the rest of your wonderful winter season here with us at Mountain Creek. Bye for now!
Written by: Jackie DeLaura