The town of Breckenridge is in the process of passing a municipal ordinance that will translate the Colorado Ski Safety Act from state law into local law.
If the ordinance passes a second reading on Dec. 8 at the town council, it will officially become law.
Breckenridge Police Chief Rick Holman said the purpose of this legislation is to give local authorities the ability to cite violators in a municipal court.
“Our intent for that was so that if we respond to any of these types of incidents in those areas of ski runs in town limits we can cite them in a municipal court instead of citing them into a state court system,” Holman said.
There had been rumors that the Breckenridge Police Department was planning to increase their presence on the slopes this year. However, Holman said this isn’t entirely the truth due to recent budget cuts.
“We had an increased presence last winter and we’re going to try to do that same type of enforcement this year,” Holman said. “But it will be challenging because we have less staff members this year because of the reduction of budgets going on everywhere.”
Despite budget issues, Holman said they were still hoping to have the ability to enforce the Colorado Ski Safety Act on the slopes this winter to some extent.
“I don’t expect we will be able to do a lot of things but there are some times we’re going to try to have an increased presence and visibility up there,” Holman said.
Most students seemed surprised at the idea of cops patrolling the slopes. Some said they weren’t even aware that police were present at ski resorts.
Callan Jones, a 23-year-old senior and integrated physiology major, said she was amazed to hear that police sometimes patrol the trails and said she felt that it might create unnecessary conflicts.
“I knew that they had ski patrollers but to actually put police out there kind of could create situations for some skiers and snowboarders that could escalate into more than it really should,” Jones said.
Ryan Nulton, a 19-year-old sophomore and business major, said he felt that people should be able to exercise freedom on the slopes, and that they will do just that despite a possible increase in police enforcement.
“It’s more fun for people to be able to go out and do their own thing, and be free on the slopes,” Nulton said. “I think people will still do the same thing they’re doing. They’ll probably just be more careful about it.”
What can skiers and snowboarders expect on the slopes this winter in the way of police officers?
Holman said officers will be regulating near terrain parks and ski runs.
“We try to have officers in a marked modified police uniform so they have increased visibility in and around the terrain-park and on the faces of the ski runs,” Holman said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Maria DiManna at Maria.firstname.lastname@example.org.