skip navigation


National Ski Area Association Safety Code

Click on the link below to learn more about the National Ski Area Associations Safety Code. 

Safety Contest Winners!

Safety Story Contest

Recreational Safety takes Responsibility & Control

Safety Site     

Monica Palmer, RSRC Safety Administrator

The following story on Helmet Safety, by Gary Drew, is the first-place winning story from the Safety Story Contest.  Thank you, Gary, for sharing your experience with all of our fellow RSRC members.



Helmet Safety


I learned to ski late in life starting at age 50, so by then I had developed all of those attitudes that I was a strong and generally tough guy.  So, I didn’t see the need to wear a helmet because snow was generally soft and I wasn’t going to do any racing or anything, so why spend a $100 on an expensive hat.  So, I skied for 4 or 5 years like those other macho guys.

All of that changed when I was on a ski trip to Steamboat Springs with a bunch of friends from Knoxville, TN in 2002.  While skiing with my buddy, David, we had decided to stay on the mountain until the lifts had started to shut down to get the most out of the time skiing and were on the last long run back to the lodge.  By this time of the day a lot of the trails had been in the shade for some time and were beginning to refreeze in places.  So, we were taking our time to make sure of the surface conditions.  We stopped in an area where several trails joined leading to a cat trail which was the way back to the lodge.  While standing there we realized we were on a sheet of ice with virtually no skiable snow on it.  I hadn’t any more than commented about our footing when my skis flew out from under me and I landed on the back of my head.  I’m not sure how long I was out, but my friend said it was at least 15 seconds.  With some help I got my last ski off and was able to get to my feet.  We stood there for 10 to 15 minutes looking for the ski patrol to go by and maybe give some help.  But after about 10 minutes and getting colder, I decided to try to ski the rest of the way back to the lodge down that cat trail.

I made it back to the lodge but missed dinner that night and stayed up longer than normal just to be sure I was ok.  To say the least I had a headache for 3 or 4 days after, and didn’t go skiing the next couple of days.  But I did go shopping the next day!  That day I bought a helmet and would have paid $500 for it, because I had learned a big lesson.

That story should be enough to at least inspire you to consider a helmet if you don’t wear one now.  But I have one more tale to tell you.  While skiing with a client in Washington at Crystal Mountain Resort, fog rolled in making visibility about 15 to 20 feet at best.  With me not knowing the mountain, the client was doing his best to find an easy way down on trails that were wide so we would have some room to ski slowly.  Unfortunately, one of the trails was closed which forced us to ski across a mogul field to get to another wide-open trail.  I’m not a good mogul skier and on the last mogul I got spun around and landed on the back of my head in that helmet I bought in Steamboat.  Like the other fall I was out for 10 or 15 seconds and woke up with the client asking me if I was OK.  I asked him to step back so I could focus on one of three images of his face spinning around in front of me.  He helped me to my feet and we waited sometime for me to get my vision to straighten out so we could proceed the rest of the way down to the lodge.

I decided to skip seeking medical attention again and went to the bar for a beer and to sit down.  While taking off my jacket I felt something sharp sticking me in my neck.  With the jacket off I still felt this sharp object and reached down inside my sweater and pulled out a piece of my helmet.  That’s when I took a good look at the helmet and realized that it was split down the middle from front to back.  Basically, that helmet saved my life!  If you are not skiing with a helmet, you’re playing Russian Roulette with your life.

Gary Drew


Ski Injuries

Safety Site

Monica Palmer, Safety Administrator

Recreational Safety takes Responsibility and Control

Ski Injuries


Many of the snow sport injuries are traumatic. They are often caused by being on dangerous grounds, lift accidents, falls, and collisions. Fatigue after a long, active day or poor judgment may be another reason, too. The most common causes of this type of injuries are:

  • Timing, skiing/snowboarding with no breaks
  • Skiing/snowboarding without consideration to aptitude level
  • Unsuitable/faulty equipment
  • Inadequate adjustment to altitude
  • Dehydration/fatigue
  • Skiing/snowboarding off trail or in secluded areas
  • Failure to adjust to posted warning signs

This list was courtesy of Raleigh Orthopedic.

Three Common Ski Injuries and How to Prevent Them

  1. Knee tears and sprains

Whether you or a buddy has torn or sprained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL), you’ve likely heard horror stories of knee-related ski injuries. Often, such injuries are fatigue or fitness-related and occur with turning, stopping, and falling. To help avoid ACL and MCL tears, strengthen backside muscles including glutes and hamstrings. Even strengthening the soleus gastroc can balance the stress on the frontside of your leg.

  1. Lower leg strains and ruptures

Achilles ruptures, tibial fractures, and ankle injuries rank among common skier ailments. To avoid them, triple check your binding settings. Also, work to strengthen your foot, ankle, soleus gastroc, and anterior tibilais.

  1. Upper extremity fractures

Skiers often instinctively stretch out their arms to break a fall, which puts shoulders, arms, and hands at risk of fracture and strains. Skier’s thumb, for example, results from falling on an outstretched arm with a pole-in-hand, which can cause a ligament tear. Tip: Drop your poles when you’re going down. Also, improving overall fitness, core strength, and safe falling skills can help avoid arm-breakers. 

Courtesy of Elizabeth Carey and


Nevada Bicycle Laws & Safety

Safety Site

Monica Palmer, Safety Administrator

Recreational Safety takes Responsibility and Control

Nevada Bicycle Laws

Did you know that Nevada is well known as a popular place for cyclists? The state is crisscrossed with all kinds of bike paths, trails, and parks, as well as biking clubs with some of them dating back to when Europeans first came to the state!

Nevada has quite a bit of legislation around keeping cyclists safe and ensuring that cyclists are safe. What are the bike laws in Nevada that you should know about?

Riding With Traffic

Compared to many other states in America, Nevada has simple and common laws when it comes to how bikes and cars are to interact safely on the road. Bicycles can ride on the street all over the state and they are also permitted on most sidewalks unless local regulations dictate otherwise (this tends to happen in large cities like Reno).

Nevada observes the three feet of clearance law wherein cars are required to keep three feet of distance between themselves and cyclists. (This is also known as a vulnerable user’s law which covers penalties on drivers who violate the law, causing injury or death to a cyclist).

This law applies on single-lane roads. On multi-lane highways, Nevada goes one step further, stating that cars must give cyclists a full lane of space.

Cyclists must return the favor and ride at least three feet away from parked cars at all times. It’s also heavily suggested that cyclists listen for cars approaching and do not follow them too closely or in a blind spot. It’s also illegal to ride while clinging to a car or to carry things in such a way that the rider cannot keep both hands on the handlebars.

Cyclists must ride as far to the right as possible, except in the following cases:

If it’s too dangerous to ride to the right (debris, wildlife, construction, etc)

If you’re going to turn left.

If you’re traveling as fast as the traffic around you.

Nevada does require that cyclists are to ride in bike lanes when they are clearly marked; but there is nothing about riding in bike paths parallel to the road, though it’s not a bad idea to do it anyway.

The bike lanes in Nevada are clearly marked and in the rare cases where they are being shared with vehicles, cars are to treat bikes the exact same way they would cars. Cyclists may ride two abreast, but if there is traffic, it’s best to ride in single file for the sake of courtesy.

Bikes are considered vehicles and must obey the same laws. Nevada does observe the Idaho stop law. This means that cyclists can ride through a red light if the red light fails to catch the cyclist and goes stale as a result.

Otherwise, they must signal before turning or changing lanes, obey the traffic signs and can ride on highways as long as they obey the signs when told to exit. In Nevada, cyclists can also ride on freeways, except where prohibited such as in most municipal areas.

Cyclists will get citations if they don’t follow any of the regulations and they receive the same fines and punishments as drivers, so they really are treated the same way all around. Nevada is a little more unique in this compared to many other states.

Riding Safely

Nevada has solid laws around properly lighting one’s bicycle while riding at night. This was done to address visibility issues. When riding at night, or at any time when it’s too hard to see vehicles 1,000 feet ahead, cyclists must have the following on their bikes in order to be both safe and legal:

A front headlamp that emits a white light visible from at least five hundred feet.

Reflective materials on the sides of the bike that is visible from at least six hundred feet, or a lamp visible on both sides that is visible from at least five hundred feet.

A red rear reflector that is visible from between fifty and three hundred feet.

The main issue for Nevada does seem to be visibility. It is not illegal to ride without wearing a helmet, though it’s also not a very good idea as it’s quite dangerous and in an accident, a helmet is your best protection.

All bikes need to have brakes which can make the wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

It’s most important to ensure that you’re always watching around yourself while you ride for other traffic, as well as cyclists and pedestrians. Many accidents come about as a result of not being mindful of others, so the best prevention is to be aware.

Nevada does not forbid riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; however, we wouldn’t recommend doing it as it’s far more likely riders will get into a serious accident.

Electric Bikes in Nevada

Electric bikes are defined as two or three-wheeled bikes with an automatic transmission and a motor that has less than 750W. Nevada only allows electric bikes to go a maximum of 20mph on level ground. Licensing and registration are not required, but helmets are.

Electric bikes can only be ridden on roads where the posted speed limit is lower than the speed of the device and just like regular bikes, electric ones have to be ridden far to the right and riders must obey all road laws and rules. There isn’t much more on the books about electric bikes in Nevada; they are mostly treated as bicycles, other than having a cap on speed.

The state of Nevada doesn’t have anything too strange when it comes to the bike laws that must be observed. The state does allow for things

like Idaho stop and three feet of clearance, but the state doesn’t really care whether riders wear helmets or not. It’s important to keep track of your own safety while riding to make sure that you are both legal to ride and safe at the same time. Enjoy!