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Stratton Terrain Park Safety Pass

Stratton is the first New England Ski Resorts to require a park pass before you can ski or ride in their Terrain Parks. Read on before you ride in!

Stratton Mountain's SES Pass
You can’t ride the rails at Stratton till you get schooled. That’s right, no entry to the Freestyle Terrain Park till you have passed a safety test. You need to show your SES pass (code for Safety Education Session) as you launch into the park, proof that you have watched the 13 minute safety video and answered five 5 questions with “flying colors”-pardon my pun.

This might sound like a hassle at first, but the required SES class could save you from a big air blunder or a rail derail. Today’s parks, Stratton is no exception, are loaded with huge jumps, hidden landings and hazardous metal rails on which to impale. So take 13 minutes to view the video at or at a kiosk in Stratton’s base lodge.

StrattonI was not actually looking to go big on Stratton’s Beeline Park (one of Stratton’s five parks), but I cued up the video and watched the grabby safety film. It’s filmed primarily at California’s Northstar Resort.

The short but sweet video gives basic tips on how to approach any park, with cameos from park experts and up and coming talents. They talk about making an inspection run prior to hitting any features in a park, and about the etiquette of waiting your turn for any feature. Apparently there is a code of ethics amongst what appears to be chaos in catastrophic size jumps.

One video acronym – ATML reminds you of the steps you need to know: Approach, Take off , Maneuver, Landing – which should always be on your feet – good grounded advise! Another important message conveyed is start small and gradually work your way up the elements.

There is even a plug for helmet wearing and for seeking professional coaching in the vibrant video – more wisdom from the astute aerialists. Then you are prompted to answer five remedial questions that little Mikey and even Mom should be able to master. You receive a print out (and a responsibility waiver to sign) that you take to Stratton’s ticket window for your free official SES pass that clips onto your jacket or pants pocket. It’s kind of a Stratton status symbol I suppose, and definitely your ticket to ride the parks.

“The SES pass is a good idea, it gives people a park safety lesson,” said Sean Brenker of Long Meadow, MA. “Then they have a better understanding of what to expect and how to use the park properly.”

Dave Bottomley of Hadley, MA said, “It keeps people that don’t belong there - little kids and parents - out of the park if they don’t know the rules. Parks can be dangerous, there are blind spots under jumps and you need to know where to stand.”

I wager we will see more resorts on this bandwagon, requiring people to sign up, school up, and sign off on their own terrain park safety. After all, just because resorts build it – doesn’t make it safe for everyone’s ability level. Requiring all park and pipe riders to commit to a safety protocol and accept responsibility is a smart move for ski resorts. And as a consumer – when you are heading into the park, one or two pearls of wisdom from Stratton's SES message could save your life.

As the safety video concludes, “Regardless of what resorts build, the responsibility for safety comes down to you.”

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Bolton Valley l Bromley l Burke Mountain l Jay Peak l Hermitage l Killington l Magic l Mount Snow l Okemo l Pico l Smugglers Notch l Stowe l Stratton l Sugarbush l Suicide Six l Vermont Photos

All Stories by Heather Burke
All Photography by Greg Burke
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