Safety and Conduct
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
Winter Park Ski Patrol: (970) 726-1480
PATROL, FIRST AID, AND URGENT CARE ON-MOUNTAIN LOCATIONS
Winter Park Ski Patrol is located in the West Portal building at Winter Park Resort base. Denver Health's Winter Park Medical Center is located adjacent to Winter Park Ski Patrol, and is also in the West Portal building. Ski Patrol maintains on-mountain locations and you can often reach them at the top of the Explorer Express and Super Gauge Express lifts. rich-text, responsive-table
- Changing weather conditions
- Existing and changing snow conditions
- Bare spots
- Collisions with natural objects, man-made objects or other skiers or riders
- Variations in terrain
- Failure of skiers to ski to ski or ride within their abilities.
Colorado Law also includes cliffs, jumps, and extreme or freestyle terrain as dangers and risks inherent to skiing and snowboarding. Always stay aware of these risks to reduce the danger of the sport and remember, skiing and riding can be enjoyed in many ways. Regardless of how you enjoy the slopes, show courtesy to others.
Please refer to the Colorado Ski Safety Act for more information.
Snowsports offer us a great way to enjoy winter and all it has to offer. There are certain inherent risks with snowsports and our goal is to provide guests with a safe and enjoyable mountain experience. Safety starts with you: proper preparation, common sense, and personal awareness can help you reduce your risk on the slopes and ensure everyone has an exceptional winter experience.
The Skier & Rider's Responsibility Code is the foundation of ski area safety. Know the code:
Published by the National Ski Areas Association
Key Points from the Colorado Skier Safety Act
· Snowcats, snowmobiles, snowmaking, and other equipment may be encountered at any time, stay clear.
· Activities other than downhill skiing or snowboarding may be prohibited or restricted within the ski area. It is your responsibility to contact Winter Park senior management for details.
· No sledding allowed.
· Skiing or riding with a child in a front or backpack is strongly discouraged.
· Inverted aerials not recommended.
· Do not enter closed lands adjoining a ski area.
· Winter Park has zero tolerance on closed trail violations. The violator’s pass will be revoked for the season.
· Do not disembark from a chairlift except at a designated area.
Please refer to the Colorado Ski Safety Act for more information.
LOAD: Remove ski pole straps from wrist and hold them in one hand, freeing the other, and sit on the chair.
LOWER: Lower the bar promptly. The bar should remain down until indicated at the top of the lift.
LIFT: Raise the bar once indicated to do so by the signs at the top of the lift.
STAND: Once at the unload ramp, stand and unload safely.
LEAVE: Clear the ramp area quickly to alleviate congestion around the unload ramp.
- A small child (defined as a child shorter than 51" to the top of their helmet) may be assisted by the lift operator unless instructed differently by their parent or guardian.
- Children should sit on the outside next to the armrest for added security.
- Remind children to sit against the backrest.
Terrain Park Safety
Be Park SMART:
- Start small and work your way up. Build your skills.
- Make a plan for every feature, every time.
- Always look before you drop.
- Respect the features and other users.
- Take it easy and know your limits.
Learn more about Park SMART by visiting NSAA: https://nsaa.org/terrainparksafety/
Witter Park's Terrain Parks
Winter Park’s Railyard terrain parks are proof that jumps, jibs, and rails are for everyone. Our park system features an 18-foot superpipe and over 80 innovative, progressive features constantly re-configured to enhance creativity and performance. Our seven terrain parks offer fun for beginners, a challenge for experts, and everything in between.. Learn more about each of our parks and how you can build your skills on our Terrain Park Safety page.
Tree Well, Deep Snow, and Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS)
WHAT ARE TREE WELLS?
- Tree wells are hollow spaces that form around the base of trees when snow accumulates but doesn't completely fill in the area directly beneath the branches: leaving a void composed of low hanging branches, loose snow, and air. Tree wells can be incredibly deep, oftentimes deep enough to completely submerge a full grown adult male.
- These voids can be hidden from view by the tree’s low hanging branches and there is no easy way to identify if a particular tree has a dangerous tree well by sight. All tree wells should be treated as dangerous.
- Skiers and snowboarders may inadvertently fall—usually headfirst—into these wells while riding through treed areas. Even experienced skiers can be caught off-guard
- Snow immersion suffocation (SIS) occurs when a person becomes trapped in deep snow, with their head below the surface leaving them unable to breathe properly.
- Besides falling into tree wells, merely falling in deep snow can lead to this perilous condition. 30% of SIS accidents occur in areas of deep snow other than tree wells which includes steep drops, creek beds, below cliffs, etc.
- Once trapped in a tree well or deep snow, individuals often struggle to free themselves while the loose snow packs in around them, immobilizing them while breathing becomes difficult.
- Even if the head is only slightly submerged, inhaling snow can block airways, leading to suffocation within minutes. This is a life-threatening situation that can lead to suffocation within minutes.
- Panic and disorientation can exacerbate the situation, making it challenging to escape.
- Many underestimate the strength necessary to free themselves from deep snow. In 90% of cases, self-rescue is impossible and outside assistance will be required.
- Skiers and snowboarders should be aware of the risks associated with tree wells and snow immersion suffocation, especially in areas with heavy snowfall and tree-lined slopes.
- These hazards are at their highest during and after periods of intense snowfall. Powder fever can exacerbate the dangers as skiers overlook the risks while chasing untracked turns in deep snow.
- It is essential to ski with a buddy who can provide aid in case of an emergency. Do not lose sight of each other. Ski short pitches and stop to regroup often.
- If you lose sight of your partner, assume they need help and render assistance immediately.
- Carry necessary safety equipment, including an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel, to increase your chances of rescue in deep snow situations. Having a whistle somewhere accessible can be a great way to alert others to your location.
- Learn how to use this equipment effectively, routinely practice using this equipment and consider taking avalanche safety courses.
- If you must fall, attempt to fall feet first to maintain your airway.
- Avoid skiing too close to trees or dense forests, especially in unfamiliar terrain.
- Remain calm and slow down your breathing to conserve air.
- Do whatever you can to keep your head above the surface of the snow including rolling, grabbing tree branches or the tree trunk. If possible, keep your feet below the level of your head.
- If immersed, create space around your face to ensure a clear airway while waiting for assistance.
- Yell or whistle to alert others to your location.
- If possible, use your cell phone to call ski patrol or emergency services.
- Trust that help is on the way.
- Don’t leave to get help. Stay with your partner.
- Call for additional resources with your phone. Yell and whistle for assistance from others nearby.
- Evaluate the scene for your own safety. Do not put yourself in danger during the rescue.
- Begin rescue efforts immediately. Dig directly towards your partner’s airway, being careful not to knock more snow into the hole. Clear all snow from their mouth, nose and face and maintain their access to air throughout the rescue.
- Do not pull out the victim the way they fell in. Tunnel in towards the head from the side. Expand this tunnel until they can be extricated.
- If you have not skied before, we recommend you take a lesson. Trained instructors can teach you more quickly and safely than learning on your own or from a friend. The Winter Park Ski and Ride School is a good way to improve or refresh your skills as well as to become familiar with the mountain.
- Always read the loading and lift information boards. If uncertain how to load or unload a certain chairlift, ask the attendant for instructions or help. Do not lean forward; sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Arrange a meeting place and time in case someone becomes separated from skiing companions. Notify someone in your group if you decide to leave the resort.
- Be "predictable" when skiing. Do not suddenly swerve away from the direction you have been traveling.
- The sun's intensity at this elevation is far greater than at sea level. There is 50% more UV light at 10,000' than at sea level. Always wear eye and skin protection, even on cloudy days. On cold windy days protect against frostbite.
- If you drop a glove, etc., from a lift into a closed area or onto a run too difficult for your ability, note the number of the nearest lift tower and report it to the top lift attendant. The ski patrol will try to retrieve it and leave it at the bottom of the lift.
- "Go with the flow". If you are passing most skiers on the trail, you are probably skiing too fast. Observe the areas posted as "Slow" and slow down no matter your ability level. Fast or reckless skiing and riding can result in injury to you or others and perhaps the loss of your lift ticket.
- Check message boards at the bottom and top of the lifts for any messages from the ski patrol. For example: injured skier in your party or temporary lift closures.
- Snowcats, snowmobiles, snowmaking and other equipment may be encountered at any time. Stay clear.
- It is your responsibility to learn which trails are open. Do not enter closed trails by going through the trees.
- Any activity other than downhill skiing or snowboarding may be prohibited or restricted within the ski area. It is your responsibility to contact Winter Park senior management for details.
- Fencing, poles, padding, and other markings are intended to alert you to certain hazards, not to protect you from injury. Not all obstacles are marked.
- Smoking of any kind is prohibited while in lift lines, while riding lifts, in buildings, or while on ski-able resort terrain. Per Colorado Law, smoking is prohibited in public buildings and in public areas.
- Winter Park discourages the use of music players and cell phone earpieces while loading and unloading lifts or while skiing and snowboarding.
- Watch for falling limbs and trees.
- Avalanche warning: While rare within the resort, avalanches may occur both inside and outside the posted ski area boundary at any time WITHOUT WARNING. Educate yourself how to reduce the risks through your own actions and awareness. Visit www.avalanche.org to contact the Winter Park Ski Patrol for information or location of beacon practice areas.
- Backcountry warning: The ski resort assumes no responsibility for skiers or riders going beyond the ski area boundary. Areas beyond the boundary are not patrolled or maintained. Avalanches, unmarked obstacles and other natural hazards exist. Rescue in the backcountry, if available, will be costly and may be slow.
- Share the slopes. Enjoy a lifetime of skiing!
For all community guidelines, visit our Health and Safety page.
Approved Sliding Devices
Trees can blow over during wind events, so watch for trees or branches that may have fallen on mountain bike trails. Biking on trails while they are under construction is strictly prohibited.
Expect jumps and features on most trails and inspect features before use. Do not stop where you are not visible from above to others or while you obstruct a trail. Wooden features become slippery when wet andcan change due to use, weather, or maintenance. Remember, you control the degree of risk when using the jumps and features. Ride-arounds may be available.
You must ride in control and within your own ability. Yield to riders going at different speeds and announce yourself when approaching them. You are using these premises at your own risk, and assume all risks in this activity.
You must wear a helmet while riding at Winter Park Resort. Trestle Bike Park is designed for downhill biking and should be enjoyed with appropriate equipment and protective gear. Bike Park trails are designed for freeride/downhill full suspension bikes.
Lower your seat and stand on your pedals for safety. Using jumps, features, and performing airborne maneuvers can cause equipment failure and significantly increases the risk of serious injury.
Read and obey all signs. Riding downhill on mountain roads is prohibited unless otherwise posted. Equipment allowed on mountain bike trails is limited to mountain bikes, adaptive equipment, and fat bikes unless approved by senior management. Please note that fat bikes are only permitted on the Gondola and tires 3" or larger will not fit on the Olympia or Explorer lifts.
Lightning and Thunderstorms
Due to existing fire dangers, smoking is strictly prohibited on the mountain. Per Colorado State Law, smoking is prohibited in public buildings and in public areas. We extend this policy to the chairlifts.
High Altitude Tips
Winter Park base sits at 9,000 feet above sea level. The air is thinner and less oxygen is available the higher the altitude. People from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness. This usually occurs within the first 48 hours. You may experience headaches, nausea, insomnia, and loss of appetite.
The best remedy for this is to take it easy your first day here: increase fluid intake, decrease salt, alcohol and caffeine intake, and consume high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods. High elevation can exacerbate existing health problems, such as respiratory or vascular illnesses. If you have this type of illness, consult your physician before your trip and seek medical assistance if problems persist or get worse.
We prohibit the operation of unmanned aerial systems or drones by commercial and recreational users without written authorization from Winter Park Resort.