Okemo Resort celebrates national safety week with free PSP passes

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 4, 2011 10:42 am

National Ski Areas Association Safety Awareness Week is January 15-23

As a member of the National Ski Areas Assoc., Okemo Mountain Resort will recognize National Safety Awareness Week, Jan. 15-23, 2011, with the launch of a new Park Safety Program (PSP) and a host of fun events and activities to help educate skiers and riders about on-mountain safety.

PSP Pass

Safety is paramount at Okemo, and this year the Resort has introduced a terrain-park-pass program that requires skiers and riders to know some basic rules about park safety and etiquette before accessing Okemo’s premier Super Park on Nor’easter. There is no fee for the park pass. The goal of the Park Safety Program is to educate skiers and riders about the courtesy and common sense of riding on, and around, park elements and terrain features. Upon the successful completion of a ten-question quiz, skiers and riders will be issued a certificate to present for a credit-card-sized pass that they must wear, like a season pass, while riding Okemo’s terrain parks. The quiz can be taken online at okemo.com, or in person at Okemo Mountain Resort. Park Rangers will be staffing the Sugarhouse mid-mountain lodge from 8-10 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. on weekends and holidays. On weekdays, the quiz will be offered, throughout the day, at the summit patrol hut.

In the program’s inaugural season, the park pass is mandatory for accessing Okemo’s Super Park on Nor’easter, and recommended for accessing all other parks and Okemo’s Superpipe. Starting next winter, a PSP Pass will be mandatory for all terrain parks. Riding terrain park features without a park pass will initially result in a verbal warning and supplemental warnings may result in loss of lift ticket privileges.

Helmet Safety

Vermont’s own PHAT team (Protect Your Head at All Times/Protect Your Head on All Terrain) will be returning to Okemo, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., on Sunday, Jan. 16. The Vermont Snow Sports Research Team, a partnership of Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont College of Medicine will be on location to help educate skiers and riders about helmet use. Over the past several years, this team has been focused on developing a program to prevent serious head injuries by increasing voluntary ski helmet use among children and adults. The team of physicians and health care providers is headed by Robert Williams, M.D., pediatric anesthesiologist and critical care specialist at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen. In addition to education, the team’s project includes observations of skiers and riders to track data about helmet use. Their work has been presented at medical conferences, accepted for publication in medical journals and has been extensively covered by news media nationwide. The program’s presence at a resort includes posters, distribution of brochures, an exhibit, stickers and prizes. The program is non-coercive and is designed to promote both helmet use and skiing and snowboarding as a healthy lifestyle. Visit www.skihelmetsafety.org for more information.

Okemo will host a “Helmet Head” contest during National Safety Week. Okemo staff members will be out on the mountain taking photos of willing candidates showing their best helmet head – that cool, disheveled look of matted hair that happens when a skier or snowboarder removes his helmet after a great day on the slopes. A panel of judges will select the top-ten best helmet heads and post those photos on Okemo’s Facebook page for voting by Okemo fans. The candidate who receives the most votes will win two complimentary lift tickets for a day of skiing or riding at Okemo.

Also, anyone who purchases a new ski or snowboard helmet at Okemo’s Snowsports Shop Jan. 15-21, will receive a coupon for 50 percent off a full-day lift ticket, or 50 percent off a full-day equipment rental or high-performance demo, or 50 percent off a group lesson or specialty clinic.

Know the Code and Smart Style

The slogan for this year’s National Safety Awareness Week is, “Responsibility is the key to slope safety.” Regardless of how they enjoy the slopes, skiers and riders should always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. They should also observe the Skier Responsibility Code and Smart Style.

The Code:

1. Always stay in control.
2. People ahead of you have the right of way.
3. Stop in a safe place for you and others.
4. Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
5. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
6. Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
7. Know how to use the lifts safely.

Smart Style:

Every time you use freestyle terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use. Your speed, approach and take off will directly affect your maneuver and landing.
Scope around the jumps first, not over them. Know your landings are clear and clear yourself out of the landing area.
Start small and work your way up.
From the lift line through the park.

On Jan. 16, as a way to promote safety and to familiarize skiers and riders with the Skier Responsibility Code, a Safety Scavenger Hunt will take place on the slopes of Okemo. Elements of the “Code” and “Smart Style” will be posted along trails all over the mountain. Winners who collect The Code elements will receive fabulous prizes from Okemo’s prize vault.

National Safety Awareness Week is an annual event highlighting resort safety education efforts while increasing slope safety. Resorts are encouraged to develop new and creative ways to involve employees and guests in activities for Safety Week.