Last year, slope riding fatalities in Colorado were on par with combat in Afghanistan. With luck, and perhaps the safety messages taking firmer hold, the count will drop this year.
Skiing and boarding carry their dangers, to be sure. Trees, other riders, lifts, speed and perhaps a little less prudence than riders might exercise on the road.
The signature words to the wise are “Space not speed.” That is, keep your distance from hazards, such as other riders, and stay in control.
The Responsibility Code peels off from there:
n Did we mention stay in control?
n People ahead of you have the right of way.
n Stop in a safe place for you and others.
n When starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield to others.
n Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
n Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
n Know how to use the lifts safely.
Resort officials smiled politely when we suggested a Responsibility Code test before letting skiers on a lift. Imagine the line.
Helmet use seems to be catching on, as the resorts begin mandating kids in ski school wear lids. Helmets won’t help you much if you clobber a tree at speed, but they can make a difference when people collide, or you take a tumble on a catwalk. Snowboarders can cut down their risk for the most common boarding injury – sprained and broken wrists – with wrist guards.
Mainly, common sense and a cooperative spirit toward other skiers and those blasted snowboarders will pay the biggest dividends in safety, and fun.
“Safety Steve” managed to avoid returning calls to a reporter seeking information about local DJ Dennis Mac getting himself suspended for the high crime of playing the Bee Gees not just once, but four “songs” in a row.
Never mind that half the songs that classic rock station plays might as well be the Bee Gees, this apparently went over a line, even if in tribute to the death of band member Maurice Gibbs.
But we can imagine the usual quote from the station manager about not commenting about personnel issues, which of course are private affairs between management and worker bee.
But then, this particular personnel issue played out on the air for all the listening audience to hear, as Dennis Mac was told to leave the premises immediately.
Maybe it was a gag. Certainly the episode is a joke. They can’t be serious. Great pub, though. What genius. A radio reality show. Call it “You’re On the Air: See Ya!” D.R.