Tim Jones: Jan. 19-27 is National Safety Week


Did you ski this past weekend? If you did, at some point in your day you probably found yourself picking your way down a slope through thick fog. The clouds were hanging tough and low over much of the Northeast.

We've seen a lot of that this season, more than anyone really expected -- or wanted. Most of us would much prefer to have our vision limited by lots of falling snow, not fog, when we ski.

Skiing in fog can be fun sometimes. Almost mystical. You float along silently in a world of white on white with the ghostly shapes of trees and lift towers and other skiers materializing and de-materializing around you.

But you have to take it slow because you can't really see where you are going all that well.

And you keep your fingers crossed that the other folks on the slopes with you are taking it slow, too.

Skiing is a sport of controlled risks and one of the risks you can't control on the slopes is the behavior of others.

Given all this, it seems appropriate that Jan. 19-27, is National Safety Week (www.nsaa.org/safe ty-programs/national-safety-week) sponsored by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). Especially right after a foggy weekend, this is a good chance for all of us to remind each other that skiing safely is everyone's responsibility.

The NSAA has developed and actively promotes the idea of individual responsibility on the slopes with its Your Responsibility Code (check out www.nsaa.org/safety-programs/responsiblity-code for a five-minute video that would be great for parents to share with children -- and children to share with parents).





n Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

n People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

n Don't stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.

n Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

n Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

n Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

n Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

Chances are you've seen the signs outlining this seven-point behavior code as you bought your lift ticket, waited in a lift line or rode up a chairlift.

It's been around so long, it's become part of the wallpaper at ski resorts -- but it shouldn't be.

There's a lot of season ahead (and more cold and snow in the forecast as I write this) and plenty of chances to get out on the slopes and have a wonderful day (or night).

Just keep your wits about you when you slide.

There's snow on the slopes. What are you waiting for?



Killington Resort (800-621-6867; www.killington.com) in Killington, Vermont really deserves some props for its full-on participation in the effort to get helmets on everyone.

If you buy a new helmet in any Killington Sports location from Jan. 19-27, you receive a voucher for a one-day lift ticket valid any day of the 2013 winter season starting Jan. 28.

Whether you look at it as getting a cheap helmet or a free lift ticket, it's a great deal. Tim Jones writes about outdoor sports and travel. He can be reached at timjones@easternslopes.com.


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