Middlefield, CT – When Powder Ridge finally reopens this season under new ownership, tentatively scheduled for this Thursday, the Connecticut resort will be the first ski area in the nation to require all skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets, regardless of age.
“Our philosophy is for kids of all ages to be free to explore adventure sports in a safe and protective environment,” says Sean Hayes, Powder Ridge’s CEO. “We understand how nerve-wrecking it can be to send your child onto the slopes for the first time. Parents can be assured that all safety precautions are in place at the Ridge. We mandate U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets and around-the-clock life guards at Brownstone (Adventure Park in Portland, Conn., also operated by Hayes) and we will follow the same high-standards here with helmets and the highest ski patrol protocols.”
Hayes explained that one-third of Powder Ridge is a learning center, one-third focuses on racing that the remaining third is a terrain park. He asserts that learning is best practiced with a helmet for safety. In the gates, all racing programs already require participants to wear helmets, and Powder Ridge’s race courses will be open for everyone to use. Powder Ridge is also placing terrain park features throughout the mountain for all skiers and boarders to enjoy.
“Please understand, It is not our intent or desire to regulate personal safety preferences of our customers, but because we live in a insurance-driven and litigious society, the decision to wear or not to wear a helmet on a mountain that is privately owned is no longer a decision that only affects the individual.” Hayes continues, “I grew up on motorcycles so I understand the value of being able to choose, but unfortunately we are not a public road and therefore are not protected by the government’s no-suit shield. “Unlike other mountains across the country that have primarily a powder base, we are one of the most southern of all the New England ski areas, therefore we are faced with harsher snow conditions than other mountains.”
Hayes acknowledges that some individuals may not agree, “but knowing we are an adventure sports park, wouldn’t your loved ones feel better knowing you have a helmet on?”
Visitors can bring their own helmets or rent helmets and head socks from the Rental and Leasing Center for $10 to $13 per day.