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Ski Resorts Celebrate National Safety Awareness Week While Keeping Patrons in the Dark About Safety Plans
Date:1/16/2009

Ski Resorts Emphasize Personal Responsibility Rather Than Their Own

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- With this Saturday marking the start of National Safety Awareness Week (Jan. 17 - Jan. 23) by the U.S. ski industry, skiers and snowboarders may notice more safety monitors than usual on California ski slopes. These "safety-conscious" employees will be noticeably present this busy Martin Luther King holiday weekend to remind visitors to watch their speed and refrain from recklessness. The ski industry uses this week to showcase the priority it places on maintaining an injury-free, snow-sport environment; however, the irony is that the onus for ski safety rests entirely on resort guests. The California ski industry acknowledges no legal responsibility or accountability for patron safety and has established no consistent industry-wide standards and best practices for signage, hazard and traffic management.

"Under their lease agreements, ski resorts operating on federal lands, which constitute the majority of ski resorts in California, are required by the U.S. Forest Service to have an annual and updated ski safety plan in place," said Dan Gregorie, M.D., president and founder of the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization (CSSSO), which advocates for standardized safety measures. Dr. Gregorie cautions, "While the Forest Service has contractual authority to enforce safety improvements on land leased by ski resorts, the agency takes a hands-off approach to regulating ski safety, leaving the resorts to vary widely in their plans, policies and procedures as well as documented compliance with them."

According to CSSSO, resorts are not mandated to produce standardized safety plans or required to make their plans readily available for public view. To gain access to a safety plan from a resort on federal land, an individual must request it through the Freedom of Information Act, which is
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SOURCE California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization
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