LAKEWOOD, Colo., October 21, 1999¿The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), along with the National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, American Association of Snowboard Instructors and Willis and AIG insurance companies, has created the Safety Initiative 2000 campaign to assist ski area operators nationwide address the topic of slope safety education for guests.
NSAA Director of Education Tim White explains, “The objective of the campaign is to attempt to further reduce the frequency of accidents and to unify the industry to focus on and communicate a pro-active, strong safety message. We recognize there are inherent risks to skiing and snowboarding. Our concern is that the sports are being portrayed as more dangerous than they really are. It’s important to keep the risks of skiing and snowboarding in perspective and communicate how personal responsibility is key.
“We want our skiers and snowboarders to know and understand that we care about them and their safety. Hopefully, our effort to generate upfront awareness and education, will ultimately result in fewer offenses on the slopes. Collectively, we have to take on a “pro-active” approach and creatively educate our guests, employees and the media about safety issues,” he said.
“In recent years, the sports of skiing and snowboarding have experienced an unprecedented amount of media scrutiny, even though the number of deaths, both in absolute terms and per-million skier visits, has remained relatively low for decades. In fact, the total number of reported injuries on the slopes has been reduced by almost 50 percent since the 1970s,” said White.
“Undoubtedly, it’s public awareness of ski/snowboarding related accidents, not the injury rate, that’s on the rise,” added White.
The ski industry gives “Heads Up” on safety.
The theme of “Heads Up” has been chosen for the campaign. People generally identify “Heads Up” as a friendly safety-related reminder. Also, it’s an easy concept for ski areas to incorporate into their on-going, skier/snowboarder educational programs, signage, etc. “Heads Up”can be used as a simple safety reminder in a variety of ways, such as “Heads Up. Set the Example,” “Heads Up. You’re Responsible” or “Heads Up. Know Your Limits.” The target audiences for the campaign are guests, ski area employees and the media.
National Kids’ Poster Contest
National Kids’ Safety Poster Contest is another component of the ski industry’s national safety awareness campaign. Resorts are encouraged to host their own local contest and send winners to the national contest which is being coordinated through NSAA. The contest targets 4th, 5th and 6th graders, but any elementary age child can participate. The students will be asked to create a poster related to any one of the seven points in ‘Your Responsibility Code.’ Prizes will be awarded and the winning poster(s) will be featured in SKI magazine’s October 2000 issue. The purpose is to promote skiing safety awareness and education to elementary school children, to support classroom curriculum related to sports, health and safety, and to give kids a chance to have fun and be creative while learning about slope safety.
National Safety Awareness Week
National Safety Week, slated for Sat. Jan. 15 – Fri. Jan. 21 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Mon. Jan. 17.) will take place at participating ski areas nationwide. It’s an opportunity for the ski areas to showcase what they already do with regard to safety education and even create special activities during the week to heighten awareness for slope safety. Areas will participate at various levels and tailor events accordingly.
The National Safety Council (NSC), headquartered in Itasca, Ill., supports the Safety Initiative 2000. The NSC supports other national safety initiatives such as motor vehicle and boating safety. The NSC will help support and educate the public about the campaign, particularly the National Safety Awarenesss Week by including ski and snowboard safety information on their website, www.nsc.org beginning in November.
“We’d like to proactively remind all slope enthusiasts how we’d like everyone to have a fun, memorable and rewarding experience on the slopes this year and always,” said White.