Snow safety for many of us in the ski area business is something we don’t think about too much while others spend a huge amount of time giving thought and effort to snow safety. This subject hit close to home for me recently as there was a slide in the Smugglers Notch area injuring 6 soldiers who were training in this terrain between Stowe and Smugglers Notch ski area.
At about the same time as this incident happened I saw this excellent article from the Tahoe Weekly and thought its content should be shared with this audience. Certainly we all saw on national news how Mammoth and Squaw were impacted with inbounds slides after the early March snows. Even here in the East as borne out by the Smugglers Notch slide, the East saw such varying snow conditions in the three Northeasters that dumped significant amounts of snow that provided examples of varying snow conditions.
After reading this article an idea emerged in my head about whether the Eastern ski areas could do more to educate skiers/riders about snow safety, and would this be a way to enhance engagement with existing customers. (As we all know most Eastern skiers venture out West almost regularly) It brought to mind a past trip of mine with a mountain guide in St Anton, Austria. I was positively affected by how much time the guide spent on drilling me about the dangers of avalanches and the necessary prevention needed by skiers. He also spent a lot of time ragging on the knuckleheads that went off piste with no understanding of what they were getting into – his stories were both funny and sad, he also showed his anger for their actions putting him at risk as he was part of the search and rescue group for the immediate area around St Anton. Again snow safety being a huge part of the overall experience.
My hats off to the writer the Tahoe Weekly article, I thought his presentation of the material was well done not only from a technical perspective but a readability one as well. Hats off to the Tahoe Weekly, they obviously take this subject seriously – click on in 2nd paragraph Read and you will be taken deeper in to the archives on the subject of snow safety.
Maybe as an industry we have a responsibility to raise the awareness – Know the Code, Know Safe Snow.