Safety on the Mountain
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:
- Always ski or ride with a partner
- Keep your partner in sight and stay in visual contact so they can see you if you fall
- Stay close enough to either pull or dig each other out
Whistler Blackcomb does not allow guests to ski or ride while carrying infants in any type of backpack or baby carrier. Guests who are riding the Gondola(s) up the mountain to sightsee only are allowed to carry children. For further information please contact Guest Services at 1-800-766-0449.
Individual snowshoeing and snowmobiling are not permitted on Whistler Blackcomb Mountains for your safety and the safety of others.
- Respect the Slow Zones posted on both mountains.
- Identify meeting points with your group in case you become separated from your companions. All group members should know where to meet should separation occur.
- Avoid the main runs during holiday times and busy weekends. Explore other areas of the mountains such as the Garbanzo Zone on Whistler and the Crystal Zone on Blackcomb. Crowded runs require all guests to slow down and be considerate of others, especially beginners.
- Ski/ride with a buddy. Carry a whistle and be particularly cautious when skiing/riding in the trees. Tree wells are a real risk with our abundant snowpack. For additional information www.deepsnowsafety.org
- Get up early, eat lunch early or late, ski/ride down early to avoid the end-of-the-day rush.
- Stay in bounds no matter how tempting that snow may be! Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas. Trails and areas are closed for guest safety. Observe and obey all posted signs and warnings. Signs, markings and fences are in place for the safety of our guests. Ignoring these messages may put guests at greater risk, particularly those who follow tracks past boundaries and beyond warnings. Those who violate closures will lose lift privleges.
- Think about where you stop on the hill. Take a rest on the side of the run. Do not stop under rollovers where you can't be seen from above or around blind corners on cat tracks.
- Visibility can be compromised by falling snow or fog. Guests are encouraged to slow down or stop when these conditions exist. Terrain above the treeline makes poor visibility even worse. Use the coloured discs (piste markers) to your advantage when visibility in the alpine is poor. Tree-lined runs also provide better definition.
- Always look up before starting downhill. Yield to others.
- Ski/ride in control. You must always be able to quickly stop or turn to avoid objects or other skiers and riders. Take particular care in congested areas. Slow down and look ahead. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Take note of the conditions. When the snow surface is hard and fast, it is easy to ski/ride at high speed, increasing the risk for serious injury if you fall and slide. Collisions with fixed objects or other guests become much more dramatic. make round, complete turns to control speed.
- Cold temperatures increase the liklihood of frostbite. Dress warmly, bring extra layers and keep an eye on exposed skin. Go inside immediately if skin begins to turn white.
- The risk of sunburn is increased at altitude and from snow reflection. Protect your eyes with goggles or glasses and always wear sunscreen and a hat. Drink lots of water to stay well hydrated.
- Ski boots do not offer good traction when walking on snow so exercise caution around our base areas and when turning corners.
- Snowcats and snowmobiles may be encountered during operating hours. Give these vehicles a wide berth.
- Terrain Parks - Park riders should progress through jumps and features by increasing the challenge and difficulty gradually. Ensure landings are clear before proceeding and don't attempt maneuvers that are well beyond your ability.