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Published: Saturday January 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday April 15, 2014 MYT 8:51:56 PM

Avoid that slippery slope

A skier must always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects in time. This file photo shows the resort of St Moritz, Switzerland, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel hurt her pelvis while cross-country skiing. — EPA

A skier must always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects in time. This file photo shows the resort of St Moritz, Switzerland, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel hurt her pelvis while cross-country skiing. — EPA

With all the skiing accidents in the news lately, it’s time snow-worshippers got reacquainted with the safety rules.

As skiers and snowboarders break out the new gear that Santa Claus brought them, several advocates are asking them to keep in mind basic safety rules so everyone has a good time on the mountain.

This is the National Ski Area Association’s (NSAA) Code of Responsibility, guidelines that all skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to follow.

> 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.

> Before using any ski lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely. (Source: www.nsaa.org)

The Snowbasin Ski Resort in Utah, the United States, is kicking off its Skier and Rider Safety Awareness Month with the goal of reminding people that they’re not the only ones on the mountain.

“We’ll be up here reminding people to know the code,” said Jason Dryer, spokesman for Snowbasin.

According to the NSAA, an average of 42 riders or skiers die every year, and 45 are seriously injured every year.

“We’re just trying to make sure our slopes are as safe as possible,” Dryer said. “Like driving a car, people need to make sure they are practising safe skiing.”

One local incident that was subject to debate was a snowboarder’s collision with a young skier in early December on the slopes of Snowbasin that was caught on camera.

Skiing off the normal trails poses extra risks. This is the rocky part between two slopes where Michael Schumacher had an accident on Dec 29.
Skiing off the normal trail poses extra risks. This is the rocky part between two slopes where Michael Schumacher had an accident on Dec 29. — AFP

The snowboarder, 17-year-old Daniel Poulsen, was snowboarding down the slopes with friends. Halfway down, a small girl on skis encroached on his left. He swerved and balanced himself off her shoulder, when another small child appeared in his path from the right. The two collided and the boy’s father skied up to Poulsen and hit him.

Susan Poulsen, Daniel’s mother and a sergeant with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, said a few weeks later that the man had gotten in contact with them and met with the family to personally apologise for his behaviour.

A subject of debate was whether Daniel and/or the boy and father were in violation of the NSAA’s responsibility code.

Along with teaching basic safety skills, avalanche safety will also be the focus of the month.

The first event, which took place on Saturday, was a memorial to Ryan Smedley, a local snowboarder who was killed in an avalanche in the Snowbasin backcountry in 2006.

The Ryan Smedley Foundation, founded by brother Claire Smedley and friend Allison Beeson, will be handing out batteries for avalanche beacons, training riders on how to use them and discussing safety tips for backcountry skiing.

“People need to think before they go out,” Beeson said. “Our motto is ‘Don’t just see it, live it’ as in: experience it and learn how to use the equipment before going out.” — The Standard-Examiner/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Ski safety

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