More and more ski resorts in Canada are planning to make their slopes more family friendly by removing all of their man-made snow jumps. This is good news to some, especially if your fellow skiers are bunny hill material, but think they are James Bond.
The Canadian resorts after more families for skiing holidays stretch from Quebec to British Columbia. They include Lake Louise, Fernie, Kimberley, Nakiska, Mont-Sainte-Anne, and Stoneham. The resorts want to put safety first and they believe that other major resorts will soon follow suit.
Matt Mosteller, Senior Director of Business Development for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies states, 'We are undertaking an industry-lead initiative. We have found that one of the main issues that increase the likelihood of serious injury on our mountains is big air. When we are making decisions about safety at our resorts, the big jumps in the terrain parks always come into the equation. We decided to make a change.'
Amateurs might be saved some serious injuries, but what about thrill seekers that actually know what they are getting into when they try to get big air?
Mosteller addresses this concern, stating, 'We are committed to providing our guests with a safe experience at our mountains. We realize that this change may disappoint some guests who regularly use these man-made jump features. However, we believe we have a strong moral obligation not to compromise the safety of our guests.'
There will, of course, still be other resorts that cater to the more talented and adventurous.
But for people that think the idea of leaving the ground while on skis sounds like a worst-case scenario, this change of policy means the resorts will have more money to invest on other perks the average skier is more likely to appreciate.
For instance, the same announcement mentioned that new rails and features for existing terrain parks are planned in Lake Louise, Fernie and Nakiska. The parks are also implementing new "family-friendly" terrain parks.
These new parks feature small rails, boxes and rollers that help children get started on the slopes.
According to the RCR internet site, the company is aiming at encouraging learning, safety and fun in a non-intimidating environment. This seems to be in line with the corporate vision of RCR, which states that the resorts should be 'the ideal place to visit when you want to re-connect with your family, friends and nature.' The company, which has owned and operated the parks for the past five years, wants the parks to be family-oriented destinations.
Skiing in general is one of the more dangerous sports. Clearly, bowling might be a bit safer than flying down a hill on two sticks at very fast speeds. But the resorts no longer want the added liability of 'kickers' as skiers often call such jumps.
The Resorts of the Canadian Rockies also announced its plan to host a Rail Jam series that will take place at Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Fernie Alpine Resort and Nakiska in the same press release,. 'Features used in the Rail Jam series will be suitable for a high level of competition, while also adhering to safe practices', according to the RCR. So, expert skiers that are not particularly concerned with family fun will have some new features to look forward to at the RCR parks.
The removal of RCR's 'kickers' is the subject of quite a bit of online controversy, but it appears that the RCR is unlikely to reverse its decision in the near future. Perhaps this isn't a bad thing for families, since daredevils will now feel a little less compelled to imitate the pros. This initiative will certainly save at least a few broken bones across Canada this winter.
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