Last Spring TransWorld SNOWboarding Business printed an article (see March 1995) about leash laws being lifted at two California mountains, Squaw Valley and Snow Summit. Shortly after the article was published, Squaw Valley informed the magazine that the action was short-lived and rescinded before the story was even printed.
According to a letter sent to SNOWboarding Business from Squaw Valley Ski Corporation, as of January 14, 1995 Squaw had resurrected its leash law. “The policy was reinstated after several snowboards were let loose,” writes Marketing Manager Janna L. Garza. She explains that while the resort realizes leashes will not prevent all of the runaways, “it was the sudden increase in runaway snowboard incidents when the no-leash-required policy was established” that prompted the change in the rules.
In the past, according to Assistant Patrol Director Curtis Cooks, it wasn’t an issue of a no-leash-required policy, they simply didn’t have a law one way or the other. After an increase in runaways, the resort made a group decision to enforce leashes.
“I don’t know if a leash law will help runaways much. The biggest problem is when the bindings rip out, and the board gets away, or when people take off their board to hike,” he says. “But it’s not really a major problem here either.”
Regardless, both Cooks and Garza agree that the current rule is simply the NSAA responsibility code, which states that mountain users must “always use a device to help prevent runaway equipment.”
“A board, being much heavier than a ski, can do damage,” says Cooks. “It’s really no different than in the past. This year we just decided to make it a rule.”