Intrawest today announced that, beginning with the 2009-2010 winter season, the Company will increase awareness of the importance of helmet use at all of its wholly-owned ski resorts in North America. Intrawest will recommend that all skiers and snowboarders visiting its resorts wear helmets and there will be mandatory helmet requirements for all children and youth participants in Ski and Snowboard School Programs as well as all students participating in freestyle terrain park programs, regardless of their age. The new helmet use guidelines underscore Intrawest's commitment to guest safety and have the support of the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) and Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA).
A helmet will be included with all children/youth ski and snowboard rental packages from all of Intrawest's equipment rental outlets. The new guidelines will be supported with enhanced employee education sessions and common language highlighting the importance of helmet use will appear on resort websites and in all trail maps. Going forward, Intrawest will place an increased focus on using website images and advertising visuals that feature skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets and Intrawest will introduce new graphic standards that require all of its ski resorts to feature helmets predominantly.
In the past at some resorts, a parent/guardian has had the ability to opt-out of having their children wear a helmet in certain on-mountain programs and activities. Beginning this season, Intrawest will remove the parent/guardian "opt-out clause" from all children's waivers for Ski and Snowboard School Programs and all freestyle terrain park student programs.
Looking ahead to the 2010-2011 winter season, Intrawest will require employees to wear a helmet at all times while skiing or snowboarding on-duty in any freestyle terrain park at its resorts. Staff at Intrawest's Ski and Snowboard Schools will also be required to wear a helmet if they serve as a guide or an instructor for any program that requires mandatory helmet use by a resort guest. Several Intrawest resorts will begin to implement these new employee helmet use guidelines this winter and the remaining resorts will be fully compliant by the beginning of the 2010-2011 winter season.
"Intrawest is working in conjunction with the ski industry to establish important best practices on behalf of our resort guests and employees", said Bill Jensen, chief executive officer at Intrawest. "Together, we have established a new baseline for helmet use at our resorts that has received strong support from the NSAA and CWSAA. We will continue to work with all of the ski industry associations in the United States and Canada to raise awareness of this important initiative and the obligation of everyone to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner".