Red Lodge Mountain’s “Slide Safe, Dress Smart” initiative has won the National Ski Areas Association’s (NSAA) Best Helmet Safety Program award for 2014. Red Lodge Mountain (RLM) is located on 1,600 acres of Custer National Forestland, operating five lifts with an average of 250 inches of snowfall.

RLM’s program was developed by ski patrol director Anne Rickbeil in cooperation with Chris Benton, a registered nurse and trauma coordinator at Beartooth Billings Clinic. Targeting local K-12 students who plan to ski at Red Lodge through the area’s school program, the initiative has been a success.

The focus of “Slide Safe, Dress Smart” is proper dress and nutrition, on-hill safety, including chairlift use, skiing/riding within area boundaries, speed control and on-hill courtesy. The program also emphasizes the importance of taking part in lessons to learn and improve the skills to maintain speed control and to never ski alone.

The program featured the Beartooth Billings Clinic “Lids Save Lives” initiative to educate parents and children on the value of helmet use and proper fitting, along with an offer for a helmet at a reduced price. In addition, the clinic and resort distributed information on how to recognize a concussion and what to do if one is suspected.

Since the program began in 2012, RLM has shared it with seven school systems in rural Montana, having reached out to more than 2,000 grade school students and 150 adults.

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