South Okanagan ski resort implements campaign to keep people behind the rope - InfoNews

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South Okanagan ski resort implements campaign to keep people behind the rope

Baldy Mountain Resort, east of Oliver is trying to find ways to make people aware of the consequences of skiing out of bounds after a busy month of rescues in February.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Baldy Mountain Resort via Facebook
February 27, 2017 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - Lost skiers were epidemic at a South Okanagan ski resort this month, and operators are trying to do something about it

Skiers ventured out of bounds at Baldy Mountain Resort four nights in a row in February, prompting time consuming and manpower intensive searches.

The resort is located approximately 35 kilometres east of Oliver, and reopened after being closed last year to an increasing number of skiers visiting the resort this season.

Resort manager Joey O’Brien says they launched the Don’t Duck a Rope campaign last week.

“It’s a concern because the people who are going out of bounds are not the backcountry skiers who know what they’re doing." O"Brien says. "They go where they want to go, and are smart about it."

“It’s the people who go, ‘Oh look powder. Oh look  a rope and go oh well.’ Those are the ones who find themselves in the next valley, and then going, 'Help,'” he says.

O’Brien says four rescues were made for seven people on consecutive days at the resort this month.

“We even had one rescue, where we were looking for people who had called us and we found a third person wandering around. We had no idea that third person was there,” he says.

O'Brien says it costs the resort between $500 to $1,000 per rescue in terms of labour and equipment costs.

“If search and rescue shows up, that’s a lot more people, additional vehicles, snowmobiles. They show up ready to do a real search. They’ve been here this year, and many times we’ve had them on alert," he says.

The problem is typical at most B.C. ski resorts but he feels it’s a bigger problem today than in the past.

O'Brien says along with the Don't Duck a Rope campaign, the resort is making the boundaries more visible in an effort to get guests to stop and consider the consequences when they see a rope and fresh powder on the other side.

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