Guarding your ski gear against theft in Summit County
December 21, 2015
A pair of Volkl Mantra skis disappeared from a Breckenridge ski concierge in November. The following day, a man returned to his car to notice his Rossignol Super Seven skis had been swiped.
With ski season in full swing, equipment thefts have been reported both on and off the slopes. Breckenridge has responded to three reported thefts in the past 30 days, with equipment being swiped from ski racks at the base, unlocked cars and even hotels and condos.
"They fill out witness statements for us, and it gets entered into online crime reporting," Summit County Sheriff John Minor said. "Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have suspects or serial numbers."
While there have just been a handful of thefts this winter, the numbers tend to ramp up as the season progresses, with an eye for the more high-end models. Last year, newer models of Volkl skis disappeared off the racks.
"If you know you have the more desirable makes and models of ski equipment, it's probably a good idea to have a lock," Kontak said.
While keeping tabs on a serial number can help track stolen skis resold at pawnshops or retail, craigslist or eBay sales remain unchecked. In one case, a man sold several stolen skis in Canada, equally difficult to trace.
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With a bit of luck, officers may sometimes catch skis or snowboards reported stolen in a traffic stop.
"If we see someone walking to their car with two snowboards and no one else around, we approach them," Kontak said.
Security might also take note if the size of the snowboard does not match the height of the owner; for example, a 6-foot man carrying a 135-centimeter board.
"We had a guy who tried to walk out of a rental store with a shopping cart full of skis without paying for them," Kontak added.
A large number ski theft reports stem from accidental ski swaps, especially when stores rent out multiple skis of the same model.
"Then, you have someone who has their skis stolen, and someone who thinks they're returning their rental skis," Minor said.
Eventually, the remaining pair is discovered and sorted out between rental stores, but can appear to be a theft as the renter is still accountable.
Breckenridge police administrative supervisor Colleen Goettelman encouraged skiers to use locks in protecting their equipment, and keep cars and ski racks locked tight. If a lock isn't available, separating a pair of skis and putting them on different racks may deter thieves.
"At the end of the day, I lock my equipment in my car," Arapahoe Basin Ski Area spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac said. "Having lock on your car or having a locker are the two tried and true ways of keeping your skis safe."
She added that the area has several large ski lockers available below the rental shop. They can be rented out for the day or for the season.
Finally, keeping record of equipment serial numbers can help identify it in case it is turned into the resort or recovered by police.
Copper Mountain security manager Bryon Colvin said the resort has installed a few new cameras in the base area to help identify thieves. The resort has not seen many reports yet this season.
"We're pretty much on par," Colvin said. "We had a couple that were misplaced but haven't had a lot of thefts."
Copper Mountain pubic relations manager Stephanie Sweeney said that once a theft is reported, security will search the area and look through security camera footage. Lost and found is also alerted, and a record of all missing items is kept by security to return it to the owner with the help of the Sheriff's Office.
Ski theft reports may be filed through the Sheriff's Office website.
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