Low Hanging Safety Wins

Low Hanging Safety Wins

At RMLA this year David Byrd of NSAA gave a motivating presentation of the safety issues facing the ski industry in the US.
Intro to David’s presentation from RMLA website:
David Byrd Director of Risk and Regulatory Affairs National Ski Areas Association
“Workplace Fatalities and OSHA With 11 deaths in 14 months, across all departments, ski resorts are directly in OSHA’s crosshairs. As an industry, there is tremendous room for improvement for workplace safety, and this session will examine recent examples of serious lift-related injuries and fatalities at ski areas, and the consequences as they relate to OSHA investigations and fines, and the resulting abatement and mitigation policies. Fatalities, amputations, fall from lifts, and even serious conveyor incidents — seven amputated arms in the last few years! — will be examined. Our employees need (and deserve) management buy-in to improve overall workplace safety, in light of the growing number of serious incidents in the industry, specifically as they relate to chairlift operations.”
The presentation was direct and did not try and dance around the issues. When something needed to be said, David said it; the facts were a bit scary. He clearly defined the economic and human consequences of ignoring or slighting the effort need to make safety top of mind.
In thinking of what to write for this newsletter, I reviewed an article from SAM, another good piece from SAM. It focuses on one safety protocol that needs to be fully embraced by all ski areas. I know to some ski areas this is preaching to the choir but as David and this article point out, practices get ignored, forgotten or are not part of the culture, and repeating messages is one of the tools to embed ideas and beliefs into a culture. Here’s the article for you to read; LOTO. Read it –practice it – it can save lives!

Data and Information

Database of record: Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Rapid, intuitive retrieval of current and historical data (accessible on or offsite) improves decision making at all levels of management.

Simple report generation.

Reduces risk and potential lawsuits.

Supports visualization of current and future mountain infrastructure (e.g. Gazex explosives locations, forest thinning, designing new runs, parking, etc.).


Please click on the images to learn more

Ski Patrol

  • Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).
  • Use of common language allows for consistent communication and information sharing.
  • Increases safety by minimizing accidents through pattern analysis of incidents.
  • Accident Investigation and Risk Management.
  • Snow Safety (Ski Patrol) Training.

The web and mobile application suite will provide editing and data collection tools for mapping incidents (wrecks, accidents) of any kind.

Please click on the images to learn more.

Avalanche Module


Ability to document, track and analyze slope conditions with one tool.

Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).

 Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Provides detailed current and historical weather patterns for visualizing/predicting.

Saves money through more precise use of explosives. 

Please click on the images to learn more.


The dispatch and risk module leverage Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, providing an intuitive survey-form, data-driven workflow for point feature collection and reporting. Data collected with SmartMountain Survey apps, which are available for both web browsers and native desktop and mobile apps for standard operating systems, are integrated with one or more SmartMountain modules, providing real-time or disconnected and later synchronized workflows for data collection and integration.

Each ski resort decided what they wish to display on the Dispatch Dashboard including on-hill incidents, walk-in incidents, on-hill refusals,  missing persons, work details for different departments, ski patrol rosters for the day, clearances, and sweeps.

Please click on the images to learn more.


  • Logs for Lift Maintenance, Lift Operations, and Groomer inspections, as well as building inspections.
  • Logs can record data and signatures, can record stops, station assignments.
  • Logs are tracked by calendar.


  • Management review made easy through the use of Excel – reviewing a major grouping of assets or a single component of an asset such as a drive or a gearbox.
  • All information related to a system(asset) is in one place whether it be a lift inspection report, a manual, oil analysis, a service bulletin, or a letter from a vendor.


  • Every user has a unique dashboard.
  • Dashboards can be customized to reflect a user’s specific needs.
  • Quick access to the status of work and cost .


  • The schedule function in MountainOffice provides for detailed instructions by task, recording of data such as the temperature of a gearbox, and service bulletins.
  • All schedules can have a time or counter trigger.