Mountain Safety Policies

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is concerned about the safety of our skiers and snowboarders. Please read and practice the following information. Skiing and snowboarding are adventurous and exhilarating outdoor recreational activities. Natural and man-made obstacles are a part of this alpine experience. Collisions with these objects, especially when skiing fast or out of control, can result in serious or fatal injury. Ski and ride with caution and in control.

To report a ski related collision or accident, please call Squaw Valley dispatch/patrol at 530.452.7145 or Alpine Meadows dispatch/patrol at 530.581.8222.

Know the Code

Our Code
  1. Always stay in control and 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. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent run away equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.
  8. If you are involved in a collision or are a witness, do not leave the scene until the Ski Patrol has talked to you. California Penal Code § 653i.
  9. Be safety conscious and KNOW THE CODE. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

This is a partial list. Officially endorsed by: NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION

Know The Code
Know The Code

Skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

 It's the Law!

Never ski/ride in closed areas. 

  • It is illegal to ski/ride in CLOSED AREA (Cal. Penal Code 602.(r); NRS 455.100(8))
  • It is illegal to leave the incident scene if involved in a collision, except to notify and obtain ski patrol assistance (Cal. Penal Code 653i;NRS 455.170)  
Corrective Action Guidelines
 Low LevelMedium LevelHigh Level
Courtesy Code, Responsibility Code, Penal Code Violations*May Result In: Loss of day/multi-day ticket, season pass privileges from 24 hours to 14 days. May include Revoked Right to Trespass issued by Security. May Result In: 15-day to 90-day suspension of day/multi-day ticket, season pass. May include revoked right to trespass. May Result In: Ticket, pass revoked for the remainder of the season or longer. May include Revoked Right to Trespass. 

* Including Skiing & Riding in Closed Areas, Collisions, Ticket Fraud, Season Pass & Pack Fraud, Reckless Skiing/Slow Zone Violations, and Unauthorized Instruction. 

The 2018-19 Share the Mountain Video Contest

One local high school student received scholarship money as a prize for this creative video regarding our Code. 

Deep Snow, Powder & Avalanche Safety Tips

Deep Snow Safety Tips

Skiing and snowboarding off the groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of our sport. However, if you decide to leave the groomed trails, you are voluntarily accepting the risk of a deep snow immersion accident.

A deep snow immersion accident, or tree well accident, occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep, unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized and suffocates. Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as a NARSID (Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Deaths). Become educated on how to reduce the risk of NARSID through your own action and awareness. 

The website www.deepsnowsafety.org is an excellent resource designed to assist all skeirs and riders in educating themselves about the risks and prevention of deep snow and tree well immersion accidents. 

It is extremely important to keep Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) safety at the forefront of your mind. Always remember: 

  • Ride with a partner
  • Avoid the base of trees when skiing & riding in deep snow
  • If you are going to fall, attempt to do so feet first 
  • The more snow, the higher the risk 
Powder Safety Tips

Off-piste skiing/riding is extremely difficult and for experts only. Unmarked obstacles and hazards exist and should be expected. If you choose to ski/ride the ungroomed area, including glades and trees, please remember and follow these safety precautions:

Ski and Ride with a Partner

Hold your breath now as you are reading this. The amount of time until you need air is approximately how much time your partner has to help get you out of danger. It is critical to ski or ride with a partner who remains in visual contact at all times. In many cases, deaths due to tree well or deep snow immersion incidents could have been avoided if the victim had been with a partner who had visual contact. It does no good for your safety if you are under the snow and your partner is waiting for you at the bottom of the lift. Visual Contact means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while they watch you at all times. If you lose visual sight of your partner, they could lose their life.

Backcountry Gear

  • Know how to use, and carry, the same personal rescue gear as backcountry skiers or snowboarders: Transceiver, Shovel, Probe, Whistle
  • Remove your pole straps before heading down a powder slope. Trapped skiers have difficulty removing the pole straps, which can hamper efforts to escape or clear an air space to breathe.
  • Always wear a helmet

What if I go down?

If you are sliding toward a tree well or a deep snow bank, do everything you can to avoid going down: grab branches, hug the tree, or anything to stay above the surface. If you go down, resist the urge to struggle violently. The more you struggle, the more snow will fall into the well from the branches and area around the well and compact around you. Instead of panicking, try first to make a breathing space around your face. Then move your body carefully in a rocking manner to hollow out the snow and give you space and air.

Hopefully, your partner will have seen what happened and will come to your rescue within minutes. If not, experts advise staying calm while waiting for assistance. Survival chances are improved if you maintain your air space. Over time, heat generated by your body, combined with your rocking motions, will compact the snow, and you may be able to work your way out.

Warning: Risk of Avalanche

Avalanche Awareness

While snow safety & avalanche mitigation efforts help reduce the risk of avalanches, avalanches and snow slides may occur at ski areas, both inside & outside of the posted boundaries. Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow & its application on steep, mountainous terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions & awareness. Visit avalanche.org for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

For avalanche safety awareness, watch this video provided by RECCO.

Share the Mountain Safety

Share The Mountain 

Defensive Skiing & Riding 
  • BE READY: To react to the unexpected. Know your skills. Know the terrain. Know your stopping distance. 
  • STAY ALERT: Be aware of your surroundings. Maintain a safe following distance. Look uphill when merging & yielding. Check your blind spots. 
  • PLAN AHEAD: Stay in your lane. Give space when passing. Check your speed. Stop & rest on the side of the run. 
Ride Another Day Partial Logo

Collision Initiative 

Share the Mountain

Share the Mountain is the overall theme to Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows' Space & Speed Collision Mitigation Initiative. We are supporting this through the adoption of NSAA's Ride Another Day campaign, Give 'Em Space Posters, and have created a robust collision mitigation and reporting process regarding guests in our care, including schools, teams, and our employees. 

NSAA's #RideAnotherDay Collision Mitigation Campaign 
  1. Be ready to slow down at any moment to avoid other people or objects. Always slow down wherever traffic merges on the mountain. 
  2. Stay alert to what is going on around you, especially the location of other skiers and riders. 
  3. Plan ahead to ease up at blind spots, check uphill when merging onto trails, and give other skiers plenty of room when passing. 
  4. It is illegal to leave the incident scene if involved in a collision, except to notify and obtain ski patrol assistance (Cal. Penal Code 653i;NRS 455.170) 
 
 

 

Chairlift Safety

Best Riding Practices 

“Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.” - Responsibility Code

Skiing and snowboarding are sports that guests of all ages can enjoy. In order to participate, skiers and riders, including children, must ride chairlifts to access the slopes. 

If children are riding lifts without a companion, we encourage children pairing with an appropriate companion who can manage the restraining bar. However, while there are restraining bars on chairlifts, using the bar does not guarantee the safety of the passengers.

Always use the chairlift restraining bar whenyou can do so safely. Sit back, hold on, look forward, and don't fool around are universal chairlift safety rules. 

Electronic Devices 

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows strongly discourages the use of electronic devices including cell phones, personal entertainment devices, communication devices, and any other electronic equipment that utilizes head/earphones whil skiing or snowboarding, or loading and unloading lifts. 

Ride With Me 

Our Ride With Me program is our safety initiative to encourage qualified riders to ride the chairlift with our youngest ski school and ski team members wearing kinder-vests with the "Ride With Me" logo. If you see a child wearing a vest with this logo, offer your assistance to them on the lifts. 

ride with me logo
Children's Chairlift Code of Conduct

We have developed the Children’s Chairlift Code of Conduct to help all of us educate young skiers and riders about the importance of following good practices when using chairlifts. Please take an active role in educating children to load, ride and unload chairlifts safely, including:

  1. Behave, be aware, and be respectful of others when you are in line, loading the chair, riding the chair, and unloading the chair. 
  2. When you are loading the chair, move promptly from the WAIT HERE board to the LOAD HERE board when the chair in front of you passes. Keep your skis or board straight. 
  3. At the LOAD HERE board: 
    • Hold your poles in your inside hand if you carry poles. Make sure your pole straps are not around your wrist. 
    • Look back and to the outside for the on-coming chair
    • Grab on to the chair (side, back or top of seat) as it approaches
    • Use the restraining bar if you can do so safely; politely announce that the bar is being lowered
  4. While you are riding the chair, SIT BACK, HOLD ON, LOOK FORWARD, AND DON’T FOOL AROUND.  DO NOT play with skis or boards and DO NOT play with the restraining bar.
  5. If the lift stops, DO NOT turn around, bounce, or otherwise play on the chair. 
  6. When you are preparing to unload the chair, politely announce that the bar is being raised.
  7. Keep your tips up and straight ahead. 
  8. After you unload the chair:
    1. Move away from the unloading ramp
    2. Stay out of the way of others
    3. Wait for your coach, instructor, parent, or partner
  9. If you fail to unload:
    1. Sit back and hold on
    2. Wait for the operator

Children participating in a supervised Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows program that violate this Code of Conduct will be appropriately reprimanded up to and including termination from our program.

Terrain Parks 

Park Smart 

Terrain Park areas are designated with an orange oval and may contain jumps, take-offs, ramps, banks, fun boxes, jibs, rails, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, snowcross, bump terrain, and other constructed or natural terrain features. Prior to using freestyle terrain, you are responsibly for familiarizing yourself with the terrain and obeying all instructions, warnings, and signs. Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air. Use of freestyle terrain exposes you to the risk of serious injury or death. Inverted aerials are not recommended. You assume all risk. 

A.T.M.L 

When first inspecting the jumps, consider the following elemens of each jump: 

(A) The Approach zone is setting your speed and stance

(T) The Take-Off zone is for making moves that start your trick

(M) The Maneuver Zone is for controlling your style 

(L) The Landing Zone is for getting straight and riding away clean 

Always look before you drop.

Observe all signage and warnings. Use your first run as a warm-up run to familiarize yourself with the park layout & features. Features change constantly due to weather, usage, and time of day, so it is important to continue to inspect features throughout the day. 

Start small. Work your way up. Build into your skills.

If you aren't sure about how to use a feature, build your skills first. When starting out, look for small progression parks & features, and then work your way up to medium or large parks and features. Freestyle terrain comes in different sizes, so make sure and start small and work your way up before going into larger parks. 

Make a plan. Every feature. Every time.

Whenever you use freestyle terrain, have a plan for each feature you are going to use. Remember, your speed, appraoch and take-off will directly affect your maneuvering and landing. 

Respect the features and other users.

One person on a feature at a time. Wait your turn and call your drop-in. Always clear the landing area quickly. Respect all signs and stay off closed features. Remember that respect is important both in the park and in the rest of the resort. So be smart when you are heading down the mountain or to the lift and save your best tricks for the park. 

Take It Easy 

Know your limits. Land on your feet. Ride within your ability and consider taking a lesson if you want to build your knowledge, skills, and tricks. Stay in control both on the ground and in the air. Remember, you can control how big or small you take the feature by varying speed and take-off. Inverted aerials increase the chance of serious injury and are not recommended. 

 

 

Summer Mountain Safety 

Summer Essentials 

Grab your boots and access the stunning backcountry of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows region on foot! Remember to check for trail conditions, weather and pack the essentials for hiking. Use this handy checklist 

  • Check Trail Conditions. In early summer, be on the lookout for ice and snow before hiking up through Shirley Canyon or over the back of Alpine Meadows. The granite slabs on the Shirley Trail are very slippery and can be difficult to navigate safely in late spring.
  • Consider the Weather. Summer weather in the mountains can change drastically in a matter of hours, or sometimes minutes!  Rain, hail, and even snow are a real possibility when you are hiking above eight or nine thousand feet in elevation.
  • Choose approptiate footwear. For a short day hike that does not involve a heavy pack or technical terrain, sneakers or trail shoes are great. If you are traveling over more technical terrain, hiking boots are recommended. 
  • Bring extra food. Any number of things could keep you out longer than expected such as getting lost, enjoying time by a stream, an injury, or difficult terrain. Extra food will help keep up energy and morale. 
  • Bring extra water. Hydrating during your high-altitude adventure is key to avoiding dehydration. Consuming too little water will not only make you thirsty but susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness.
  • Carry Rain Gear & Extra Clothing. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to changing weather and activity levels. Avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your skin) and always carry a hat.
  • Wear Sunscreen & Sunglasses. If you are above treeline when there is a skin-scorching combination of sun and late season snow, you will need sunglasses to prevent snow blindness and sunscreen to prevent sunburn. In the summertime, you can get anywhere from 40 to 50 percent greater sun intensity than at sea level. 
  • Carry a Map & Compass/GPS. A map and compass not only tell you where you are and how far you have to go, but it can also help you find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident. While GPS units are very useful, always carry a map and compass as a backup. If you get lost (and have cell service) call our dispatch at 530-452-7145
Hiking at High Elevation

The high-elevation backcountry of the Sierras is an explorer’s wonderland, but hiking at high altitude has significant effects on the human body and mind. Above 8,000 feet, altitude sickness affects 20-30 percent of visitors from low elevations to some degree. The first thing most people notice is a shortness of breath, especially when exercising. In addition, your heart is likely to beat faster and one may develop nausea, unusual tiredness, and headaches. Those with one or more of these symptoms may have Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If the symptoms do not subside quickly, call a doctor. Most importantly, listen to your body. Do not push the limits of your physical capabilities.

On-Mountain Vehicles & Construction 

The majority of our facility repairs and mountain improvement projects take place during the summer months, so guests should always be observant of construction hazards. Stay out of any construction or roped off areas. Vehicle access to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is restricted to company vehicles or those having legitimate, approved business on the mountain only. Vehicles may be encountered at any time, and terrain could be temporarily closed for maintenance at times. 

Chairlifts

For your own protection, please stay off chairlifts and towers. During our summer maintenance, lifts may start without warning.

Lightning & Thunderstorms 

Here in the mountains, the weather is notorious for changing quickly. In the summer, that means you should be on the lookout for afternoon thunderstorms. If you notice one approaching, seek shelter when possible. Of course, if you are in one of our backcountry areas, finding shelter may not be so easy, which is why you should always be prepared. Hike or bike with a rain jacket and other appropriate gear, know your surroundings and be sure to avoid ridgetops, lift houses, lift towers, power lines, open ski runs, fences, signposts and the tallest tree or object in your vicinity. If lightning is in the area, ALL Tram operations will be suspended until lightning clears.

Wildfire

No smoking, please. The fire danger in this area is very high during the summer. If you see, a wildfire please call 911 immediately.

Local Wildlife & Wildflowers

In our industry, we must always strive to be stewards of the environment, to interact with our local flora and fauna respectfully and safely. The best way to accomplish this is to stay on designated hiking and biking trails. If you do encounter a wild animal, remain calm and back away slowly to ensure it does not feel threatened. Never approach or feed wildlife. Leave wildflowers and plants in their native spaces.