Vail, CO, Jan. 19, 2000--Skier safety is coming to a television nearyou. Dateline NBC was in Vail over the weekend documenting the activities ofVail's Yellow Jackets safety team for a news segment that will air laterthis year.
"They spent Saturday and Sunday filming Yellow Jackets while following themaround the mountain to see what their daily routine was," said KristinYantis, spokeswomen for Vail Mountain.
Dateline NBC corespondent Chris Hanson put microphones on Yellow Jacketsmembers Julie Rust and Bobby Cox to get the inside story on skier safety andtheir educational process with Your Responsibility Code. The Yellow Jacketshave created quite a safety stir in the ski industry and a lot of mediaattention this year after a number of high-profile skier-related deaths overthe past few years at resorts across the country.
The Yellow Jackets were created to make skiing and snowboarding safer andmore enjoyable for everyone. Meanwhile, Your Responsibility Code was adoptedby the National Ski Areas Association, which represents 330 ski areas in 39states, this year to curb reckless and dangerous skiing. It is hoped thatthe increased awareness will also reduce the number of skier deathsnationwide. In Colorado, 12 skiers died last on its slopes last season andalready three have been killed this year.
Dateline NBC began filming Saturday morning when the Vail Ski Patrol heldtheir early-morning meeting. The daily Yellow Jackets and MountainInformation meeting was also caught on tape before the Dateline crew hit theslopes to get a first-hand look of the safety education and precautionstaken at Vail Resorts' four ski areas.
"No matter how the story turns out, if we can be a positive example of whatski resorts can do proactively for skier safety, then it's great to berecognized in this area," Yantis said.
Meanwhile, National Safety Awareness Week continues throughout the week inVail and Beaver Creek, and ski resorts across the country. In both Vail andBeaver Creek, big fluorescent green Heads Up stickers near the top of somelifts have appeared as part of the safety campaign.
"It's going really well," Rust said of National Safety Awareness Week."Bobby Cox has put in countless hours and an incredible amount of energy,and he and all the Yellow Jackets have done a really good job with it."They are getting some attention, and people really seem to like it," Rustadded.
A number of events are scheduled for National Safety Awareness Week,including binding and snowboard safety strap checks and other activitiesgeared toward promoting safety on the mountain.
"We place a great emphasis on safety and are constantly fine-tuning ourprograms and efforts on the mountain. We're not trying to take the fun outof skiing and snowboarding - we're simply trying to match ability levelswith type of terrain so that everyone has a great time out here," said MikeGibbs, safety foreman at Beaver Creek.