At Sunlight Mountain Resort, we take skier and snowboarder safety very seriously. Each season our we implement a number of safety measures aimed at proactively educating guests and employees on the fundamentals of enjoying a safe day on the slopes - and throughout the resort.
Safety is Your Responsibility
Safety is also your responsibility. Exercising personal responsibility on the slopes is not only a good idea, here in Colorado, it’s the law.
The Colorado Ski Safety Act establishes responsibilities for skiers and snowboarders and spells out risks inherent to the sport. Under the law, skiers and snowboarders are responsible for skiing and riding within one’s ability level, maintaining control of one’s course and speed, avoiding collisions with others, and to obey all signs and closures.
By educating yourself, friends, and family, you are taking a responsible step toward further ensuring a seamless and pleasurable mountain experience. The menus below are designed as an educational resource that outline the key points of a variety of ski and snowboard safety topics.
KNOW THE CODE. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
- Always ride in control and in such a manner that you can stop or avoid other people or objects.
- When heading downhill or passing another person YOU must avoid the person below you.
- Do not stop where you will be blocking a trail or are not visible from above.
- When entering a trail or starting downhill, look uphill and stop for other people.
- All skiers and snowboarders must wear retention straps or other devices to prevent runaway equipment.
- Keep off closed trails and obey all posted signs.
- Before getting on any lift, you must be able to load, ride and unload the lift safely.
Officially endorsed by the National Ski Areas Association.
Know How to Use the Lifts
Know How to Use the Lifts
Having the knowledge and ability to safety ride the lifts is also a key tenet of the skier and snowboarder Responsibility Code. If you’re not sure, its always okay to ask for help. Our lift attendants are friendly folks, and they are there to help. Also, be sure to read the signs. Instructions on how to board and ride safely are often posted near many ski area lifts.
Did you Know?
Did you know that here in Colorado knowing how to ride the lifts before hopping aboard is a state law? As the Ski Safety Act states:
“No passenger shall board a passenger tramway (gondola or chairlift) if he or she does not have sufficient physical dexterity, ability, and knowledge to negotiate or use such facility safely or until such passenger has asked for and received information sufficient to enable him or her to use the equipment safely. A passenger is required to follow any written or verbal instructions that are given to him regarding the use of the passenger tramway.”
If your family is new to skiing and snowboarding, there are a many good reasons to sign up for lessons from a professional instructor. As your children progress, their lesson will include instructions on how to ride the ski area lifts safely. Parents skiing or snowboarding with young children should always be sure to ask the lift attendant s for help when boarding ski area lifts. It’s always o.k. to ask for help. The lift attendants can slow down the lift, and get your little ones safely seated on the lift, so that you can focus on getting yourself safely onboard.
Chairlifts come in many different forms and are capable of carrying two, three, four, or even six people at a time. Be sure to know beforehand how many people the chairlift you are boarding can accommodate. And, if you can’t all fit the young ones all on the same chairlift, ask a lift attendant to find a responsible adult to ride with them. If the chairlift is equipped with a bar, always lower it. Once on the lift, your child should sit back as far as possible. A helpful reminder is back-to-back, seat-to-seat. Younger children should be reminded to sit all the way back on the chair (back-to-back) and to keep their seat on the seat. Sit still, and absolutely no horseplay while riding the lifts!
Other Rules for Lift Passengers
Colorado’s Ski Safety Act lists even more rules for anyone that rides the lift:
1.) Passengers can only board or exit the lift at the designated loading and unloading areas. There is an exception for emergency situations in which ski patrol help evacuate passengers in the event of a lift stoppage.
2.) It is against the law to throw items from the lift.
3.) It is against the law to swing or ride the lift in a way that interferes with safe operation or engage in any type of conduct that could cause injury to other passengers or skiers and snowboarders.
A Helmet - It's a Good Idea!
Helmets – A Good Idea
Sunlight Mountain Resort supports the use of ski and snowboard helmets and encourages you to educate yourself on the benefits and limitations of wearing them. Helmets provide added protection when you fall, but wearing a helmet doesn’t give you permission to ski or snowboard faster or more recklessly.
Over the course of the past several seasons, more and more skiers and snowboarders are wearing helmets on the slopes, a trend that has increased steadily according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). In fact, an overwhelming majority of adults and children wear helmets while skiing and snowboarding and about 90 percent of children nine years old and younger wear helmets.
The most important consideration when buying or renting a helmet for your child is to make sure it fits properly. A ski and snowboard helmet is not something to grow into. It’s very important that the helmet fits snugly and is secured with the helmet strap. Helmets designed for other uses (bike, skate, baseball, etc.) should not be used for skiing and snowboarding helmets unless they are designed for such uses. Be sure the helmet you purchase meets the specific design and safety criteria for skiing and snowboarding. Before purchasing a helmet, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching helmet manufacturer websites for design information, fitting instructions, and other specifications. However, not all helmets fit universally, so it’s important to try on several different helmet brands and styles to find the one that fits your child the best. While there is much to consider when purchasing a ski and snowboard helmet, there is a wealth of information available online.
Learn more at LidsonKids.org www.lidsonkids.org
Eyewear on the Slopes
Whether it’s a sunny day, or overcast, it’s important to always wear proper eye protection while skiing and snowboarding. Ski and snowboard goggles provide the best overall protection for every day on the slopes, especially for children. Sunglasses provide good protection from harmful UV rays, especially on bright sunny days at higher altitude. However, sunglasses have their limitations. They can fall off easily when you fall, they provide only limited protection on windy days, and they do not provide good protection when it’s snowing.
Goggles can be secured to the helmet with the goggle strap. Goggles provide the best protection on snowy and windy days when the weather changes. Here again, making sure the goggles fit properly is very important. When fitting children, be sure to try on the helmet and goggles together to make sure of a seamless fit.
Learn more at The Goggle Gap Project
Signs of the Slopes
Know the Signs of the Slopes!
Just like the streets of America, there are many signs to follow and obey at ski areas. These signs provide important information such as the difficultly level of the trails, important tips and reminders for riding the lifts safely, and warnings of potential hazards. Always be observant and aware of your surroundings. Following and obeying the sign of the slopes is a key step to enjoying a safer day on the slopes. Here are some of the basic signs that designate trail difficulty.
Images of all signs listed below
Green Circle: Easier
Blue Square: More Difficult
Black Diamond: Most Difficult
Double-Black Diamond: Expert
Orange Oval: Freestyle Terrain
In addition to these signs, ski areas also post other important signs offering tips on how to ride the lifts safely, indicating trail closures and ski area boundaries, and slow skiing and snowboarding zones. Slow zones are high-traffic areas and are intended to slow skiers and snowboarders down when approaching a busy intersection or nearing lift-loading areas. Here are some samples of other signs you may encounter on the slopes.
Uphill Passport Program
At Sunlight, the fun isn’t limited to sliding downhill. Many skiers and snowboarders enjoy exercising amid breathtaking mountain settings before or after the lifts close. Sunlight allows uphill access by means of skiing uphill with the use of skins, snowshoeing, cross-country, and hiking. Before you start heading uphill, please check-in with Guest Services or Patrol Headquarters to sign-up for Sunlight's Uphill Passport Program. Users receive a free uphill passport to use for the season. The goal of the program is to keep users informed of important safety information for the preservation of uphill opportunities at Sunlight.
Sunlight's famed East Ridge features Extreme Terrain for expert skiers and snowboarders. On the trailmap, these runs are marked with two black diamonds. The Colorado Ski Safety Act defines extreme terrain as: “any place within the ski area boundary that contains cliffs with a minimum 20-foot rise over a 15-foot run, and slopes with a minimum 50 degree average pitch over a 100 foot run.” Much of the terrain on the East Ridge fits this definition.
Extreme terrain is for experts only. Those who venture into these areas without the proper skills, knowledge, gear, and a partner can end up in situations that may require rescue. If you go it alone, it may take hours (or more) for someone to find and rescue you. Always go with a partner. If you’re new to extreme terrain, take a lesson from a professional ski or snowboard instructor. They know the terrain. They can teach you the skills you need to navigate these areas safely. Always observe and obey all signs and trail closures.
Sunlight Mountain Resort is equipped with the RECCO Rescue System
Avalanche Training at Sunlight
Sunlight's Avalanche Beacon Training Park is designed for backcountry enthusiasts to practice simulated avalanche searches using their own beacons/transceivers and probe. The park is located on the East side of the mountain in The Parks accessed from Grizzly.
- The BCA wireless beacon training park has 8 transmitters/targets and can be set up for single or multiple scenarios.
- Self-serve system, with directions for different scenarios located at the main control station.
- For more information, stop into Patrol Headquarters at the top of Primo Lift.
Deep Snow Safety – Buddy-Up!
Deep Snow Safety – Buddy-Up!
For advanced skiers and snowboarders, fresh powder is one of the most exciting and appealing facets of the sport. However, the deep powder that many pursue can turn deadly if you are not properly prepared. As the snow piles up, tree wells form. A tree well is a void or area of loose snow around the trunk of a tree, particularly pine trees. A deep snow or tree well immersion incident occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized. Without the help of a partner, this can lead to suffocation.
If you are venturing off of the groomed run in search for powder, know that you are doing so at your own risk. Here are a few important tips for venturing off the groomed runs:
- Ride or ski with a partner and keep your partner in sight at all times.
- Ski or ride in control.
- Maintain plenty of space between you and the trees. Steer clear of tree wells.
- Skiers should remove ski pole straps
- Carry safety equipment including:
- Cell phone with resort emergency number
- Transceiver / beacon
Learn more at:
Deep Snow and Tree Well Safety: www.DeepSnowSafety.org
Backcountry – Assume Nothing
There are several backcountry access points at Sunilght. These out-of-bounds areas are available for public use. However, terrain beyond the ski area boundary is not managed or maintained by ski areas or area patrol. In fact, the Colorado Ski Safety Act states that ski areas assume no responsibility for skiers and snowboarders going beyond the ski area boundary.
Avalanches, unmarked obstacles, and other natural hazards exist beyond the ski area boundary. Rescue in the backcountry can be costly and may take several hours – if available at all. Knowledge and good decision making are the two most important tools to be equipped with before heading into the backcountry. Before venturing into the backcountry, skiers and snowboarders should have a solid understanding of avalanche safety, as well as the proper gear including a beacon, probe, shovel, and a partner, as well as knowledge of the area.
Sunlight provides a free avalanche beacon training area and can help you find a local avalanche education class. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is a leading organization dedicated to providing backcountry users with updated forecasts and safety education. By taking steps to educate yourself and your friends on backcountry and avalanche safety, you are better ensuring a safe mountain experience.
Learn more at: Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC): www.avalanche.state.co.us/index.php