Updated on: 12/10/2019
Our work on a serious injury lawsuit filed against Stevens Pass Ski Resort got us to wondering why ski resorts don't hold themselves to the same standard that they hold skiers to in the often quoted Skier Responsibility Code. Why hasn't the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) developed a Ski Resort Slope and Trail Safety Responsibility Code for all its members listing the minimum safety measures resorts should undertake to maintain a reasonably safe and predictable environment for skiers and snow boarders? Below are a just few points we believe should be in such a code.
- Clearly mark/block all hazards that may not be visible to skiers/boarders in order to provide ample time to stop or avoid danger.
- Place warning signs well in advance of merging skier/boarder traffic and intersections with orange safety fencing or signs.
- Clearly mark and separate terrain parks and unmanaged areas to prevent inadvertent skier/boarder entry.
- Create all hazard markings, signs, rope lines, and fences with colors and materials that attract attention, and that easily break away or minimize potential impact injuries.
- Close access to areas with significant avalanche risk, steep ice, exposed rocks or ground, continuous cliffs, poor visibility, etc.
- Control skier/boarder speeds in designated "family" and "slow" areas and where narrowing trails restrict traffic flow. And keep more advanced skier/boarders from traversing through beginner and teaching areas.
- Post visible signs and trail markings along resort boundaries. Clearly warn of extreme hazards beyond the boundary.
- Isolate or protect lift lines from approaching skiers and riders.
- Control reckless and dangerous behavior by removing noncompliant skiers/boarders.
What would you add to the Ski Resort Slope and Trail Safety Responsibility Code? Add your comments below.