Vail Resorts retools slopes safety program
Ryan Summerlin December 22, 2012
BROOMFIELD – Vail Resorts last week announced the re-branding and enhancement of “Play It Safe, Play All Season”, the company’s slope safety campaign across its seven mountain resorts – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California and Nevada – prior to the holiday season.
“Our guests continue to tell us that safety is a key component of their mountain experience, and their comfort level on the mountain relative to safety is one of the most important things we can affect,” said Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division. “We launched our ‘Play It Safe’ campaign last year across six of our resorts but felt we needed stronger branding to reach our guests with the right message at the right time.”
The Play It Safe campaign now resembles the universal yellow caution signage even international guests will recognize and includes updated signs across the resorts and a new “rest area” initiative to help guests understand where to stop on popular runs.
“Across our resorts, we want to encourage locals, destination guests and employees alike to ski and snowboard responsibly so that everyone can play on the mountain all season long,” Carrig said. “While everyone is ultimately responsible for their own behavior on the slopes, we can absolutely do our part in encouraging and enforcing responsible behavior and are committed to doing that.”
Play It Safe is a multi-faceted, comprehensive campaign aimed at addressing slope safety by communicating how guests can ski and snowboard more responsibly and still have a great time. All seven of the company’s resorts are implementing enhanced on-mountain Play It Safe messaging across a variety of channels and in critical locations, such as ticket offices, slow zones and areas where trails merge, to reach skiers and snowboarders of all ages.
Guests can also expect to see a greater presence of mountain safety and operations personnel at all seven resorts. The mountain safety program, which started as the Yellow Jackets program at Vail more than 10 years ago, was designed to provide a dedicated staff whose primary focus was enforcing the rules of skiing and snowboarding on the mountain, allowing ski patrol to focus on the care and transport of injured guests. A number of tactics were utilized throughout the years, including monitoring runs of the day. The program at Vail has nearly doubled in size since its inception and has become a model for the company’s six other resorts. Training for the mountain safety group has been modified to better equip employees to deal with people who are in violation of the laws and rules of skiing and snowboarding.
The program also went through a comprehensive audit in the past year to identify opportunities for increased visibility and effectiveness and as a result, new tactics for enforcement and education are being established. Skiers and snowboarders who have their pass revoked for safety violations are required to attend a safety awareness class, which has also been overhauled and implemented across the company.