Letter: Does safety on the mountain sell? | VailDaily.com

Letter: Does safety on the mountain sell?

And now for something completely different: Safety messages for skiers and riders either put people to sleep (Know the Code) or leaves them befuddled (new one seen on Vail mountain says “Keep It Flowing”). So how do you address safety to change the ways of our guests? If there is an answer, part of it has to be associated with an overall theme that is larger in scope, marketing of the experience and, yes, with humor.

For example, guests come to a mountain to experience doing great turns on their skis or boards, a feeling of courtesies and safety amongst skiers and riders and having fun.

Hence: Turns + Courtesies = Fun

Then back up the three-word motto, Turns, Courtesies, Fun with

  • Lessons: Yes turning, but with a lot more focus on the joy helping others and being safe.
  • Free: YouTube-type videos giving a series of short tips on how to make great turns, coupled with courtesy and safety hints and tips.
  • Create: A cartoon-type character (Loony Loon, the bird?) that gives various hints and tips — let the school kids come up with the sayings.
  • Guidance: Ski Patrol, yellow jackets (status?) and guests themselves now have a polite way with three words to suggest out-of-control skiers and riders might want to change their “ways.”
  • Messages: Trail signage and trail maps could pick up on the motto with some lightheartedness — for example, “Have you helped someone on the slope today?”
  • Marketing: The three words could be the catchy one-liner to build upon “the experience.”

Will any of this, particularly the notion of helping others and courtesy really change anything or is the culture we too often see on the mountain not about to change?

There may be hope. Recently, I felt like I was almost run into, but I am sure the other skier did not sense anything out of the ordinary. It so happened I ended up on the same chairlift with this person. While on the chair, he was grousing about someone walking over his skis and the lack of common “courtesy.” There yet may be a way of “getting to” folks who are unaware of some things, yet do understand notions of basic courtesies and helpfulness.

No pride of authorship that would prevent any ski company or area from picking up on, again, one of my crazy, out-of-the-box ideas.

Paul Rondeau


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