In an odd battle of dueling ski safety guides, California skiers have two resources providing safety information for the slopes.
The California Ski Industry Association has released the first Mountain Safety Guide for the 2017-2018 season. The non-profit organization represents 28 ski resorts in California and Nevada under the brand Ski California, and, much like Ski Colorado, it works to promote ski industry relations with the community. The group describes the guide as educational for guests with advice on how to ski and snowboard safely. A copy of the guide can be found here.
Michael Reitzell, president of the California Ski Industry Association, suggests that the guide provides useful safety tips on avalanche awareness, slope safety, deep snow safety, trail signage and lift safety. It also covers legal duties, such as prohibitions to ski or ride in a closed area or to leave a scene after a collision, except to find ski patrol assistance. But the centerpiece appears to be the skier responsibility code, which details the duties placed on individuals.
Safety groups such as the Snow Sport Safety Foundation believe the industry’s guide simply places all responsibility on guests. The foundation has long called for ski resorts to make public the records of accidents or deaths that occur on their grounds. Snow Sport Safety Foundation director, Dr. Daniel Gregorie, argues that the ski industry needs to do more to develop safety plans based on data from accidents and other incidents.
The Snow Sport Safety Foundation’s lead researcher, Richard Penniman, has analyzed data for several years from Sierra ski resorts to create a Family Safety Report Card, which ranks area ski resorts on an “A” through “F” grading system. The average grade for all resorts based on Penniman’s safety guidelines, is a “C”.