12
Dec
2014
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Skiing & Riding

It’s All About Community

When it comes right down to it, we're all from the same tribe. Whether we ski or snowboard, have been carving for decades or just a few days, we all share a common love for snow sports.

And it doesn't matter whether we're lucky enough to live in a ski town or only get to visit, we all pay homage at the same snow-covered alters. We are all members of the same community, a mountain community.

That's the message being spread across the slopes of Sun Valley this season through the official "Mountain Community" movement. It's the rather simply idea that we should always be respectful of our fellow snow sports enthusiasts, regardless of their ability is or where they come from. And it's a message that's pretty easy to embrace.

"It's really a concept that is an accumulation of comments, compliments and complaints from the ski and snowboarding community. It originates with the idea that we're all on the same team and that we all should be able to enjoy our winter recreation opportunities without any problems," ski patrol supervisor Bryant Dunn explained.

Bryant said that the "Mountain Community" philosophy that's being promoted in various ways, like through posters, instructional videos, the press and the new designations of several areas on Baldy this season, is really more about awareness and consideration than it is about rules.

"Our goal is to help education and influence positive behavior and not simply enforce rules," said Bryant, who's now in his 14th season as a local ski patrolman. To sum up the "Mountain Community" philosophy, Bryant said it's all about the "three Cs."

The first is embracing the concept of community; that we're all here for the same thing and that we always need to remember to treat our fellow skiers and boarders like friends and neighbors—not like enemies or ex-cons as can be known to happen during powder days, busy holidays or when the hot cookies bell rings at the Warm Springs lodge.

The second C is consideration. It's easy to get so into our own zone when we're ripping up the world-class terrain on Baldy or Dollar mountains that we forget that the things we're buzzing past or cutting off aren't trees or snow guns, but people simply trying to enjoy the slopes just like us.

It also shouldn't matter whether our fellow skiers and riders are once-a season weekend warriors from a Big City, are first season "locals" or Wood River Valley lifers, we all deserve to be treated with respect and consideration.

The final C is for common sense. Being respectful and considerate of others—like not hauling butt or doing tricks in congested areas—is simply common sense.

"Everyone who is here to ski or snowboard is part of the mountain community and has a responsibility to respect one another's space and simple desire to have fun, "Bryant said.

As part of the program, there are now five new "Family Areas" on Baldy that espouse the mantra of "Go with Flow." There are also three "Slow Zones," that Bryant said follow the mantra of "Very Slow."

In keeping with Sun Valley's long and storied tradition of being home to "first" in the ski industry, the "Mountain Community" concept is really the first of its kind nationally. It's a concept that's being supported by local sports shops like Sturtevant's and Pete Lane's and is already beginning to get noticed by other ski areas across the country.

"It's truly a community effort and it's leading the way for other ski areas in North America," Bryant said, adding with a hopeful smile, "and if it results in even one less collision this year it will be worth it."


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