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Winter enthusiasts enjoying Pure Michigan on the slopes this ski and snowboard season are reminded to make safety their top priority.
LARA urges skiers and snowboarders at every ability level to heed a few safety tips to minimize their potential for risk or injury while on the slopes. LARA oversees the state’s ski safety program which includes oversight of 53 ski areas which encompasses 34 surface lifts,137 chair lifts, and 125 rope tows.
“When heading out to experience the powder on the bunny hill or the mountain, keep safety in mind at every turn,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “We adopt safety standards to help ensure that all those who hit Michigan slopes each year have a great time and avoid injury.”
Wearing a certified helmet is one of the most important things any skier or snowboarder can do. Also, use extreme caution while getting on or off chairlifts as mishaps around chairlifts account for a majority of ski lift-related injuries. Know how to load, ride and unload safely. If you’re unfamiliar, ask a lift attendant or operator for help.
People should know their abilities and their limits while on the slopes. Don’t ski or snowboard trails that are above your skill level – and don’t go off-trail. Ski or snowboard with a friend for greater safety. Obey the rules, stay in control and be constantly aware of other skiers and snowboarders around you. Keep tabs on changing snow conditions. Use common sense – if you’re tired, stop skiing.
Additional tips for safety on the slopes include:
Rent or buy proper equipment and have ski or snowboard bindings adjusted correctly.
Dress in layers; wear gloves or mittens and wear sunglasses or goggles for eye protection.
Warm up properly. Take lessons if needed. Stay in control. Be able to stop to avoid other people or objects.
Be courteous. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them. Stop in a safe place for you and others. Don’t stop where you will obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield to others. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
Observe all signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
Michigan’s ski lifts are inspected and permitted for operation by LARA to ensure compliance with national standards and the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act of 1962, the first in the nation.
LARA staff issues permits to operate, and help ensure safe operation by inspecting ski areas and ski lifts annually, both before and during operation. Michigan law requires that mechanical failures and accidents involving ski lifts be reported.