Don’t take the risk this sea­son

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

WITH 1000s of peo­ple set to flock to the snow­fields over the fol­low­ing weeks care and safety on slopes be­comes even more para­mount.

Not only are the school hol­i­days one of the busiest times of the sea­son but lim­ited snow cover early in the sea­son means more peo­ple will be packed into a smaller ski­able area.

Falls Creek Ski Pa­trol man­ager Matt O’Ke­effe says fol­low­ing a few sim­ple in­struc­tions is the way to en­joy your snow trip.

“Early in the sea­son the big­gest tip from us is for peo­ple to re­ally take it easy be­cause we don’t have a lot of runs open and with school hol­i­days there are a lot of fam­i­lies and kids around,” he said.

“On some of the runs it can get quite con­gested and the last thing we want is col­li­sions par­tic­u­larly with chil­dren so if peo­ple can just slow down and be ex­tra cau­tious when they see mum and dad and the kids it would be ap­pre­ci­ated.”

O’Ke­effe said ad­her­ing to signs about where to and where not to ski was also im­por­tant.

“Ar­eas are typ­i­cally closed for a rea­son be­cause it’s not safe for peo­ple to be there,” he said.

“Al­though with fresh snow the area might look like bushes and rocks are cov­ered most of the time it’s not and that’s why we’ll close these ar­eas.

“We don’t want to re­move a per­son’s lift pass but if peo­ple ig­nore our closures that is a pos­si­bil­ity.

“If a per­son blows through a closed area and hits a rock just un­der the sur­face of the snow or their ski or snow­board goes un­der a shrub they can get pretty badly in­jured so re­spect­ing our closures will keep every­one safe.”

In terms of stay­ing pro­tected from the el­e­ments Mr O’Ke­effe said rug up in cold con­di­tions and when there are strong winds blow­ing while ap­ply­ing sun­screen is es­sen­tial not only when the sun is out but when cloudy and over­cast too.

And one fi­nal tip from the ski pa­troller is hit the slopes bright and early be­fore the mad rush later in the day.

“Gen­er­ally there are less peo­ple out riding early in the morn­ing and of course that’s when the snow is at its best.”

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