Our Safety Award Submissions

Blog Image Link

In our ongoing pursuit of mountain safety, Sugarbush recently submitted for 2 National Ski Area Associations (NSAA) Safety Awards for Best Guest Safety Program and Best Employee Safety Program.

Best Guest Safety Program:

January is NSAA Safety Month and each year we put on a variety of events highlighting mountain safety. This year our theme was Parks and Patrol and all events featured those two departments. The objective of the programming this year was to create a better understanding of the ways in which the Sugarbush Patrol works and allow them to become more familiar with our Terrain Parks. Our net promotor score (NPS) comments from the 2018-2019 season indicated that our guests did not feel our Patrollers were very visible on the mountain. This year’s events highlighted our Patrol as a means to give our guests a better understanding of the way in which our operate while showing them that they are out there all the time, working hard on the mountain, and that they are very easily accessible.

This year’s events included:

Sweeps with Patrol: Guests were invited to join our Patrollers for afternoon sweeps to discover what they do to make sure the mountain is clear and safe for night-time operations.

Breakfast with Patrollers: Guests were invited to have breakfast with the Sugarbush Patrollers to get to know what a friendly, helpful and entertaining bunch they are. Guests met with Patrollers to ask questions, view their gear and enjoy breakfast together.

Shrediquette: Guests were invited to spend some time with the Parks team to get an introduction to parks. This included how to safely navigate the features and the basic manners necessary to make the Parks a friendly place for all to visit.

The Powder Hound Challenge: throughout the month of January kids could stop by the Guest Services Desks at both our Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen locations to pick up a Real Powder Hounds Know the Code Punch Card. Kids then visited a select number of our patrol shacks and Parks where they got their card stamped along the way. In order to receive their stamps, the kids had to recite certain portions of Know the Code and/or Park Smart.  Once the card was stamped in full, kids returned their completed card back to the Guest Services Desks for a Powder Hound t-shirt. They were also entered into a drawing for a $100 Sugarbush Gift Card.

By the end of the month of January we gave away over 500 Powder Hound Challenge Cards and 110 t-shirts. In addition, we gave away 500 “Know the Code” buttons, had 50 entries in the NSAA Safety Month Poster Contest.

Our submittal also included this video to highlight all we did: https://youtu.be/8BTTlxl2Kms  

Employee Safety Program:

Our second safety award submission was for Best Employee Safety Program. This submission was based on our involvement in the Fit for Snow Program. Fit for Snow is an injury prevention program, that focuses on worksite wellness for snow sports employees. On-snow injuries account for the majority of injuries we see and we were looking for a program that would affect change in positive ways to reduce injuries in those departments that ski and ride for work.  The program was developed in Western Canada by Dr. Delia Roberts who holds a Phd.  in Exercise Biochemistry and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The foundations of Fit for Snow are:

  • Maintaining a neutral posture,
  • Developing a strong core,
  • Insuring proper hydration
  • And fueling one’s body for occupational performance

This is the third season that the Fit for Snow program has been in place at Sugarbush for employees of our Lift Operations, Ski &Ride and Ski Patrol Departments. Fit for Snow utilizes employees to develop and maintain the program by appointing Employee Advocates in each department to act as Program Champions. The role of the Advocate is to promote the program and the activities it entails with all teammates. Advocates receive additional training and materials are encouraged to organize activities in support of the program. Some of the activities that we put together and participated in include:

  • Climbing Night at our resort fitness center to promote fun and fitness
  • Group Pot Lucks featuring favorite healthy choice items
  • Yoga with Patrollers at the start or end of the day
  • Food Fairies: Various healthy choice food deliveries to the various departments on busy weekends
  • Patrol breakfast : Patrol Advocates cooked for their teammates featuring healthy options from the Fit for Snow manual
  • Water jugs put in all the Patrol Shacks to refill water bottles and pouches

This year we focused on pre-season training. With the assistance of one of the Fitness Instructors from the SHaRC, we put together a series of 6 short videos that featured the managers from each of our participating departments, as well as the VP of Safety & Guest Services and the Health & Safety Coordinator. These videos were released through a link via email to all staff in Ski & Ride, Lift Ops and Patrol, as well as to all year round staff. One video was released each week in the 6 weeks leading up to our Opening Day.  Follow the links below to view and participate. There’s no better time than now to do some home workouts!

Video #1 Posture and Core: https://youtu.be/dufNTn2pNCc

Video #2  Core Stability Strength: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s76TVwQjSn0&feature=youtu.be

Video #3 Squats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrY0mA0rb8g

Video #4  Single Leg Balance:  https://youtu.be/kmYJAOa4Lhg

Video #5 Plyometrics:  https://youtu.be/LDoIg6XEKrM

Video #6 Putting It All Together! https://youtu.be/65G7NR_Dvyw

Now in our third season, we are finding that Fit for Snow is permeating our resort culture. We have seen the program reduce injuries in those participating departments. Our employees are thinking about the type of food they’re eating, proper hydration and the impact these have on their jobs as true Occupational Athletes.

Our submittal for this award also included this video: https://youtu.be/OnAFrTnt87M

Winners for these awards are scheduled to be announced by NSAA in May. We’ll let you know how we do, but we already know our programs are winners!