Ski Area Terrain Closures Mitigate Hazards on the Mountain

Local ski areas remind skiers and riders to observe skier safety code.

February 27, 2013

SUMMIT COUNTY, COLORADO – Feb. 27, 2013 – With over a foot of snow falling at Summit County Ski Areas in the past few weeks, and more in the forecast, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Area, Copper Mountain Resort and Keystone Resort would like to remind ski area guests of the dangers of skiing and boarding in closed terrain.

“With significant storms and new snowfall, we know the temptation to duck ropes is high,” said Breckenridge spokesperson Kristen Stewart. “However, terrain closures – whether in bounds or out of bounds – are all about guest safety. An area may be closed due to avalanche danger or other safety concerns.”

In early February, a 30-year-old snowboarder in search of fresh powder ducked under a closed barrier at a local ski resort. The snowboarder ignored the prominently placed “closed” sign, and calls to stop from more than 20 people who witnessed his actions, to access the terrain. Shortly thereafter the snow fractured, resulting in a small avalanche that he fortunately escaped without injury to himself or others. The man was caught and issued a summons by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office for skiing in a closed area.

“These types of irresponsible acts are a significant drain on our resources,” said Alan Henceroth, Chief Operating Officer at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. “It’s stressful, time-consuming and can put the lives of our patrollers at risk.”

Adrienne Saia Isaac, Arapahoe Basin’s Marketing and Communications Manager, agreed. “Guest safety is a priority for A-Basin, and trail closures are put in place to ensure the well-being of the people who ski and ride with us.”

Ducking a rope is also against the law as the part of the Colorado the Ski Safety Act of 1979. “You can face charges for this,” stated Sheriff John Minor. “Don’t be naïve about the risk you’re taking, and don’t put others in danger because of your bad decisions.”

“Copper Mountain Ski Patrol places the highest value on safety of our guests; terrain closures are in place to ensure that the guest experience remains a positive one,” said Copper Mountain spokesperson Austyn Williams.

Observe and know the Skier Safety Code listed below and share with other skiers and snowboarders the responsibility for a great mountain experience. This information is also available at all Colorado ski resorts and on their websites.

1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

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Media Contact:

Tracy LeClair, (970) 423-8903, TracyL@co.summit.co.us

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