It's early season at the resort, a time when everyone is involved with some aspect of training and/or learning. The patrol just started our rookie training seminar for the season. Hutch, Casey and myself will spend the next 2 weeks running all over the mountain with little "packs of rookies." We have one of the more extensive patrol training programs in the Wasatch if not the industry and we're quite proud of it. On occasion we've even been called a "patrol school." From a trainer standpoint, one of the best ways to learn is to teach. My skills and knowledge as a patroller have greatly benefited in my 4 years as the training coordinator.
It's also the time of year to "train" our skiing public. Over the off-season it seems folks either forget about our closure policies or perhaps they're just too excited about the new season to notice or care. Despite what may be some counter-culture popular belief that we close things to "save the skiing for ourselves," we actually close things to keep you all safe. Especially early season, a given run may be closed due to natural hazards (stumps, rocks, ditches), exposed snowmaking hydrants and hoses, grooming operations, and/or avalanche hazard. The main point is, you (the skiing/riding guest) don't know why something is closed and by entering the area may be exposing yourself to any number of potentially life or limb threatening hazards. Many may not know we have the backing of the Summit County Sheriff when it comes to enforcing our closures. Summit County Ordinance 91 states that violating a closure put in place by the patrol is actually against the law and a prosecutable offence.
I like the simplicity of this sign I saw at Telluride earlier this fall; it may seem harsh, but it states the truth. Closures really are that simple; if it's closed it's closed. Please respect our closures and stay safe. There's plenty of the Mountain open and more opening every day. Besides, so early in the season it would be a shame to, as the sign says, "lose your pass or lose your life."
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.