New class sets skiers straight
EAGLE COUNTY – Skiers who break the rules on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains must now take a class before they can get their ski pass back.
In the past, skiers had their passes suspended for anywhere from a day to two weeks when they received a violation.
That still happens, but starting at the beginning of this ski season, Vail Resorts added another step to getting the pass back: Taking an hour-long safety class. The class includes a 35-minute video and a quiz, Beaver Creek Yellow Jacket Supervisor C.J. Rusin said. He played the video at ski patrol headquarters Tuesday as part of Safety Week.
The class is necessary for anyone who gets in trouble for being unsafe.
“It’s for any safety violation on the mountain,” he said. “Skiing fast in a slow zone, jumping in a slow zone, cutting a rope, reckless behavior.”
Rusin said about 15 to 20 people have taken the class so far this ski season. When a skier or snowboarder gets a violation from safety patrol, they receive a card with phone numbers they can call to schedule the class, he said. Beaver Creek usually offers the class on Sundays or Wednesdays, while Vail holds the classes on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Rusin said the program has been successful in Summit County in the past. So far, he said it has been working out well locally.
The idea of classes for skiing violators appeals to Courtney Cunningham from Atlanta.
“I think that’s a good idea, especially (for violators) in the slow zones,” she said.
“Especially for those maniacs who go ‘whew’ right in front of you,” her daughter, 10-year-old Maya Cunningham, added.
Amy Maguire, also from Atlanta, agreed skiing can be nerve-racking with young children.
“We were out there today and I was just terrified left and right they were going to get run over,” she said.
She questions whether a class will really discourage skiers from breaking the rules.
“I guess I’m not sure how effective that would be with the class of people who are getting in trouble for skiing fast,” she said.
Eighteen-year-old snowboarder Roberto Esqueta from Edwards shared a different perspective on the class.
“It’s B.S.,” he said. “They could just give you a warning and tell you not to do it again. Next time you could take a class. First offense, I don’t think it’s right. It’s just a waste of time for people.”
He said ski passes are expensive and people who buy them shouldn’t have to take a class if they break the rules.
“Some people have to work and don’t have time to take classes,” he said.
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