Mountain Safety

Welcome to our Safety Section.
Big White has a commitment to safety for everyone using the resort. The responsibility codes are the basic rules of conduct and must be followed by all using the terrain. The information below is here to keep you and your loved ones safe while enjoying the slopes, please ski & ride with care and above all, Have Fun!

Alpine Responsibility Code

There are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decided to use the slopes, always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe outdoor experience.

  1. Always stay in control. You must be able to stop, or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right-of-way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. If you are involved in or witness a collision or accident, you must remain at the scene and identify yourself to the Ski Patrol.
  6. Always use proper devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  7. Observe and obey all posted signs and warnings.
  8. Keep off closed trails and closed areas.
  9. You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through use of alcohol or drugs.
  10. You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to safely load, ride and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant.

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KNOW THE CODE – BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

 

Cross Country Responsibility Code

There are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decided to use the trails, always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe outdoor experience.

  1. Always check posted trail conditions.
  2. Ski in indicated direction and obey all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails.
  3. Always ski to the right when meeting oncoming skiers and when skiing on a double track.
  4. Yield the track to faster skiers and skiers calling ‘track’.
  5. Stay in control. On two-way trails descending skiers have the right-of-way.
  6. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible to others. Move off the track quickly if you fall or during rest stops.
  7. Do not litter. Take out what you pack in. Respect all property.
  8. Report all incidents.

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KNOW THE CODE – BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

Big White Ski Resort has commitment to safety for everyone using the resort. The responsibility codes are the basic rules of conduct and here are some tips to keep you comfortable and safe on the slopes.

Personal Well Being

  • Helmet-Safety-210x120.jpgWear a Helmet
    • Big White Ski Resort recommends that all skiers and riders wear helmets. We recommend that everyone educates themselves in the uses, advantages and limitations of helmets.
    • www.csps.ca
    • Click here for more information
  • Protect Your Skin
    • UV rays are reflected from the snow surface. Make sure to put sunscreen on exposed skin. Wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Dress Appropriately
    • Dress in layers so you can remove or add layers depending on your body temperature. The base layer should wick moisture away from your body. Synthetic fabrics that are specifically designed and merino wool make great base layers. Avoid cotton as it won’t keep you warm when wet. Middle layer – think insulation! Down vests, wool sweaters, fleece pullovers are all great options. Top layer should be wind and water resistant and breathable.
  • Footwear
    • Ski boots can be difficult to walk in and do not offer good traction. Use extra caution when walking around base areas.
  • Stay hydrated; drink plenty of fluids (water, juice)
  • Eat snacks & good meals
  • Meeting points
    • When skiing in a group, either with friends or family, make sure you have a designated meeting place. The meeting place should be a spot that everyone can easily find and access. If you become separated head to your designated meeting place.
  • Ski with a friend, if you ski or ride with a buddy, it's much safer and usually more fun!
  • Carry a whistle. A whistle blast can carry further than the human voice if you get into trouble in the trees.

Mountain Safety

Rotating Slow Zones

Safety and education is always foremost at Big White Ski Resort and with that in mind we implemented the rotating “Family/Seniors Skiing and Snowboarding Zones”. Thousands of people have had the opportunity the ski and ride down our slow zones in comfort knowing those runs are designated for beginner skiers.

Three runs are selected each day and these runs will have signage, gated entry and the addition of extra slope watch and patrol to ensure that speed and slow skiing and riding are monitored. The theme of these selected runs is slow with extreme caution. This allows our more senior guests as well as families with small children to explore more than just the green runs on the mountain and be at a pace that is slower.

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In consideration of all visitors enjoying the mountain, all GREEN runs at Big White Ski Resort are considered SLOW ZONES.  The appropriate speed on these runs is the general flow of traffic.  Skiers  and Snowboarders who wish to overtake another skier/snowboarder may do so only if space permits,  in a safe and controlled manner avoiding excessive speed.

 

Please Note: Skiers and Snowboarders caught skiing or riding in a uncontrolled and unsafe manner, with excessive speed will result in the loss of their Day Lift Ticket or the suspension of their Season Pass.

 

Patrol

The Patrol at Big White Ski Resort is made up of Paid Patrollers, Canadian Ski Patrol System (CSPS), volunteer patrollers, and the Slope Watch team. During day skiing hours you can find patrollers at the top of the Alpine T-bar, Gem Lake Express and in the main Patrol Hut near the bottom of the Ridge Rocket Express. During night skiing, patrollers are located at the top of the Bullet Express. Big White Ski Resort is a 911 community.

Tree Wells

www.treewelldeepsnowsafety.com
A tree well is a hole or depression that forms around the base of a coniferous tree. The holes are formed when the low coniferous branches stop the snow from compacting and settling around the trunk. The hole is hidden from view from the other branches on the tree.

Tree Well Rescue

Point of clarification - This is real world stuff, raw and flawed. Everyone in this video is a recreational skier, an amateur in back country rescue. Even with a successful outcome, this rescue has mistakes and is not a representation of proper technique. The intent of this video is to demonstrate and educate people on the dangers of tree wells. NOT a demonstration on HOW to rescue someone from a tree well.

Snowmobiles

Be aware that snowmobiles are part of our daily operation. Snowmobiles use designated routes. If you encounter a snowmobile slow down and give the snowmobile lots of space.

Snow Conditions & Visibility

Big White Ski Resort is located in a high alpine mountain environment. The weather conditions can change quickly. Check weather forecasts and watch the environment around you. Visibility can be compromised by variable cloud. Marker poles have been placed in above treeline locations to assist in getting down the runs. Yellow or amber lenses in goggles can help add definition to snow covered terrain.

Skier/Rider Safety

All skiers and riders must always be in control on the mountain. Green runs are beginner areas. All skiers and riders should slow down on green runs to provide a safe learning environment for beginners.

Injured Guests

If a member of your party is injured or you come across an injured guest mark the site using the injured persons skis or snowboard. Put skis up in an X or lay the snowboard perpendicular to the run. Make a note of where the injured guest is, what the suspected injury is, gender and approximate age of the guest, take this information to the nearest resort employee.

Misplaced Guests

If a member of your party becomes lost, contact any resort employee to help you. You will need the following information about the person for Patrol:  name, gender, age, what they are wearing and where they were last seen. If you know their cell number or if they have a season pass is also very helpful. Remember to go to the designated meeting place and wait for them there.

Early Season/Marginal Conditions

Natural and man-made hazards will be encountered. This designates very difficult conditions.

Navagation & Boundaries

Canadian Avalanche Center & Area Boundaries

  • Canadian Avalanche Center
    • The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is a non-government, not for profit organization dedicated to public avalanche safety. The CAC came into existence in 2004 with the support and collaboration of federal, provincial and private sector agencies involved in avalanche safety.
    • For the current avalanche bulletin for outside our area boundary please check: www.avalanche.ca/cac/. Big White Ski Resort is located in the South Columbia Region.
  • Area Boundary, Out of Bounds – Our area perimeter boundary is clearly marked. 
    • The area beyond this boundary is hazardous backcountry terrain. The area is uncontrolled, unmarked, not inspected, not patrolled and involves many risks, dangers and hazards including avalanche. Be prepared for avalanche danger, weather changes and terrain hazards. Persons proceeding beyond this point should be trained and properly equipped for self-rescue. Any person requiring evacuation or rescue beyond this boundary will be required to pay all costs. Our boundary perimeter is clearly marked with ropelines and signs in the alpine and placards on the trees on the lower mountain.
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  • In Bounds Avalanche Terrain – Within our area boundary we have avalanche terrain.
    • This terrain has a permanent ropeline and avalanche flip signage. Our avalanche terrain must be accessed through open gates only. This terrain may open or close at any time due to conditions. Anyone caught in closed avalanche terrain will have their passes revoked for an indeterminate amount of time.
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Navigating the Mountain

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The designation of run difficulty is set by each area individually. There are some broad guidelines to assist area operators in designating the difficulty of the runs. The first time to a resort start with the green designations and get a feel for how the difficulties are rated.


The run signage is set up in a way for easy navigation of the mountain.

  1. The top run on the sign is the run you are on.
  2. The subsequent signs are the other runs that you will encounter on the main run, in order
  3. The bottom of the sign will show the easiest way to the bottom of the lift or to the nearest base area.

Green Circle – The easiest runs on the mountain. Green runs are groomed, generally wide and have gentle slopes. On green runs when there is a steeper pitch, the pitch is wide to allow for big turns. Great green runs at Big White are; Millies Mile, Sundance and Squirrel.

Blue Square – This category has the greatest variation in runs, these runs are more difficult. Blue runs can be groomed or ungroomed. Easier blue runs at Big White can be found on the Black Forest Express, harder blue runs can be found on the Ridge Rocket Express, Powder Chair and Gem Lake Express.

Black Diamond – These runs are the most difficult, generally ungroomed, steeper and narrower. Before attempting black runs, people should be comfortable with ungroomed blue runs.

Double Black Diamond – These runs are the most difficult expert terrain on the mountain. This terrain is steep, has narrow chutes and is in avalanche terrain. This terrain can only be accessed through open gates.

Red – Shows the easiest way to the bottoms of lifts and base areas.

Lift Safety

  • You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to safely load, ride and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant
  • You must not use lifts or terrain if you are impaired through use of alcohol or drugs
  • Remove pole straps from wrists, hold poles with tips forward
  • Secure loose items – make sure you don’t have anything that can catch on the carrier (zippers, strings, hair)

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 Look

  • Read lift signage
  • Make sure loose items are secure
  • Fold down highback bindings
  • Remove backpacks

Load

  • Ask for help from the lift attendant if unsure
  • Wait for load gates or follow chair through station, stop at load here marker

Lower

  • Lower the restraining bar
  • Single riders sit in the middle of the chair
  • Do not swing or bounce chair while riding
  • Do not jump from chair

Lift

  • Lift restraining bar prior to entering the station, make sure everyone is sitting back in the chair
  • Prepare to unload
  • Keep ski and snowboard tips up

Stand

  • Stand at the Unload Here sign

Leave

  • Move away from the unload area
  • Ask lift attendant for help retrieving dropped items

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Look

  • Read lift signage
  • Secure loose items
  • Ask for help from the lift attendant if unsure

Wait

  • Wait for your turn

Load

  • Move forward onto conveyor
  • Leave sufficient space between you and the person in front of you

Stand

  • Remain standing at all times

Unload

  • Prepare to unload

Leave

  • Move away from unload area

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Look

  • Read lift signage
  • Secure loose items
  • Ask for help from the lift attendant if unsure
  • Remove ski poles, hold in outside hand, tips pointed forward

Load

  • Look over inside shoulder

Stand

  • Remain standing

Ride

  • Stay in track
  • If you fall, clear track quickly

Unload

  • Prepare to unload
  • One rider takes T
  • Slowly release T

Leave

  • Clear unload area