safety award logo

Safety initiatives are critical to the industry in retention, conversion and overall growth. Ski area risk and safety departments aim to be just as inventive and interactive as their retail branding counterparts. The safety awards highlight the creative, innovative, and quantitatively-effective methods that keep guests and employees safe on the mountain Award finalists will be recognized and the winners announced at NSAA's 2024 National Convention & Tradeshow on May 23.

Category Descriptions

Best Overall (up to 2 winners)
Comprehensive programs that demonstrate effective safety education and prevention to establish a culture of safety among employees and guests. 

Best Your Responsibility Code Program
Efforts that excel at promoting the updated Your Responsibility Code’s 10 tenets through both internal training and guest education.

Best Collision Prevention Campaign
Campaigns that communicate the critical message of collision awareness and prevention most effectively, including efforts specific to #RideAnotherDay.

Best Guest Safety Program
Standout programs that promote awareness of important factors like wearing a helmet and using chairlifts and terrain parks safely. 

Best Employee Safety Program
Exceptional initiatives that put staff safety front and center every day and keep employees educated on safety best practices and programs.

Safety Champion
A ski area employee who shows dedication toward helping employees and guests learn about safe skiing and riding, and advocates for safer work practices and healthier behaviors.

2024 Safety Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2024 Safety Award winners and finalists. Winners are highlighted in bold.

Best Overall Safety Program (Over 500k visits)

  • Mammoth Mountain, CA
  • Mammoth’s Cost of Cutting campaign was a crucial safety message wrapped up in a successful marketing package with production value. The ski area’s specific safety target for this campaign addressed the dangerous behavior of breaking avalanche closures, especially during big storm cycles. Mammoth’s new policy of a 30-day pass suspension for ducking ropes (3x what it was before) made a difference, as did their communications of it: The number of passes they pulled dropped by roughly 80%, and the engagement outdid all other content from the season, garnering close to 20,000 shares. Judges were impressed with the well done videos that served as the cornerstone of the campaign, featuring ski patrol delivering the important safety message with gravitas — also conveying the why behind their ask to help guests understand the real impacts of rope-ducking dangers. Mammoth also ramped up on-mountain safety personnel, in-resort and on-slope messaging, and judges loved seeing mountain ops, patrol and marketing working in harmony. For its impressive dedication to keeping skiers and riders safe from avalanche danger, NSAA awarded Mammoth with the win for Best Overall Safety Campaign. 

  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY
  • A key component of Jackson Hole’s 2023–24 safety program was Show Us Your Turns, a clever initiative that redefined slow zones from negative and restrictive to an area of opportunity for guests to showcase their skills. The campaign was incorporated into on-mountain signage, safety messaging, the website, in-resort digital billboards, pre-arrival emails, and was also supported via video by freeride star Kai Jones. Additional safety efforts from JHMR this season included a new Safety Deputy sticker to encourage kids in ski school to learn about specific safety techniques; a safety-focused family après event that garnered more than 170 safety posters, with the winning “Speed is not a skill” entry; and expanded avalanche awareness. For reframing how guests perceive slow zones, NSAA named Jackson Hole a finalist for Best Overall Safety Campaign. 

  • Sun Valley Resort, ID
  • Sun Valley's comprehensive Safety Season 2024 program offered a multifaceted approach to promoting ski safety, spanning on-mountain activations and omnichannel marketing. Judges appreciated the hands-on learning components, great use of resources and amount of creativity that went into this program. With a clear objective to make learning safety practices fun and engaging, the ski area achieved this through activities like beacon park practice, a Spanish-speaking avalanche awareness discussion, GPS scavenger hunt, and through school visits. Sun Valley also demonstrated savvy in its marketing efforts that encompassed everything from a Your Responsibility Code video to dynamic social media campaigns and local media coverage. The effectiveness was evident from guest surveys, which reflected an increase in the perception of safety at the resort. For its success in elevating both safety standards and guest satisfaction, Sun Valley was named a Best Overall Safety Campaign finalist.  

Best Overall Safety Program (Under 500k visits)

  • Loveland Ski Area, CO
  • Loveland Ski Area’s comprehensive All Employee Safety Orientation Program (AESOP) was incorporated into the resort’s learning management system, ensuring staff were well-versed in OSHA-required safety protocols. The ski area offers a variety of additional department and job specific trainings, and has reduced employee injury events since tracking began several seasons ago. Engagement strategies such as the “Walk Like a Penguin” program addressed slip and trip incidents, and Loveland complemented this effort with improved flooring in slippery areas. Another example of their ample guest safety measures is chairlift safety videos, one of which emphasizes the specifics of loading and unloading fixed grip chairs — something that’s common to Loveland, but unfamiliar to many of today’s guests. For its integrated approach that aligns with industry best safety practices for both guests and staff, NSAA honored Loveland Ski Area with the award for Best Overall Safety Campaign. 

  • Blue Mountain Resort, PA
  • Blue Mountain Resort's Snow Sports Safety Scanner system (S3P) initiative equipped ski patrol with technology that efficiently and effectively helped them manage on-slope behavior. Developed through a collaboration between the ski area's risk manager, IT department, ski patrol and POS, the portable S3P scanners enable patrollers to scan the tickets of guests exhibiting unsafe behavior. Ski patrol can then see if this is a first or repeat offense, and based on that, issue a warning or turn off lift access. With all scans and guest information being digitally recorded, Blue Mountain’s system has eliminated patrol paperwork (patrollers estimated they were able to dedicate 50% more time to actively monitoring the slopes) and provided an instant notification to guest services and the appropriate managers. This season, 203 tickets were issued digitally, and judges are interested to see how that number trends next season. For its innovative use of technology to improve safety, Blue Mountain Resort earned a finalist nod for Best Overall Safety Campaign. 
  • Tamarack Resort, ID
  • With Safety January, Tamarack set out to elevate safety consciousness among skiers and riders with engaging video content dedicated to Your Responsibility Code and Park SMART. Through a cohesive partnership among the safety director, mountain ops, marketing and ski school, this campaign successfully leveraged social media platforms to amass more than 39,000 views and 64 hours of watch time on Instagram alone. The integration of these safety videos into the ski school curriculum further amplified the campaign's impact, enabling instructors to reinforce key safety messages during lessons. Judges especially loved the professional Park SMART video and great use of available platforms to reach a broad audience. This program has laid a robust foundation for expanding into an all-season-long safety campaign that will also include YouTube in the mix. For its forward-thinking Safety January efforts that brought awareness, engagement and a shift toward greater responsibility, Tamarack was named a finalist for Best Overall Safety Campaign and Best Your Responsibility Code Program. 

Best Your Responsibility Code Program

  • Crystal Mountain, MI
  • Inspired by National Safety Month, Crystal Mountain’s Safety January campaign featured Your Responsibility Code prominently. As part of that effort, Safety Stick Guy, a cute Crystal-branded character, helped demonstrate the 10 tenets of YRC, transforming essential safety rules into engaging visual reminders. Each point of the code became a sign that the team mounted on chairlift poles and throughout the equipment rental area. Crystal’s additional YRC specific efforts included ski patrol pop quizzes, with free hot chocolate coupons to guests who engaged. Among Crystal Mountain’s tangible results was a reduction in incidents per 1,000 skiers, down from 2.04 to 1.93, and success in setting a solid foundation for future safety awareness. For its Safety January campaign that emphasized YRC in a fun way around the resort, NSAA awarded Crystal Mountain with Best Your Responsibility Code Program. 

  • Loveland Ski Area, CO
  • Everybody loves an avy dog, and Loveland leaned into that with its Your Responsibility Code campaign during National Safety Month. YRC videos starring Loveland’s avalanche rescue dogs, Zuma, Otis and Bandit, who barked out the points of the code, made for an engaging and memorable safety message on social media. The program also integrated ski patrol to help showcase fun activities and provide insights from experts in the field. The campaign generated more than 1.1 million impressions across social media platforms, which accounted for about 25% of the total impressions for all Colorado Ski Country resorts during National Safety Month. Related, CSCUSA honored Loveland with the Double Diamond in the Ruff Award. For its safety videos that successfully educated and entertained, NSAA named Loveland a finalist for Best Your Responsibility Code Program.

Best Collision Prevention Program

  • Heavenly Mountain Resort, CA
  • Heavenly orchestrated a complex collision prevention strategy to address a very specific situation and need arising from instances of skier density in certain areas. The ski area’s unique approach leveraged detailed incident data and distinct geographic features, guest dynamics and weather patterns to identify and mitigate high-risk areas effectively. Among its efforts to redirect people in a congested area, Heavenly reintroduced the Lakeview Terrain Park, added a rest area and groomed a section through the trees to attract guests to an underutilized run. Most impressively, these innovative interventions resulted in a 52% year-over-year reduction of person-on-person collisions. Judges also appreciated that the team successfully incorporated creative thinking from a specialist-level employee. For its effective solutions to reduce collision risk through thoughtful terrain management, NSAA awarded Heavenly Mountain Resort with the win for Best Collision Prevention Program.
  • Snowbasin Resort Company, UT
  • Snowbasin’s Ski & Ride RAD program, in collaboration with Kelli and Chauncy Johnson from the Snow Angel Foundation, reminds guests to be Ready to stop at any time, be Alert to avoid others and Distance yourself appropriately so we can all #RideAnotherDay. Launched in the 2023–24 season, one judge called this program “the beginning of a movement,” featuring a video, safety signage, interactive educational encounters and meaningful interactions with the Johnsons to help spread the message through their story. Achievements of the program include over 600 employees viewing the video, 1,057 entries for the Safety Month Ski & Ride RAD Pledge & Raffle, 7,000+ Ski & Ride RAD beverage cards distributed, a decrease in repeat violations, and positive feedback from guests. For its proactive approach blending heartfelt personal engagement with practical safety messaging that sets an example all ski areas can adopt, Snowbasin was named a finalist for Best Collision Prevention Program. 

Best Guest Safety Program

  • Sugarbush Resort, VT
  • In a comprehensive winter 2023–24 guest safety campaign, Sugarbush rolled out a series of engaging events with a little something for every guest — from kiddos to competitive parents and terrain park partakers. Judges were impressed with the scope of safety activities that involved multiple departments and that this campaign did more than educate, but inspired action for better safety results. Throughout January, Sugarbush leveraged entertaining occasions like toboggan rides with patrol and the Mt. Ellen Rail Jam to deliver education on crucial safety practices. Blizzard Bingo, the crown jewel of this program, featured a card full of safety stops and activities for prizes. With about 700 Blizzard Bingo cards given out, outreach to local schools and safety videos distributed through social media garnering 160,000 views, this campaign achieved a solid reach. For its holistic approach with efforts that proved safety is something we all do together, NSAA named Sugarbush the winner for Best Guest Safety Program.  

  • Arizona Snowbowl, AZ
  • After digging into its NPS, Arizona Snowbowl recognized a need to elevate safety awareness among guests and enhance the feeling of safety at the ski area. The first step was doubling the budget for its mountain hosts department, enabling them to interact with guests beyond the base areas and out on the mountain — helping patrol enforce mountain policies while providing critical education opportunities. The campaign also introduced Collision Camp and Park Smart Camps, signage to ease the transition from surface to aerial lifts and other updated messaging, and promotions to engage on safety for prizes. As a result, the ski area’s safety specific NPS increased 11 points year over year, demonstrating the impact of their efforts on the guest experience. For its multifaceted campaign addressing safety scores and perceptions, NSAA named Arizona Snowbowl a finalist for Best Guest Safety Program. 

  • Powderhorn Mountain Resort, CO
  • Powderhorn Resort’s Skier Safety Month/Safety Saturdays campaign centered around a social media strategy featuring ski patroller Austin Roberts. This series of engaging videos conveyed “truly useful tips with a team that all guests look up to,” according to one judge (who added that the only miss was no bar down on the chairlift). By showcasing Roberts in the lively safety videos with a humorous touch, the campaign not only encouraged watching and sharing, but also viewing ski patrol in a new light — as an approachable safety resource and not just on-mountain security officers. The videos became some of Powderhorn's top Instagram posts, outperforming other non-safety posts by a wide margin. In total, the campaign videos amassed over 280 hours of watch time, a testament to the content’s resonance with the audience. For its impactful approach to share safety in a fun and relatable way, NSAA named Powderhorn a finalist for Best Guest Safety Program. 

Best Employee Safety Program

  • Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, CO
  • Arapahoe Basin’s employee safety program focused on defining and promoting their safety culture as one that reduces injuries, prioritizes safety over urgency and emphasizes support from leadership. In particular, keeping safety in the conversation was key to this campaign, and the ski area created formal objectives for its Safety Committee, brought back biweekly safety topics and hosted a new hire/rehire orientation, which judges especially appreciated. They also liked the free PT offering, which invited employees to partake regardless of whether their ailment happened on or off the clock. The tangible outcomes of these efforts include a dramatic decrease in total gross payouts on work comp insurance along with an increase in near miss and minor injury reporting, reflecting a shift in employee attitudes toward a deeper, systemic embrace of safety culture. For its approach that not only reduced injuries and associated costs, but also cultivated an environment where safety is genuinely valued, NSAA named A-Basin its winner for Best Employee Safety Program.

  • Stowe Mountain Resort, VT
  • Stowe’s Safety & Wellness Committee (SWC) came up with the Re-Think Safe campaign to reduce employee injuries, improve its total recordable incident rate (TRIR) and revitalize the resort’s safety culture. The SWC, which is made up of at least two employees from each line of business and meets biweekly, began its work with a Re-think Safe logo. A standout to judges this season, the well done campaign was supported by a series of thoughtful initiatives, such as the Hard Hat Awards for safety leadership, wellness challenges, engaging video shorts showcasing safety protocols, safety show and tells that broke down silos within operations, and a free preventive physical therapy program. Re-Think Safe efforts resulted in a 79% reduction in recordable medical injuries and zero serious incidents occurring. For fostering an interdependent safety culture across the ski area and elevating safety performance to its best level yet, NSAA named Stowe Mountain Resort a finalist for Best Employee Safety Program. 

  • Wildcat Mountain, NH
  • Wildcat Resort revamped its approach to safety through several initiatives that added up to major improvements. Just a few of their efforts include creation of a Safety Committee, hosting a safety day, cell notifications to inform the team of walking surface conditions, and recognizing the value of existing safety tools, such as job hazard analysis. The introduction of Be Safe On the Spot Awards is a testament to Wildcat’s commitment to safety, with nearly 10% of the staff being nominated. What judges found most notable were the results that reflected their efforts: 86% reduction in staff injuries that required medical treatment, even with more labor hours. What’s more, minor staff injuries are being reported and discussed at a much higher rate, and the ski area has identified concrete opportunities for improvement. For elevating its safety standards and setting new benchmarks for what can be achieved in workplace safety, NSAA named Wildcat Resort a finalist for Best Employee Safety Program. 

Safety Champion

  • Kolina Coe | Keystone Resort, CO
  • With a background in ski patrol and other roles, Kolina Coe, Keystone’s mountain operations director, is “truly an ambassador of safety,” according to one judge, and well equipped to execute large-scale projects safely. Under her leadership, the Bergman Bowl expansion was completed without any injuries or incidents. Coe’s approach to fostering a safety-first culture among a team of specialized contractors and resort employees included weekly safety audits from her project managers and personally completing an OSHA 10-hour construction course. Apart from Bergman Bowl, her impact on winter operations has been significant, leading departments like snowmaking, terrain parks and grooming to successful zero injury seasons, and enhancing safety communication through bi-weekly slope safety ski-arounds and creating the Keystone Mountain Dispatch team. For her outstanding commitment to safety across high-level projects and daily operations, NSAA named Kolina Coe Safety Champion. 
  • Brian Gannon  | Sierra at Tahoe, CA
  • Brian Gannon, risk manager for Sierra-at-Tahoe, has been likened to a Swiss Army Knife, demonstrating the capacity to manage both prevention and post-loss mitigation within the complex landscape of resort safety. With a foundation in ski patrol and an ARM (associate in risk management), Gannon is adept at navigating large claims, having dealt with the aftermath of the Caldor Fire. But his list of safety accomplishments is much longer and includes overseeing installation of video cameras at lifts, refining training programs, and expanding employee ski and ride testing to all skiing staff. As part of Gannon’s thriving safety culture, Sierra reached a one year milestone of zero lost-time injuries. Importantly, he’s also built trust within the team, emboldening employees to report near misses and minor first aid incidents. For his leadership in preventing and resolving safety issues, NSAA named Brian Gannon a finalist for Safety Champion. 

  • John DiSciullo  |  Loveland Ski Area, CO
  • John DiSciullo, Loveland’s safety and risk manager, is known affectionately as Safety J around the ski area thanks to his transformative impact. With an extensive background in OSHA, DiSciullo has implemented many effective safety efforts, including AESOP, consistent use of job hazard assessments, all staff safety meetings, departmental audits, and incident review and preventative measures. His creative approach to safety communication, notably through fun and memorable campaigns such as Walk Like a Penguin — complete with its own poem and penguin suit that DiSciullo dons — has not only enhanced engagement, but also inspired staff buy-in for safety precautions. Under his leadership, Loveland sees fewer incidents every year, with a true culture of safety that has employees asking questions and seeking assistance, thinking ahead, and watching out for each other. For his dedication and innovative strategies to safeguard the Loveland community, NSAA named John DiSciullo a finalist for Safety Champion. 

Thank you to our 2022 Safety Awards Sponsor, Safehold Special Risk.     

2022 Safety Impact Award

This new award, first given in 2021, recognizes the extraordinary effect an individual or program had on its intended audience or target and represents ingenuity, dedication and lasting impact. NSAA was proud to honor ski industry pioneer Mary Bozack of MountainGuard Insurance Program. Read about Mary's contributions in her full profile from the 2021 Convention issue of the NSAA Journal.