Vail Resorts has new safety campaign |

Vail Resorts has new safety campaign

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Skier Safety DT 12-24-11

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – The holiday season around Christmas and the new year is one of the busiest times of the ski season in Vail and Beaver Creek, and the more people who are on the mountain, the higher the chances are that accidents might occur.

Add that to early-season conditions this year – Vail has less than one-third of its total terrain open, and Beaver Creek has about 70 percent of its terrain open – and the runs and catwalks are inevitably more crowded.

Snowboarder Cesar Hermosillo said the main safety tip to keep in mind is to be aware of your surroundings. Hermosillo is currently fourth on the EpicMix leaderboard, meaning he is racking up some serious ski days and vertical feet. With that much time on the mountain, he notices some of the main safety concerns.

“Ski within your ability,” he said. “Be aware of other people on the mountain, and stay in control.”

Hermosillo thinks Ski Patrol and the mountain’s safety programs have done an amazing job in recent years to make the mountain safer for everyone. Vail Resorts announced its latest safety initiative Friday, too, called “Play It Safe, Play All Season.”

The company plans to put up new signs at its resorts to make skiers and riders more aware of their safety and the safety of everyone around them. The signs have already gone up at Beaver Creek, said resort spokeswoman Jen Brown, which she said will evolve over time in order for the resort to determine the best places to put them.

“We will cluster them in certain high-traffic, key areas,” Brown said.

Signs remind skiers and riders to “be smart, pay attention,” “check your blind spots,” “look before you go” and “merge with care.”

The “play all season” part of the slogan can be interpreted in a lot of ways, including as a reminder that those who don’t play it safe can lose their season passes for the remainder of the season.

Vail Mountain Chief Operating Officer Chris Jarnot and Beaver Creek Chief Operating Officer Doug Lovell want to remind all of the guests at the two resorts that the company places a high value on safety. Jarnot and Lovell recently wrote a letter to the Vail Daily that drives the point home.

The letter says the new safety campaign will bring “added messaging on the slopes stressing the importance of responsible skiing and snowboarding and reminding everyone of ‘Your Responsibility Code,’ which is posted throughout the mountain on things such as trail maps and even restaurant napkins.”

One important reminder is from the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which states that “no skier involved in a collision with another skier or person in which an injury results shall leave the vicinity of the collision before giving his or her name and current address to an employee of the ski area operator or a member of the ski patrol, except for the purpose of securing aid for a person injured in the collision.”

Vail Resorts Yellow Jacket team, which promotes and enforces on-mountain safety, is consistently recognized by the National Ski Areas Association. Under the new initiative, the Yellow Jackets have new duties designed to increase their visibility and effectiveness, according to Jarnot and Lovell.

“We’re all in this together, and while everyone is ultimately responsible for their actions, we feel it is our responsibility to help facilitate a safer environment for skiing and snowboarding and to continue educating both our guests and employees about slope safety,” the letter reads.

Vail Yellow Jacket Kate Kinas said she thinks the safety programs go a long way. She said she thinks the mountain has seemed safer in general as Vail Resorts has increased safety awareness.

“People are more aware,” she said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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