Heavenly supports helmet bill | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Heavenly supports helmet bill

LAKE TAHOE – Truckee/Tahoe ski and snowboard resorts could be in for a flurry of strict regulations as early as the 2010-11 winter season should Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger OK a pair of bills moving through the state legislature.

On Wednesday, the state senate passed SB880 by a 21-11 vote, and the assembly approved AB1652 by a 43-19 vote.

SB880 – introduced by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco – would require skiers and snowboarders under 18 to wear helmets at all California winter resorts; according to the bill, violators would be fined up to $25.

Heavenly Mountain Resort fully supports both bills and commended California legislators for spearheading the way to safer slopes, said spokesman Russ Pecoraro.

“We absolutely support the law and we think it’s a great way for California to show leadership,” said Pecoraro. “We think it’s a positive story to tell.”

Pecoraro said like many other resorts in the region, Heavenly has taken the initiative in safety planning by requiring all employees and those participating in their ski school to where helmets. As a resort, he said safety has always been the underlying priority.

“At Heavenly we’ve taken a leadership stance early on,” he said.

Pecoraro preferred not to speculate on what financial impacts the bills might raise for California ski resorts but reaffirmed safety as fundamental in the resort community.

Sean Kristl, marketing manager at Squaw Valley USA, said the resort supports helmet requirements, and it already requires the use of helmets by all race team members and ski school participants.

“As a ski resort we are safety-oriented,” Kristl said. “We’re supportive of any type of safety initiatives.”

Michael Gross, Squaw Valley’s risk manager, said he is familiar with both bills but is still reviewing their wording and fine print – especially that of the assembly bill – before offering the resort’s official stance.

Rachael Woods, public relations manager at Alpine Meadows and Homewood Mountain resorts, shared a similar stance, in that the resorts support the helmet bill but still need time to review AB1652 before an official comment can be made.

At Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, Public Relation Manager Jessica Van Purnis said their resort willingly supports the state’s decision to use bicycle helmet legislation as the model for its ski helmet mandate for children under the age of 18.

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