The season is almost here, we are chomping at the bit for temps that are low enough to make snow.  While we are all waiting I want to address our safety initiative for you all.  We use the NSAA ( ) Smart Style freestyle terrain safety initiative.  On top of Your Responsibility Code ( ), the Smart Style is "a cooperative effort to continue the proper use and progression of freestyle terrain at mountain resorts, while also delivering a unified message that is clear, concise, and effective."  I wanted to make this post so that everyone would take a couple minutes out of their day to read and watch the video, so that everyone is on the same page as we are coming into the early season.

We want you to enjoy yourself here at the resort and we want to be able to enjoy our workday here at the resort,  but we also hold the safety of our guests to the highest regard.  If you are creating an unsafe situation for yourself or for our other guests in one of our parks, one of my Park Crew guys will ask you to stop and take you aside to explain why you were stopped.  If what you are doing is posing a threat to guests and/or employees, we may give you a warning and or take your pass.  The length of us pulling a pass is not set in stone and varies on each individual instance.  We only pulled a few passes last year, we aren't here to be the police, but please think about what you are doing before you do it so we don't have to stop you and chat :)

Here is the link to the video. It is a video put out by the NSAA on the smart style program.

Freestyle Terrain is becoming more popular at resorts and proper use is important . The National Ski Areas Association and Burton Snowboards have developed the "Smart Style" Freestyle Terrain Safety initiative, a cooperative effort to continue the proper use and progression of freestyle terrain at mountain resorts, while also delivering a unified message that is clear, concise, and effective.

The 3 main points of Smart Style include:

Look Before You Leap

Before getting into freestyle terrain observe all signage and warnings

Scope around the jumps first not over them

Use your first run as a warm up run and to familiarize yourself with the terrain

Be aware that the features change constantly due to weather, usage, grooming and time of day.

Do not jump blindly and use a spotter when necessary

Easy Style It

Know your limits and ski/ride within your ability level

Look for small progression parks or features to begin with and work your way up.

Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air

Do not attempt any features unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely

Inverted aerials increase your risk of injury and are not recommended.

Respect Gets Respect

Respect the terrain and others (Freestyle terrain is for everyone regardless of equipment or ability)

One person on a feature at a time

Wait your turn and call your start

Always clear the landing area quickly

Respect all signs and stay off closed terrain and feature

Remember that ducking a rope into a closed area of the mountain is against Summit County Ordinance 110, which states that violating a closure put in place is against the law and is a prosecutable offense.  We close the parks for good reasons, not just to keep you guys from having fun.  A few various examples could be that we have snowcats in there building or maintaining the park.  If you were to come across a winch cat fully extended, you would not hear the cat or see the winch line.  That winch line can do alot of damage to a person if you ride into a closed park.  Or riding into the closed park when we have cats in there building the park or maintaining the park,  you wouldn't be able to hear them or see them, and when you ride over the knuckle of the jump and the cat is right there grooming a landing, it isn't a good thing. 

If there is enough snow to mandate that I shut down a park, we do it for a few reasons;

One, it gives my guys time to dig all the features out without traffic coming thru the run, which on a snowy day where visibility might be lower, is very helpful for our safety.  I have had a few close calls where people weren't paying attention, well, some of them were paying attention and did it anyway, where they tried to hit the feature and came very close to myself or one of my guys, either with their snowboard or coming at us straight on. 

Two, if it hasn't snowed for awhile and there is a large dump, we like to let that snow sit and accumulate on the landing without any traffic over it.  That way when my snowcat operators get out there at night, they can pack that snow down with the cat and make a nice snow surface.  That surface may only ride soft for a week or so, but it's better than riding on older snow.  If we don't allow the cats to pack it in with their tracks it won't give you that new snow smell...  for those of you that know what I don't mean by new snow smell, it is generally softer and more pleasing to ride than older snow that is a little more solid.

Also, if we close a park due to a good amount of snow, like we did a few times for jonesys last year, beyond reason number two, it is because we deem that the conditions have made the park features impossible to ride. 

When we close down the parks at night, we generally go this route.  Upper Jonesys is closed by 3:45pm, Lower Jonesys by 4pm. These two parks get the most rope ducking usage and it's not only an annoyance to us because you ruined our rake jobs, but it's dangerous.  Ski Patrol only makes their closing sweeps, so after we are done raking and before ski patrol comes around, if you hurt yourself, you will be waiting awhile until someone finds you. Kings Crown is closed by 3:45pm and Pick N Shovel is closed at 4pm.  We may or may not close down payday some days anytime between 3pm and 4pm, and we would shut that down to maintain the features before night skiing kicks in if it is deemed necessary. 

When we close the parks, my guys go through and rake all the non jump features, things the snowcat can't generally groom.  During the day depending on all the different conditions in the world, ruts may appear or it can dish out.  At night when we do our final rake, we fix that by raking snow up onto said feature.  This snow needs time to set up and become hard.  If you were to duck the rope and ride those features you would create ruts because the snow hasn't had enough time to set up and is still very soft.  That ruins the feature for the next day because when the snow does set up overnight it sets up with ruts in it and those will take time to rake out in the morning.  That may mean closing the feature down for an unspecified amount of time to fix the feature.

Now that I have been rambling on for quite some time, I'll end this by saying we enjoy having you guys on the hill riding our features and giving us feedback.  (riding by at high speed yelling "you guys suck" is not acceptable feedback though) Stop and chat with us or ride with us.  We want you to have a good time up here,  so think a little about what you are doing so we can all have a good day.  And BE SAFE!  Aaand if you ever have questions, ask me. email me. message me. leave me voicemails. buy me food and bring it to me in the office late at night.  wash my truck.  or better yet buy my truck...  but really, i'll always answer questions so don't hesitate to ask. :)