Local police officers could be more noticeable on the lower slopes and terrain parks at Breckenridge Ski Resort this winter to enforce the Colorado Ski Safety Act. “In the past maybe it wasn’t considered as much of a priority, but there has been some trend over the last couple years where we’ve seen more aggressive behavior,” Breckenridge police chief Rick Holman said on Wednesday.
Town council on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to an ordinance for people accused of Ski Safety Act violations to be dealt with in town court. Previously, town police officers have cited people under the state law, which goes through Summit County Court. The act’s criminal violations include skiing on a closed trail or out of bounds, skiing while impaired by drugs or alcohol and failing to give one’s name and address to a ski area employee when involved in a collision with another skier or boarder. Increased visibility will be achieved with a modified uniform police officers can wear on the lifts and while skiing.
Though the town was recently in the national spotlight for decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, Holman said he doesn’t expect more people to be skiing stoned. Regarding discussions with the ski area, there have been “no conversations about expecting more people to ski under the influence,” he said.
While Summit County Sheriff’s Office covers any ski areas within the county, the town police department’s jurisdiction goes about 150 yards up Breckenridge Ski Resort’s lowest trails. It also includes the terrain park on Peak 8 as well as the gondola and other areas.