Heavenly trying to snuff out smoking in chairlifts, lift lines
Telltale puffs of smoke coming from Heavenly Mountain Resort’s chairlifts may be a less-common occurence these days, now that the resort has changed its smoking policy.
Signs telling visitors smoking no longer is allowed on chairlifts or in lift lines started going up last weekend.
“We are prohibiting smoking in all of our lift lines and on all or our lifts,” said Russ Pecoraro, spokesman for the resort. “We think that it’s going to be a welcome change to many of our guests.”
The change follows complaints from some Heavenly customers, including anti-smoking advocate and South Shore resident Diana Woodbury, who wrote a letter to the resort Jan. 10 after a bad experience.
“Please ban smoking at Heavenly,” the letter reads. “I am still sick tonight from riding behind someone smoking a cigar in the chairlift this morning. My throat and lungs are raw from coughing, my lungs hurt, and I had an asthma attack. When you are riding behind someone in the chairlift, you can’t exactly jump out of the chair to get away from the tobacco smoke.”
While Woodbury has been pleased with the prohibition, Heavenly guests still were seen smoking in lift lines Wednesday. Woodbury said she hopes the resort will step up enforcement of the new policy by issuing fines.
Lift operators will be at least partially enlisted to help enforce the ban, but resort officials are optimistic patrons will respect the policy change, Pecoraro said.
“We hope that guests just take the initiative and make this a thing we don’t have to enforce,” Pecoraro said.
Heavenly allows smoking in designated areas at each of its lodges, Pecoraro added.
The ban drew mixed reactions from snowsports enthusiasts Thursday.
“That’s weak sauce,” said Stateline resident Dan Gold, who said he didn’t like the ban at all.
But Meyers resident Ian Cruess said he’s pretty understanding of people and doesn’t care if they smoke or not.
“I don’t mind it personally,” Cruess said.
Smoking policies vary among South Shore ski resorts.
Sierra-at-Tahoe restricts smoking to a designated area on a balcony outside the Sierra Pub.
Although Sierra-at-Tahoe spokeswoman Kirstin Cattell didn’t have the exact date of when the resort began prohibiting smoking in lift lines and on its chairlifts, she said it has been “within the last couple of years.”
Kirkwood does not have an official smoking policy, although the resort discourages guests from smoking in lift lines, on the lifts or within 25 feet of doorways, according to Kirkwood spokesman Daniel Pistoresi.
“There is the potential for us modifying our smoking policy next season,” Pisterosi said.
– Tribune staff writer Sara Thompson contributed to this report.
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