As the snow sports season continues through April 7 at discount prices at Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, Snowshoe and Holiday Valley, N.Y., thanks to recent snowfalls, veteran members of the National Ski Patrol offer the following advice to skiers and snowboarders.
"Wear a helmet, take a lesson, ski/snowboard defensively.
Look up the hill before you merge into the oncoming traffic and never, ever stop smack in the center of a hill where you can't be seen from above. -- Kristen Goodell, Boyce Park.
"Never stop improving your abilities." -- Tom and Ron Eshleman, Hidden Valley.
"Don't do anything stupid." -- Anna Hermann, Blue Knob.
"[A helmet] is, by far, the best single thing anyone can do to protect themselves." -- Zoe Hermann, Blue Knob.
"Wear a helmet, wrist/arm guards and take a lesson. Check the trail map and stay on slopes that suit your ability." Liz Hermann, Blue Knob, Anna and Zoe's mother.
"Use common sense. If the slope is over your head, don't ski/snowboard it. Take a lesson instead. If you're tired, take a rest."
"The majority of accidents happen in the late afternoon when people are tired, the light is flat and snow conditions may be deteriorating. Don't go for one last run." -- Marty Silverman, Hidden Valley.
Silverman, the director for the Western Appalachian Region of the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol, also said the patrol, the on-mountain first responders to injured skiers and snowboarders, is recruiting patrol candidates for next season.
Fred Fargotstein, director of the Laurel Highlands Nordic Ski Patrol, also is looking for Nordic patrol candidates.
His advice to cross-country skiers included a fanny pack with an extra layer of clothing, a fire-building kit in case of an emergency, a flashlight, a fully charged cell phone, a trail map, hydration, food/energy bars, dressing in layers, pacing yourself, having at least one companion and checking your equipment before setting out.
Call them the repeat champions.
Zolin Cook, Ryan O'Mahony and Eric Beringer, racing for Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering, again won the Corporate Cup competition recently at Seven Springs.
Tim Chappell, competing for Bayer MaterialScience, again had the fastest time on the Avalanche slope (31.97 seconds). And the Stantec Architecture team again won the sporting clays competition with a 403. The sharpshooters included Tony Bucciero, Randy Grossman, Dan Petruzzi and Jim Schmitt.
The annual event, a fundraiser for Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, has raised more than $700,000 since 1984, including $50,000 this year. Visit www.blindvr.org.
Late season special
Wisp, which received 186 inches of natural snow this season, will offer snow-tubing, snowmobile tours and rail-sliding at its Adventure Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. next week. Its slopes and trails close at 5 p.m. Sunday.
A Seven Springs lift attendant who now knows better greeted resort owner Bob Nutting (also Pirates chairman of the board) by name recently when he saw him in the lift line. The response from those who overheard the greeting was immediate.
Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.