VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – They’re bundling up, packing heat, and hitting the slopes. Six police officers are working Vail Mountain to keep an eye on skiers and snowboarders.
Every year there are incidents of assaults on the slopes and then there are the skiers who go to fast, making it dangerous for everybody. Vail has plenty of staff to work the mountain, but Vail police thought they could just help out by adding to the numbers.
“Every once in a while, you know very rare, we’ll get some assaults that occur on the mountain, some behavior that’s inappropriate. That’s something we really like to take a hard stance on,” Craig Bettis with the Vail Police Department said.
The officers roam the entire mountain trying to protect “slow zones,” investigate crashes and handle disputes.
Skiers have taken notice.
“It’s kind of like when you’re driving on the highway and you see a police car, you slow down whether you’re speeding or not,” Josh Larsen with Vail police said.
Tickets won’t be issued by the officers, but breaking skiing code can bring an immediate court summons.
Vail welcomes the police work.
“Mostly we’re here to support them and their functions on a day-to-day basis,” Larsen said.
The officers are a volunteer force. Their presence on the mountain is as much about outreach as it is about enforcement.
Vail police say the worst problem is with people who try to forge ski passes.
Several other Colorado ski areas, including Breckenridge, Monarch and Durango Mountain welcome officers who volunteer to ski in uniform and help patrol the slopes.