Resort pushes safety tips with new mascot
VAIL – Skiers and riders got their first look on Saturday at Vail Mountain’s safety week mascot, Pork Chop the Safety Pig.That’s right, a pig. Apparently there is a logical connection between skiing and swine (see box). But for now all Julie Austin and Caroline Roddy know is that Pork Chop is way cute.”It would be fun to get advice from him,” Austin, 10, said. Saturday was the first day of National Safety Awareness Week. Pork Chop’s task is to visit and quiz children’s ski school classes about safe skiing and snowboarding, as well as offer tips to the ski resort’s guests.Because Pork Chop’s audience is kids, we decided to survey some of the mountain’s younger users to get their thoughts on the man, er, pig.Are pigs skiers or boarders?Pork Chop is an ever-smiling, human-sized pink mascot who wears a ski patrol vest. Huddled at the base of Golden Peak, the group of elementary-school aged children had plenty of opinions to share about the new animal on the mountain. Adults do, too.
“I like pigs,” said Amy Reardon. “He’s cute.”Reardon’s 4-year-old son, Tom, was mum on the matter.Connor Fair, 9, saw P. Choppy – as he is called when perfecting tricks in the terrain park – skiing down a run earlier in the day. “He should be doing more tricks,” Fair suggested. Some were surprised to hear Pork Chop was a skier.”He looks more like a snowboarder,” Roddy said. Can’t a pig be both? Any better ideas?Jason Cleary, 10, wondered if Winnie the Pooh wouldn’t be a more appropriate mascot. After all, everyone likes Winnie the Pooh.”That’s what I said!” Roddy said.
Fair had a thoughtful suggestion. “Maybe it should be a chicken,” he said, and then explained. “Because chickens don’t do anything so they never get hurt.”As for Pork Chop’s nickname, Fair had a better suggestion. “How about Pork Roast,” he said. “Or Bacon. Maybe Hot Dog.”Because he is an adult, Steven Vannelli suggested the resort company use some alliteration for their mascot, such as a Safety Sow. “I’m just kidding,” he said. Safety sticksAll kidding aside, these kids seem to know their safety stuff. Cleary could name off safety slogans at the tip of a stocking cap.”Space not speed,” he said. “Look uphill before crossing. When you come out of the trees, look out for other people.”Fair pointed out that skiers and boarders should use caution when skiing through trees.
Parents certainly support the swine.”I think it’s nice that they are encouraging kids, families, to ski safely,” Reardon said.Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado