British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

December 19, 2011 09:00 ET

BC Safety Authority: Powder Patrol Goes High Tech

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2011) - Catching 50 feet of air on an alpine run is sweet, falling 50 feet from a chairlift isn't. The lifts opened early this year and with big snowfall expectations, this could be a long and exciting season for skiers and boarders. Last year, 17 people slipped out of chairlifts due to rider error - all the more reason to avoid injury (and embarrassment) by riding chairlifts safely.

The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is hosting three upcoming on-mountain events throughout the province with music, gear give-aways and games to remind snow lovers to ride chairlifts correctly:

  • Mount Washington (Dec 17th)
  • Cypress Mountain (Jan 21st), and
  • Sun Peaks (Jan 21st).

Every year, accidents and injuries can easily be avoided if skiers and riders follow lift safety rules and pay attention to signage. BCSA Passenger Ropeways Safety Manager, Jason Gill, says, "Passenger behavior is by far the major source of lift-related injury in our province with 50% of incidents resulting from inappropriate or unruly passenger activity. Many of the resulting injuries are serious, and all of them are preventable."

The BC Safety Authority has produced a free online game called, "Powder Patrol" available at www.safetyauthority.ca/i-ride-safe. The game is for kids and youth (under 19 years). Those who complete the game are entered in the Powder Patrol contest for a chance to win big prizes like lift passes, ski helmets and gift certificates to ski/snowboarding retailers.

According to Gill, "Have respect for the height of the chairlift and power of the machine you are riding. Rules about riding chairlifts exist to keep people safe - a broken arm or leg equals the end of your season and that's no fun at all."

The Safety Authority's suggestions to keep your ski lift experience safe include:

  • Reading safety and instructional signs and following the directions they provide before riding any chairlift.
  • Not bouncing, turning around, reaching out or trying to make equipment adjustments while riding chairlifts.
  • Keeping your restraining bar down until instructed to lift it by safety signage or lift operators.

"Follow the instructions of lift attendants, keep your equipment secure and sit back against the backrest with the restraining device lowered," says Gill.

The British Columbia Safety Authority keeps people safe by mandating the safe installation and use of technical equipment. As the province's delegated authority, BCSA administers safety standards and enforces compliance. It also issues permits and licences, educates, and conducts onsite inspections in high-risk situations.

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