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(Squaw Valley, News Release -June 10, 2003) Squaw Valley USA was recently named one of eight winners of the National Ski Areas Association’s 2002-2003 National Ski Area Safety Contest. The annual awards are given to ski areas that use innovative marketing programs to promote slope safety during National Safety Awareness Week in January.
This national recognition resulted from Squaw Valley’s efforts to heighten slope safety awareness and education during National Safety Awareness Week. In conjunction with ongoing programs, Squaw Valley USA staff ‘took to the slopes’ January 18-24, 2003 to promote several educational events and activities including a backcountry awareness workshop, photo sessions with the Squaw avalanche rescue dogs, public service announcements related to slope safety on the Resort Sports Network, the distribution of Freeride Team Safety Trading Cards featuring the resort’s high profile athletes, a children’s safety poster contest, as well as daily postings of the “Skier’s Responsibility Code” on the resort’s web site and snow report to heighten awareness.
“We recognize that awareness and education are key to maintaining a safe mountain environment,” explained Michael Gross, Squaw Valley’s Safety & Risk Manager. “And we believe that these ongoing educational programs have contributed significantly to the success of our safety programs and a continued decrease in incidents on the mountain.”
As part of the safety week activities, members of the Squaw Valley Freeride Team, including high profile professional skiers and snowboarders like Jeff McKitterick, Aaron McGovern, Jeremy Jones, Jessica Sobolowski, Jen Berg, Tom Wayes and several others were on hand to promote their own personal safety messages and remind guests the importance of keeping safety top of mind. “Having notable skiers and snowboarders on hand to speak to our guests was a unique opportunity,” stated Eric Brandt, Director of Marketing for Squaw Valley USA. “It’s important for the public to know that the people they see in movies and magazines are very concerned with safety.”
Squaw Valley also produced a series of special safety public service announcements (PSAs) featuring these athletes that began airing on the Resort Sports Network TV stations around Lake Tahoe and across the nation during safety week. The PSAs aired throughout the winter season.
Another element of Squaw Valley’s Safety Week was the opportunity for guests to take photos with the Squaw Ski Patrol’s avalanche rescue dogs. The Squaw dogs, featured in a photo essay in Skiing magazine last winter, posed with guests as Ski Patrol members talked about safety on the mountain.
“Safety is Squaw Valley’s number one concern and National Safety Awareness Week offered us an excellent opportunity to educate our guests about all of the programs and precautions we regularly take,” explains Bob Cushman, Squaw Valley’s Patrol Director.
Representatives from both Boeri and Leedom Helmets were on hand during the week to educate guests about helmet safety and offer an opportunity to demo various styles.
The week also featured the annual ‘Steep N’ Deep’ Backcountry Awareness Clinic hosted by the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and the Nordic Search and Rescue. Over 150 skiers and snowboarders attended this unique opportunity to learn about avalanche safety from local athletes and experts. The annual event is designed to be an informative and fun evening of safety education.
Ongoing safety programs at Squaw Valley USA included safety education talks with local area schools, weekly avalanche beacon classes at the Squaw Valley Fire Station, Responsibility Code postings throughout the resort, an active and constantly training avalanche rescue dog program, helmet demo days and an always visible presence of Patrollers on the mountain whose primary goal is to help educate and assist guests in order to ensure everyone has a safe mountain experience.
National Safety Awareness Week was sponsorred by Boeri Ski & Snowboard Helmets, and endorsed by the National Ski Area’s Association, the National Ski Patrol, the National Safety Council, Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors.