LUDLOW, Vt. — Starting Jan. 19 and running through National Safety Awareness Week, anyone who purchases a new ski or snowboard helmet at Okemo's Snowsports Shop will receive a coupon for 50 percent off a full-day lift ticket, or 50 percent off a full-day equipment rental or high-performance demo, or 50 percent off a group lesson or specialty clinic.
Okemo's "Helmet Head contest will start on Jan. 19. Okemo staff members will be out on the mountain taking pictures of candidates with the best helmet head — that cool, disheveled look of matted hair that happens when a skier or snowboarder removes his helmet after a great day on the slopes. A panel of judges will select the top-ten best helmet heads and post those photos at okemo.com for one week of voting by website visitors. The participant who receives the most votes at the end of the week will be awarded two complimentary lift tickets from Okemo.
Jan. 20 will be PHAT (Protect Your Head at All Times/Protect Your Head on All Terrain) Day at Okemo. The Vermont Snow Sports Research Team, a partnership of Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont College of Medicine, will be on location to help educate skiers and riders about helmet use. Over the past five years, this team has been focused on developing a program to prevent serious head injuries by increasing voluntary ski helmet use among both children and adults. The team of physicians and health care providers is headed by Robert Williams, M.D., pediatric anesthesiologist, and critical care specialist at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen. In addition to education, the team's project includes observations of skiers and riders to determine baseline data about helmet use. Their work has been presented at medical conferences, accepted for publication in medical journals and has been extensively covered by news media nationwide. The program's presence at a resort includes posters, distribution of brochures an exhibit, stickers and prizes. The program is non-coercive and is designed to promote both helmet use and skiing and boarding as a healthy lifestyle. Visit skihelmetsafety.org for more information.
New this year, as a way to promote safety and to familiarize skiers and riders with the Skier Responsibility Code, Okemo will be running a Safety Scavenger Hunt on Sun., Jan. 20. Elements of the "Code and "Smart Style will be strategically placed along trails all over the mountain. Participants who visit the most messages will be entered to win a prize from Okemos' prize vault.
Okemo will also be conducting a Safety Awareness Poster Contest for elementary-school aged children. Posters must be based on one or more of the seven elements of the "Skier Responsibility Code. Or the three elements of "Smart Style. In addition to prizes, all winning entries will be posted at the resort and online at okemo.com, and they will be submitted to the National Ski Areas Association's national contest.
The National Ski Areas Association, along with the National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, and Willis and AIG insurance companies, has created the National Safety Awareness Week and the Safety Initiative campaign to assist ski area operators nationwide address the topic of slope safety education for guests. The primary goal is to attempt to further reduce the frequency of accidents, and to unify the industry to focus on and communicate a proactive, strong safety message.
For more information on National Safety Awareness Week, visit nsaa.org or <lidsonkids.org . To learn more about Okemo Mountain Resort and its commitment to safety, please visit okemo.com or call 1-800-78-OKEMO (786-5366).