Letter: Learn your mountain ABCs | VailDaily.com

Letter: Learn your mountain ABCs

It has been almost 10 years since on a Christmas Eve day, at a small Wyoming ski area, a 5-year-old girl was killed by an out-of-control snowboarder traveling at great speed. At her side, the little girl’s mother was severely injured and the snowboarder also died. In an attempt to have good come out of this tragedy, the family, with the cooperation of the National Ski Patrol and National Ski Area Association, came out with a program called #RideAnotherDay.

The program includes a sobering video, handouts and an attempt to boil down the Responsibility Code to a three-point memory jogger: Be Ready, Stay Alert, Plan Ahead — each backed up with considerable detail. Over the years, the sting of the tragedy and the program’s promotion has dwindled. 

Now is the time to refresh the messages of #RideAnotherDay, including the promotion of simple memory joggers. I have a slightly different approach, but keeping with three points:

A = Always ready to slow down, stop — or help others.

B = Broaden scanning of what’s below — above when starting out. 

C = Create space with others — they may do unexpected things.

Then, add courtesy or humor lead-ins such as:

  • Please know and follow your ABCs
  • Even pre-schoolers know their ABCs
  • Have you said your ABCs today?
  • Have you helped others with their ABCs today?

Put a group of kids together and they will come up with some real zingers.

This letter is an open challenge for ski areas and support organizations to continue and expand their proactive programs for the inter-related issues of safety, injuries and close calls. But, more broadly it’s about the positives of recreational enjoyment — including re-establishing the satisfaction of courteousness, helping others and the commonality of enjoying Mother Nature.

Responses are appreciated. Further, there is no pride of authorship with my ABCs — use it if it makes sense.

Paul Rondeau

Vail