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Kelowna  

Safety = respect on mtn

Skiing and snowboarding is meant to be fun.

But, recent events including the tragic death of a snowboarder when he collided with a tree at Big White, have industry insiders concerned about safety on the mountains.

Big White vice-president Michael J. Ballingall says staff are starting to see some unsettling trends.

"People not wearing helmets, skiing or riding alone, texting or filming when you’re riding/sliding and not paying attention to your surroundings are all becoming constant hazards around the mountain," he said.

Ballingall was quick to not point blame in last weekend's death, but said the ski industry as a whole is becoming more aware of such issues.

"We have been talking about the tragic accident at Big White on Sunday and what next," he said.

"There are hundreds of thousands of people enjoying the resorts in the Central Okanagan this winter. We just want to remind people to ride and ski with caution."

Ballingall says the vast majority of visitors ski or board responsibly, but it only takes one out-of-control skier to endanger everyone around them. 

He says all mountains prominently post the the alpine responsibility code, "but people are so excited when they’re about to go out, they don’t take time to read it."



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