Cliffs, cornices and rocks ahead |

Cliffs, cornices and rocks ahead

Veronica Whitney
Preston Utley/Vail DailyNew signs on Vail Mountain indicate "extreme terrain."

VAIL MOUNTAIN – Adam Steinmeyer breathed hard after riding down a foot of new powder over the Seldom cliffs on Vail Mountain Wednesday.But before he ventured down the cliffs, Adam passed several new warning signs containing the letters E and X and the words “extreme terrain.” “I love (the signs). It gives you a heads up of what’s coming ahead,” said Steinmeyer, 23, an avid local snowboarder. “If I didn’t know the mountain, I would be more careful. But I’ve been here a couple seasons and I learned this before they put the signs up.”But it’s a good thing for tourists,” he added.The new extreme terrain signs, already up in seven spots on Vail Mountain, were added in Vail and other ski areas across the state legislature last spring changed the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which establishes safety standards for the operation of ski areas.The new signs warn skiers and riders they are entering an area with cliffs, cornices or rocks. Beaver Creek doesn’t have these new signs.”Beaver Creek has some great expert terrain. While very challenging, this terrain does not warrant the need for extreme terrain signage,” said Christina Schleicher, spokeswoman for Beaver Creek.

“(The safety Act) was changed because of the evolution in the sport,” said Ashley Boyden, spokesowman for Colorado Ski Country USA. “The sport has evolved, there are shorter shaped skis, twin-tipped skis and they allow people to do maneuvers and tricks that were either not possible or weren’t routinely done as recently as a decade ago. With this evolution in the sport, we needed to update it.”Another reason to improve safety measures on the slopes is that now people ski every inch of a ski area, Boyden added. Jen Brown, spokeswoman for Vail Mountain, said the signs give skiers and snowboarders better information about the mountain.”It’s visible and for those seeking that particular kind of terrain they know where to go,” Brown said. “For those who chose to ski more greens than blues, the information provides notification that this likely is an area they want to ski around.” Vail ski patrol posted the new signs based upon criteria set forth in the legislation, Brown said. Vail snowboarder Matt Linsky, 20, said the said won’t keep him off any slopes, but “they’ll keep me extra careful.” “I’ll try to hit all of them in a day like today,” Linsky said of the seven spots with the new extreme terrain signs. But Natron Smith the signs are overblown. “I don’t think there’s any true extreme terrain in Vail,” said Smith, 44, of Vail. “Chamonix in Europe, Mont Blanc, that’s extreme. It’s all crevasses.”

Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or ==========================================Extreme skiingNorth RimChair 4 cliffsPrima Cornice

Seldom/ Never CliffsWindows CliffsRasputin’sDragon’s Teeth================================================Vail, Colorado

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