Ski resorts promote safety on the slopes |

Ski resorts promote safety on the slopes

by Pete Sonntag

As we enjoy the holiday season, we’d like to address an important issue for all of us at Lake Tahoe: slope safety. The safety of our guests and employees is our highest priority and for years we’ve led the industry with innovative, award-winning safety programs and initiatives designed to help both our guests and employees understand their responsibility when skiing and snowboarding. While we’ve achieved a lot, we feel there’s more we can do together.

 Last week, we rolled out an enhanced slope safety campaign across our six mountain resorts called Play It Safe. Play All Season.

Our goal is to continue to elevate the guest and employee experience on the mountain by communicating how all mountain users can ski and snowboard more responsibly and still have a great time, while making sure you don’t lose any valuable ski or ride time to an injury that could have been avoided.  

Here’s what you can expect to see at Heavenly and Northstar this winter:

n Play it Safe messaging at critical locations such as terrain park exits, on lift towers and in areas where trails merge.

n Added messaging on the slopes stressing the importance of responsible skiing and snowboarding and reminding everyone of “Your Responsibility Code.”

n A greater presence of mountain safety personnel (the Yellow Jackets) employing new tactics for enforcement and education.

n Better training for the mountain safety teams to deal with people who are in violation of the laws and rules of skiing and snowboarding responsibly.

n Skiers and snowboarders who have their pass revoked for safety violations are required to attend a re-tooled safety awareness class.

We’re all in this together and, while everyone is ultimately responsible for their actions, we feel it is our responsibility to help create a safer environment for skiing and snowboarding and to continue educating both our guests and employees about slope safety. We ask you, our loyal guests, to help us by reporting irresponsible behavior at Heavenly, Northstar and our other mountain resorts. Please let our mountain safety, ski patrol or resort staff know if something is making you uncomfortable on the slopes.

On the management and enforcement side, we have a zero-tolerance policy for reckless skiing and snowboarding by guests and employees and will take appropriate measures in dealing with each instance on a case-by-case basis. Consequences will vary and may include suspending or revoking pass privileges, termination of employment, or referring matters to law enforcement where applicable.

We’re looking forward to many fun-filled days of skiing and snowboarding this season. Let’s all play it safe so we can enjoy the great snow and the mountains all season long.

Pete Sonntag is the vice president and general manager of Heavenly Mountain Resort.