NSAA Targets Skier Safety

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The National Ski Areas Association has put together the Safety Initiative 2000 to target skier safety at resorts.Lakewood, CO Jan. 5--This season, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has launched a safety campaign called Safety Initiative 2000. This program was set up to spread the word about skier safety and the Skier's Responsibility Code.

In accordance with the National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, and Willis and AIG insurance companies, Safety Initiative 2000 will help ski areas nationwide address slope safety education to their guests. The theme of "Heads Up" has been chosen for the program.

"The objective of the 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. "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."

Through a series of programs, the NSAA and other groups hope to heighten public awareness on the slopes. One such program is the National Kids' Poster Contest where resorts are encouraged to hold contests of their own and send winners to the national contest coordinated by the NSAA. The contest is opened to elementary school children, but mostly targets kids in grades four through six.

The students must make a safety poster dealing with one of the seven points in "Your Skier Responsibility Code." Prizes will be given to the outstanding participants and the winning poster(s) will be featured in SKI Magazine's October 2000 issue.

Another program to promote skier safety is National Safety Awareness Week, set for Jan. 15-21. Participating ski areas nationwide will showcase their methods for safety education and create activities to spread the word on safety.

"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," White continued. "Undoubtedly, it's public awareness of ski-related accidents, not the injury rate, that's on the rise."