Our Mountain Safety Team has been steadily growing and improving for the past ten years. You can't miss our full-time and volunteer members in their bright yellow jackets. We are on the mountain each day patrolling the 'Slow Zones' and any other areas that could become congested.
Slow Zones are clearly identifiable by the banners and signs at the run entrances, and are clearly marked on the trail maps.
Our members are on the look-out for skiers and riders travelling too fast or displaying reckless behaviour. Normally, a verbal warning will correct fast and reckless issues, but on occasion, skiing and riding privileges are suspended.
Our mission is to ensure that all guests and employees are aware of the Alpine Responsibility Code, thereby making our slopes safer for all. You can help the Mountain Safety Team by skiing or riding in control, by travelling at the same speed as others in Slow Zones, and by using common sense and courtesy while on our mountains.
Safety doesn't stop when the snow melts. Please read our Hiking Tips to ensure a safe summer mountain experience.
Whistler Blackcomb recommends wearing helmets for skiing and riding. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. The primary safety consideration, and obligation under the Alpine Responsibility Code, is to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner.
Natural hazards such as tree wells occur within and outside of the ski area boundary. Whistler Blackcomb would like to remind all guests to ski and ride with care, obey all mountain signage, and ski/ride with a partner or group.
A tree well is a hole or depression that forms around the base of a tree while snow accumulates. A tree well incident occurs when a person falls, head first, into an area of deep snow around the base of a tree and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become. The risks of a tree well accident or fatality can be reduced by following these basic practices:
There are a couple of ways. First of all, have a look at our trail map. The Slow Zones are highlighted in yellow. You will notice that most of them are beginner runs. When you are on the mountain look for 'Slow' or 'Slow Zone' banners. Most Slow Zone runs have 4 ½ foot high banners at the top with 3 foot high banners in between, which are drilled into the snow. These top banners will usually be installed in such a way as to force skiers and snowboarders to slow down as they enter.
Many people have a hard time remembering what it was like to be a beginner skier or snowboarder, and having to worry about whether there is enough space to attempt a turn. So first off, think about giving people some space. Next, remember that you must always be in control whether you are on an expert run or in a Slow Zone. This is the first point of the Alpine Responsibility Code. If you are in the air, you have no control over your speed or direction. Jumps and hits are not allowed in Slow Zones. The speed expected is relevant to how many people are on the run. If there is no one on the run, you may do short radius turns. When there are more people on the run the 10% Rule is in effect. You may pass people at a speed approximately 10% faster than the flow of other skier traffic on the run.
The Slow Zones are on beginner runs. One of the biggest users of Slow Zones are kids. Kids don't have a high awareness of what other people are doing and are easily distracted. They might be on one side of the run and see something that they want to take a closer look at on the other side and just veer over and cross the run without checking to see if anyone is coming. Kids and adults that are learning to ski also tend to fall on terrain transitions (knolls) and can be trying to recover from a crash in an area that can't be seen from above.