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Safety seminar educates Alpine ski community

The recent safety seminar was designed to keep skiers out of harm’s way. (Photo provided)

WILMINGTON — The Kelly Brush Foundation, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority at Whiteface Mountain and the New York Ski Educational Foundation hosted a safety seminar on Feb. 9 and 10 in conjunction with the FIS NorAm Cup races at Whiteface.

The primary objective of the seminar was to educate coaches, officials, volunteers and athletes on the importance of a comprehensive protection plan, effective on-hill communication and proper protocol during a large-scale race event.

“Sports like Alpine ski racing have inherent risks,” said John Norton, NYSEF executive director. “However, we work hard to provide the best possible venue for our athletes with the proper protection in place. Our dedicated staff, officials and volunteers are passionate about providing a safe environment — we’re happy that we were able to partner and host this unique learning opportunity for visiting coaches and officials.”

The safety seminar attendees began their first day by inspecting the NorAm Super G venue, reviewing homologation reports and identifying the safety installations on the race hill. Technical advisor for the NorAm event Trevor Wagner mentioned how important it is to be aware of your space. “It only takes a few minutes to review your surroundings and place b-net and/or padding to prevent a major injury,” he said.

Following their inspections, the group held a round-table discussion led by seminar leader and chief of race Paul Van Slyke. Other Alpine program experts joined the discussion including Norton (chief of course), Royce Van Evera (a U.S. Ski and Snowboard technical felegate) and Bob Leitch (chief of race for the Lake Louise NorAm).

Although not a part of the safety seminar, NYSEF and U.S. Ski and Snowboard saw an opportunity to educate more individuals on the importance of “Stop the Bleed” training.

Shelley Davis, a registered nurse and Alpine skiing enthusiast, offered this training in the NYSEF training center for interested families and Whiteface staff.

Davis trained small groups of people through the Stop The Bleed protocol and did a more formal presentation to discuss the risks and factors associated with bleeds specific to the sport of ski racing.

“Our community is thankful for the organizations that push to provide these educational opportunities that make ski racing fun and safe,” said Norton. “We appreciate the hard work, dedication and willingness to partner that makes this possible.”

Information on future safety seminars can be found at usskiandsnowboard.org.

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