Know the rules on the hill | AspenTimes.com

Know the rules on the hill

To: Editor

From: The Patrol Directors of Aspen/Snowmass ” J.T. Welden, Eric Kinsman, Mac Smith and Robin Perry

Re: Safety on the slopes

Recovering from an accident can put a huge damper on one’s personal life, typically friends and family, too. Ken Brown’s “Winter Driving Tips” letter is a great reminder to hone in on awareness skills for all winter activities. Traveling on the roads and sliding on the slopes have much in common. It’s all about heightening your awareness. Here are some tips (thanks Ken!)

1. As you winterize your vehicle and prepare for winter driving, check skis or snowboard and be sure your equipment functions properly. Don’t let malfunctioning bindings ruin your day. Have a local shop do a function test.

2. Does your daily gear bag and clothing contain accessories necessary for comfort and protection? Goggles, helmet, hat, gloves, sunscreen and lip balm, water, snacks, extra layers and socks.

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3. Know the rules of the road/slopes. The Responsibility Code is printed on every trail map:

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.

4. In the terrain parks, be sure to use park etiquette and common sense:

Pre-ride and re-ride before you free ride;

Features change daily and sometimes in the course of a day;

Snow conditions change speed factors on approaches.

5. Beware of seasonal conditions. Patrollers keep areas closed until conditions are appropriate for everyone and risks are minimized.

Early season offers hidden obstacles and holes in terrain.

Hazards exist that are not marked.

Large storms snow and/or wind present potential avalanche hazards.

6. Know what to do when an accident happens:

Cross skis or place the snowboard above the injured;

Make note of potential injury type and location of the incident ” landmarks;

If possible stay on the scene until patrol arrives and send someone else to make a phone call;

If using a cell phone, call 970-925-1220 and ask for patrol dispatch at the mountain you are on.

Our patrollers are highly trained individuals; most have at least EMT certification and some are paramedics. Care on the hill is very professional. Don’t let an injured person ski or ride down.

7. Know your limits. Stay within your skill and fitness levels. Don’t let friends talk you into going places that will get you in trouble.

8. If you plan to venture beyond ski area boundaries, be educated on back-country conditions and special equipment for necessary precautions. Inquire with local organizations that offer classes. Ask patrol for recommendations.

9. Want to expand your limits? Take a lesson or sign up for coaching sessions.

10. Get fit.

Wishing everyone a safe season.