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Safety & Policy

During the winter months our Mountain Operations team works round the clock to ensure our season starts as early as possible and extends as long as Mother Nature allows. Snow making, grooming, and the opening of new trails changes often, sometimes multiple times a day. The opening of new trails, glades, and modifying when necessary Uphill Routes are all based on Ski Patrol’s assessment of conditions, and their ability to facilitate rescue. If a Trail, Glade or Uphill Route is closed - it is for good reason. Please respect all closures, as they are in place for your safety and the safety of our staff. Failure to do so may result in the loss of ski/ride privileges, and nobody wants that.

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Your Responsibility Code

Always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing and snowboarding that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Know your ability level and stay within it. Help promote skier and rider safety awareness. Observe YOUR RESPONSIBILITY CODE shown below and share the responsibility for a great outdoor experience.

Your Responsibility Code

1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.

4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

Responsible Chair Lift Use

According to our friends at National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), using and riding chair lifts in a responsible manner is one of the primary safety considerations for all skiers and boarders. It’s your responsibility to know how to use and ride the lift safely.  Follow these guidelines to ensure your safety and the safety of others when riding our chairlifts:

1. Remove and carry packs. Do not use phones, music or games while loading or unloading.

2. Need assistance? Ask the lift attendant for help. Smallest kids should load closest to the attendant.

3. It is okay to miss a chair and wait for the next one

4. When loading, watch for approaching chair and then sit to the back once seated.

5. Drop something? Let it fall. Any item dropped can be picked up later.

6. Absolutely no horseplay on the lifts.

7. At Burke Mountain, adult passengers carrying children in their arms, or in any type of pack, may not ride on chairlifts.

Kids on Lifts

To make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible, we strongly suggest that you take the time to review the following 11 Kids-on-Lifts Safety Tips with your children before they take their first chairlift ride. Your small child (defined as a child shorter than 51" to the top of their helmet) may be assisted by the lift operator unless instructed differently by their parent or guardian.

1. A small child should not ride a chairlift alone.

2. A small child should sit to the far outside of the chair next to the armrest for added security.

3. A small child not seated next to an armrest should be accompanied by an adult.

4. When riding a fixed grip chairlift with your child (chairlifts that do not automatically slow down while loading and unloading), position them on the side next to the lift operator.

5. If your child uses ski poles they should take the straps off of their wrists and hold them in the hand away from the outside of the chair while loading.

6. Once they are ready they should quickly move from the Wait Here signs to the Load Board. They should remember "Boots on the board".

7. As the chair approaches the load board your child should turn to the outside of the chair, reach back with their free hand, and grab on to the vertical pole. They should remember "Turn, reach, and grab."

8. Your child should hold on to the vertical bar next to them all the way up the chairlift. They should remember "Hold on".

9. Your child should sit all the way back in the chair with their back touching the back of the chair. They should remember "Sit all the way back".

10. Your child should sit still until they reach the Unload Here signs. They should remember to "Sit still". Our qualified lift staff can assist with loading small children, guests of any age. Don't hesitate to ask for lift assistance, if needed.

Helmets at Burke Mountain

Along with NSAA, Burke Mountain promotes the use of helmets on the slopes. We urge skiers and riders to wear a helmet. NSAA and Burke Mountain promote wearing a properly fitting helmet while skiing and snowboarding as a primary safety consideration for all skiers and boarders.

Lids on Kids

In 2002, Lids on Kids debuted as a resource for consumers to learn about helmet use in skiing and snowboarding. This site contains FAQs about helmet use, fit and sizing information, general slope safety information, related articles and games, and testimonials about helmet use from well-known athletes, including US Ski Team members. Burke Mountain and the NSAA promote wearing a properly fitting helmet while skiing and snowboarding as a primary safety consideration for all skiers and boarders.

Park Smart Terrain Park Safety

The Park Smart Terrain Park Safety Program is as follows:

1. START SMALL. Work your way up. Build your skills.
2. MAKE A PLAN. Every feature. Every time.
3. ALWAYS LOOK before you drop.
4. RESPECT the features and others.
5. TAKE IT EASY. Know your limits. Land on your feet.

Practice Park Etiquette: Do not stop on or ride through landings. If there are orange bamboo, boards or skis in front of a jump, the jump is closed so go around the feature. When not using features, stay off to the side of the trail, out of the way. Use features in the manner in which they are intended. Don't jump off the sides of the takeoffs.

Liability Statement

All forms of alpine activities, action sports and summer attractions such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country sledding, designated sledding, the use of lifts, summer attractions and any and all summer and winter attractions are hazardous. Falls, accidents and injuries are a common occurrence therefore requiring the deliberate and conscious control of your physical body and proper use of equipment in relation to ever-changing variables and dangers. Safety is directly affected by your judgment in the severe elements of rough, high, mountain and forest terrain. Participate in these activities only within your ability level.

Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS hazards)

Skiing and snowboarding off the groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of our sport. However, if you decide to leave the groomed trails you are voluntarily accepting the risk of a deep snow immersion accident. A deep snow, or tree well immersion accident occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized and suffocates. Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as a SIS hazards or Snow Immersion Suffocation.

snow hazard 1  snow hazard 3

Become educated on how to reduce the risk of SIS hazards through your own action and awareness. ALWAYS ski or ride with a partner within viewing distance. The website is an excellent resource designed to assist all skiers and riders in educating themselves about the risks and prevention of deep snow and tree well immersion accidents.


Ride Another Day

Complementing the Responsibility Code and its 7 tenets, #rideanotherday promotes 3 actions every skier and rider can take to help keep themselves and those around safer on the slopes. These three actions are:

1. Be Ready 
Be ready to slow down or avoid objects or other people at any time. Ski and ride in such a way that you are always able to control yourself regardless of conditions and avoid others and objects you may encounter on the run, groomed or otherwise.

2. Stay Alert 
Stay alert to what’s going on around you, especially other skiers and riders. Being aware of those around and changing conditions will help you have a fun and safe day on the hill.

3. Plan Ahead
Ease up at blind spots, check uphill when merging onto trails, and give other skiers plenty of room when passing. Look out for spots on the run where traffic merges or you can't see what's coming next. If you are unfamiliar with a run, take it easy the first time down it and make note of places where you'll want to slow down, such as cat tracks and rollers. Also, give other skiers and riders lots or room, especially if you are passing them. There's plenty of space out there, so there's no need to crowd each other. 

By doing these three things every run, you'll be helping keep the slopes safe and enjoyable, for you and everyone else.

Trail Signage


Here at Burke Mountain we follow NSAA sign standards for all of our trails.

You’ve arrived. You’re geared up and have a lift ticket. Now what? Go get a trail map at the base lodge or lift-ticket window. Take a few minutes to check it out. The lifts and the trails are marked on the map. The colored symbols next to the trails are the keys to enjoying your first few days on the slopes. Their shape and color indicate the difficulty of the trail.

trail signs

Here’s what they mean:

Green Circle: Easier
Blue Square: More Difficult
Black Diamond: Most Difficult
Double-Black Diamond: Most Difficult, use extra caution
Orange Oval: Freestyle Terrain

You’ll find them on trail maps and posted on signs on the mountain. The same trail symbols are used at every resort in the country, but as Albert Einstein must have said, “It’s all relative.” A Green Circle trail at Jackson Hole, Wyo., might be as tough as a Blue Square at Sunlight, Colo. Not a big deal. The trail ratings are consistent within each resort. So all the “Greens” at a ski area will be about the same difficulty, as will the “Blues” and the “Blacks.”

Before you ride a lift during your first few days, make sure you can handle the trails at the top. Some skiers think they can improve by skiing tough terrain when their skills aren’t up to that level, but that’s a good way to get hurt. Instead, take a lesson. Check your trail map and make sure the trail symbols off of that lift fit your ability. If you have any questions or need directions, go talk to a lift attendant or anyone in a resort uniform. “What’s the easiest way down?” “Where’s the closest groomed trail?” “What’s the capital of New Guinea?” They want you to have fun nearly as much as you do.

Understanding the Trail Signs

"When Trails Turned Color" - Skiing Heritage, by John Fry & Bob Cram

Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center

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