Expert gives tips on staying safe while hitting the slopes this ski season

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Friday, January 12, 2024
Expert gives tips on staying safe in the snow this ski season
As the news of the deadly Palisades Tahoe resort avalanche is devastating the ski community, we spoke with an expert on ways to maximize your safety.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Given certain conditions, avalanches are a risk on snow-covered mountains.

Mike Reitzell, president of the Petaluma-based organization Ski California, said Wednesday was a tough day.

"There's a profound sadness that goes across the industry and there's so much passion in skiing and riding, people care about other people that want to be part of this," Reitzell said.

Ski California represents 36 resorts in California and Nevada.

RELATED: Avalanche kills 1, hurts 3 at CA's Palisades Tahoe ski resort as powerful storm moves in

Reitzell says the one thing they all have in common is: they do not compromise on safety.

"The same things that resorts do on a daily basis, they're going to do that - they're going to analyze the snowpack, they're going to look at the weather, they're going to look at historical data," Reitzell said.

Bay Area ski and sporting goods stores sell avalanche safety equipment like Outback Adventures in Fremont.

Recco is a rescue technology that can locate people buried or lost outdoors.

VIDEO: Santa Cruz man misses Palisades Tahoe avalanche by minutes, helps skiers navigate

A Santa Cruz man who was snowboarding at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort on Wednesday says he and his friend missed the deadly avalanche my minutes.

For many brands, it's already embedded in jackets or backpacks.

"I think everything that I wear just has a Recco in it. I haven't even tried to necessarily do that but almost all the gear just comes with it these days. Which is great because resorts have the ability to find those wherever they are, so that's a very helpful tool for sure," Reitzell said.

Safety gear may not prevent the power of a deadly snow slide, but it could help locate someone.

"Just be prepared for the types of conditions that are out there, know your limit, know your ability on the mountain as well," Reitzell said.

MORE: Snowboarder saved from being buried alive in viral video -- and his rescuer -- speak out on ordeal

In 2017, Ski California created a Mountain Safety Guide so resorts can provide a common message of safety to educate skiers and riders.

"We'd love people to read that and take those things you learn on the guide down to the mountain," Reitzell said.

This year, Ski California will be holding their 6th Annual Safety Day and it will take place on Jan. 27.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live