Okemo Mountain Resort will commemorate National Safety Awareness Week, Jan. 16-22 with a host of fun events and activities to help educate skiers and riders and promote on-mountain safety.
The National Ski Areas Association named Okemo Mountain Resort winner of the Best Helmet Safety Program in its 2009 Heads Up National Ski Area Safety Awards. Nine resorts were recognized in different safety program categories and Okemo was the only New England resort to receive honors.
Each season, the awards recognize those resorts that have done an outstanding job of educating employees and guests about skiing and snowboarding responsibly.
"Safety First" is a mantra for Okemo staff members throughout the winter season, but it is during the annual NSAA Safety Awareness Week, in January, that Okemo turns its commitment to safety into a full-blown event.
Starting Jan. 16 and running through National Safety Awareness Week, anyone who purchases a new ski or snowboard helmet at Okemo's Snowsports Shop will receive a coupon for 50 percent off a full-day lift ticket, or 50 percent off a full-day equipment rental or high-performance demo, or 50 percent off a group lesson or adult clinic.
New this year, $10 from every helmet purchase will benefit the Vermont Children's Hospital Phat program: $5 from Okemo and $5 from the helmet manufacturer.
Vermont's own PHAT team (Protect Your Head at All Times/Protect Your Head on All Terrain) will be returning to Okemo from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Sunday, Jan. 17. The Vermont Snow Sports Research Team, a partnership of Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont College of Medicine will be on location to help educate skiers and riders about helmet use.
Over the past five years, this team has been focused on developing a program to prevent serious head injuries by increasing voluntary ski helmet use among children and adults.
The team of physicians and health care providers is headed by Robert Williams, M.D., pediatric anesthesiologist and critical care specialist at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen.
In addition to education, the team's project includes observations of skiers and riders to track data about helmet use. Their work has been presented at medical conferences, accepted for publication in medical journals and has been extensively covered by news media nationwide.
The program's presence at a resort includes posters, distribution of brochures, an exhibit, stickers and prizes. The program is non-coercive and is designed to promote both helmet use and skiing and snowboarding as a healthy lifestyle. Visit www.skihelmetsafety.org for more information.
Okemo will host a "Helmet Head" contest on Jan. 17. Okemo staff members will be out on the mountain taking pictures of willing candidates showing their best helmet head - that cool, disheveled look of matted hair that happens when a skier or snowboarder removes his helmet after a great day on the slopes.
A panel of judges will select the top-ten best helmet heads and post those photos on Okemo's blog (www.okemo.blogspot.com) for voting by blog visitors. The candidate who receives the most votes will win two complimentary lift tickets for a day of skiing or riding at Okemo.
Also on Jan. 17, as a way to promote safety and to familiarize skiers and riders with the Skier Responsibility Code, a Safety Scavenger Hunt will take place on the slopes of Okemo. Elements of the "Code" and "Smart Style" will be strategically placed along trails all over the mountain. Winners who collect The Code elements will receive prizes.
For more information visit www.nsaa.org, www.okemo.com or call 228-1600.