On the Hill: More safety staff assigned to mountain
November 12, 2005
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Steamboat Springs Ski Area will send more safety staff to the mountain this winter to try to curb reckless skiing and snowboarding.Reckless snowriders will have their passes suspended for 30 days, and could lose them for the rest of the season for repeat offenses.”It’s to have the communication necessary to change the culture out there and improve the etiquette of skiers,” said Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations.The campaign is being called SlopeWise, and in addition to safety it is hoped it will make snowriders feel more comfortable.Chris Diamond, president of the area, told the City Council that he was tired of snowriders who collide with people below them and blame it on others skiing unpredictably.”We somehow got into this whole ‘He cut me off thing,”‘ Diamond told the council. “It’s got to change. We will put a bigger team of (safety) volunteers on the mountain, and there are going to be consequences.”The SlopeWise campaign spells it out clearly. “No matter how skilled you think you are, if you are unable to avoid other people or objects, then by definition, you are out of control.”The area will employ 12 paid, full-time courtesy patrollers, compared with eight last year. There will be 18 volunteers, up from 4. They all will get special training.”We don’t want this to come out like we’re out to get everyone’s (season ski) pass,” said John Kohnke, Ski Patrol director, said. “We want to enhance the comfort level of our guests. There’s a lot of angst out there in society. We’d like skiing to be preserved as a place to go and get away from that,” Kohnke said.Some snowriders, including aging baby boomers, have told the ski area to do more about out-of-control skiers and snowboarders. Families with young children also have complained.