In an effort to increase skier safety awareness at North American resorts, the National Ski Areas Association, a trade association for ski area owners and operators, has created the Safety Initiative 2000 campaign. This campaign was developed in collaboration with the National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, and the Willis and AIG insurance companies.
“The objective of this 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,” said NSAA Director of Education Tim White. “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,” he added.
This initiative follows a string of high-profile accidents in skiing, including the death of Congressman Sonny Bono at California’s Heavenly Ski Resort and the death of Michael Kennedy, son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, at Colorado’s Aspen. Both accidents occurred during the 1997/98 winter season and resulted in public debate about the safety of winter sports.
“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, concluding that public awareness of ski/snowboarding related accidents, and not the injury rate, has been rising.
The Safety Initiative 2000 campaign, geared towards guests, ski area employees, and the media, is intended to educate skiers and snowboarders with the theme “Heads Up.” Several events will increase awareness, including a National Kids’ Poster Contest and the National Safety Awareness Week, to be held January 15-21, 2000.
For more information on the Safety Initiative 2000 campaign, see the links provided below.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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