Stay Safe, Have Fun on the Slopes
There is nothing more exhilarating, more exciting than carving some turns or catching some air on skis or a snowboard in Sun Valley. Add a glorious January sun, bright blue skies, terrific conditions and wide-open top-to-bottom shots and you get the picture -- we are in a sweet spot of the winter season. But along with all the fun, comes responsibility and in support of National Safety Month sponsored by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), Sun Valley is again offering a variety of programs designed to help guests stay safe and play safe.
Safety on the slopes is of the utmost importance and the annual Safety Week, taking place this year from January 19 – 25, makes remembering to ski and ride with care a whole lot of fun. Headed up by Sun Valley's legendary Ski Patrol, the week offers many ways to educate oneself about on-mountain safety. The fun will take patrollers from local schools to the avalanche beacon training park on Bald Mountain and many points in between.
The dedicated members of the storied Sun Valley Ski Patrol (and their avalanche dogs) are constantly training and working to make a guest's experience on Baldy or Dollar the very best – and safest one – possible.
This is a time Sun Valley Ski Patrol looks forward to every year. "The safety of our skiing and riding guests and employees is our first priority," said Mike Lloyd, Director of Sun Valley Ski Patrol. "We view Safety Month as an opportunity to meet and greet our skiing and riding guests and talk about safety on the slopes. The activities we have planned will offer tips that we hope will help keep people safe when on the mountain."
For Patrol Supervisor Bryant Dunn, this week offers a great opportunity for awareness and even reflection. "I think that Safety week serves as a great reminder of the importance of being a responsible member of the mountain community," he said. "It reminds everyone to look out for other skiers and riders on the hill and to remember we are all in this together. Everything Ski Patrol and Sun Valley Resort is doing this week is a way for all of us to focus on the passion we have for these sports and importance of being safe so you, and everyone else on the hill, can enjoy outdoor recreation."
Interactive programs are the hallmark of National Safety Week. New this year is the chance to interface with perhaps Sun Valley Ski Patrol's most famous members: their highly trained and loveable avalanche dogs. These amazing animals will perform actual "rescues" on volunteers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m. Those interested in this experience should meet at Lookout Restaurant atop Baldy just before 11 a.m. Lloyd said "we can't wait to show them off our new avalanche dogs and their skills."
The dogs will also be featured guests at a "meet and greet" at the top of Roundhouse Gondola, welcoming skiers and riders as they get off the gondola. Answer a question about Mountain Community and Safety Awareness correctly to receive tickets for free hot chocolate. Hint to win: pay attention to the Responsibility Code that is posted on chairlift poles and around the hill (see below for a head start).
Back by popular demand, a gigantic Mountain Community Snow Sculpture commanding Baldy's peak. Be sure to check out what creativity and a few chainsaws can accomplish!
When you combine ingenuity and chainsaws, you never know what monolith Ski Patrol will create atop Baldy in honor of Safety Month. This year, expect the unexpected with Safety Snow Men
At the base of the mountain, discounted binding safety checks will be available throughout the week at both River Run and Warm Springs. Bindings should be checked throughout the season to ensure they are set correctly for your size, ability and style. Call 208.622.6127 for more information. No appointment is necessary.
Prepare also for swag (how do free bandanas, lanyards, sunscreens and even tickets sound?), surprises and lots of smiles this week. Please check mountain reports for updates, 800.635.4150 or visit sunvalley.com. Any questions can be addressed to Sun Valley Ski Patrol at 208-622-6265.
For the past three years, the Sun Valley Resort and the Sun Valley Ski Patrol have received national acclaim and awards for their efforts to increase safety awareness on Baldy and Dollar Mountains. And remember that Ski Patrol is there to help. Our Patrol members are some of the most qualified, helpful and friendly people around. They are EMTs and Paramedics; explosives and ropes experts. They love their job and they know our mountains front, back and crosswise. Be sure to say hello to one this week and thank them for all they do. They are all doing their very best to make sure you are having the time of your life, and staying safe.
For more on Safety Week and how it's being celebrated on Dollar, please check the January 16 entry of the blog.
Stop by the Ski Patrol hut on Baldy's peak to check in, ask a question or get some great tips. As the sign says, you are always welcome
First and foremost to Patrol's education component is also "knowing the code." The National Ski Patrol Responsibility Code is a mountain user's reference that everyone, from seasoned skiers to absolute beginners, should be familiar with. In case you missed the oversized posters detailing the Code on the Christmas and Challenger chairlifts and at the base of the mountains, here they are:
- Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
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