Is Resort Skiing More Dangerous?

Summit County community members gathered in late January, to discuss safety on the slopes. The discussion was led by the Alliance for Skier and Snowboarder Responsibility. The group was recently founded and is dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders adhere to their responsibilities regarding safety while on the mountain.

Founder Katherine Jeter, a resident of Summit County and lifetime skier said, “This is kind of the first of it’s kind.” The group spent the last year assessing the lay of the land and familiarizing themselves with organizations with a similar mission. Jeter expressed that other groups were more focused on the resorts and what the resorts could do to enforce and create safety regulations. The Alliance for Skier and Snowboarder Responsibility focuses on the idea that skiers and riders have a responsibility to each other. It starts with self to create a safer environment.

The organization was formed after Jeter was in an accident at Copper Mountain in 2017. A snowboarder crashed into her and she sustained severe injuries. While at Castle Peak Rehabilitation Center, she met Patrish Koenig, another skier who sustained severe injuries after a collision with a hit-and-run skier at Vail Resort. After sharing each other’s experiences, they decided it was time for change.

The Alliance for Skier and Snowboarder Responsibility met for the first time in March 2018. The group includes ski patrollers, resort ambassadors, mountain enthusiasts and more. The members discussed skier education, substance abuse, enforcement of rules on the slope and respect for fellow skiers and boarders, as the most important issues surrounding skier safety. They discussed in detail issues, such as speeding, lack of awareness and control, substance abuse and distractions (taking photos and head phones).

The organization is still in its early stages, but its members have ideas and recommendations that they believe will help bring awareness to ski safety and reducing injuries on the mountain. They hope this meeting is the first of many and that they can provide informative resources and training to ski resort employees, volunteers, skiers and snowboarders about ski safety in the future.