Snowsports Safety

At Cooper, we want you to have a ton of fun while you’re on the mountain. But most of all, we want you to be safe. Your safety is your responsibility! Your actions on the snow not only affect your own safety, but the safety of those around you. We have a wonderful corps of highly-qualified, certified Ski Patrollers ready to help if you do have an injury or illness, and they also patrol the mountain throughout the day to help mitigate potential dangers whenever possible. But remember: your safety has to start with YOU!  For more information, check out the Cooper Safety Station, located next to the Guest Services Desk on the first floor of the base lodge.  You’ll find posters and some great literature concerning snowsports and slope safety, so check it out while you’re at Cooper!


Everyone should have a look at this policy, but it is especially imperative for you to review it if you intend to use Cooper’s terrain outside of normal operating hours, or by any means other than our passenger tramway system.

PLEASE NOTE: there have been changes to this policy for the 2017-2018 season, including a new Uphill Access Policy and Guidelines section, along with the requirement of an Uphill Access Pass Armband (it’s free) for those who wish to travel uphill by means other than the lifts.  Please read this Policy, then stop in at the Ticket Window or Guest Services Desk to sign the appropriate document and receive your Uphill Access Armband.  The Armband is required for any type of uphill access, 24 hours a day, from November 15th through April 15th.



Out of safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Ski Cooper (“Resort”) prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists – without prior written authorization from the Resort. This prohibition includes drones used for any purpose whatsoever, whether filming or videotaping, or by media or journalists operating above or within the Resort boundaries, including Chicago Ridge. This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Resort property, as well as drones launched from private property outside of the Resort boundaries. Please contact Cooper Risk Management, 719-293-8161, if you have any questions or if you have appropriate governmental authorization allowing you to operate drones above the Resort. Any authorized operation of drones must be in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations, local law enforcement, and US Forest Service rules, as well as those policies separately established by the Resort. These authorizations, regulations and rules generally require an application to the FAA, certification, training, various restrictions, safety and national security clearances, and a specific limited purpose, as well as insurance coverage, indemnification requirements, and waivers and releases of liability. Any violation of this policy may involve suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, in addition to penalties or other actions that may be taken by any of the other regulatory agencies noted above.


Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing including: Changing weather conditions, existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots; rocks; stumps; trees; collision with natural objects, man-made objects or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities. The Ski Safety Act includes, CLIFFS, EXTREME TERRAIN, JUMPS AND FREESTYLE TERRAIN as inherent dangers and risks of the sport.


These videos will help you understand how to do your part to keep the mountain safe and comfortable for everyone:


Common Sense, it’s one of the most important things to keep in mind and practice when on the slopes. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) believes education, helmet use, respect and common sense are very important when cruising down the mountain. NSAA developed Your Responsibility Code to help skiers and boarders be aware that there are elements of risk in snowsports that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce.

Seven Points to Your Responsibility Code

  1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.



You’ve arrived. You’re geared up and have a lift ticket. Now what? Go get a trail map at the base lodge or lift-ticket window. Take a few minutes to check it out. The lifts and the trails are marked on the map. The colored symbols next to the trails are the keys to enjoying your first few days on the slopes. Their shape and color indicate the difficulty of the trail.

Here’s what they mean:

Green Circle: Easier
Blue Square: More Difficult
Black Diamond: Most Difficult
Double-Black Diamond: Most Difficult, use extra caution
Orange Oval: Freestyle Terrain.

You’ll find them on trail maps and posted on signs on the mountain. The same trail symbols are used at every resort in the country, but as Albert Einstein must have said, “It’s all relative.” A Green Circle trail at Jackson Hole, Wyo., might be as tough as a Blue Square at Sunlight, Colo. Not a big deal. The trail ratings are consistent within each resort. So all the “Greens” at a ski area will be about the same difficulty, as will the “Blues” and the “Blacks.”

Before you ride a lift during your first few days, make sure you can handle the trails at the top. Some skiers think they can improve by skiing tough terrain when their skills aren’t up to that level, but that’s a good way to get hurt. Instead, take a lesson. Check your trail map and make sure the trail symbols off of that lift fit your ability. If you have any questions or need directions, go talk to a lift attendant or anyone in a resort uniform. “What’s the easiest way down?” “Where’s the closest groomed trail?” “What’s the capital of New Guinea?” They want you to have fun nearly as much as you do.


The Smart Style video along with the work
together to emphasize the importance of safety in terrain parks across the
country.  Please visit the for a comprehensive look at the
Smart Style program.

Park Smart Terrain Park Safety Points:

START SMALL – Work your way up. Build your skills.

MAKE A PLAN – Every feature. Every time.

ALWAYS LOOK – Before you drop.

RESPECT – The features and other users.

TAKE IT EASY – Know your limits. Land on your feet.

MORE RESOURCES – Learn how to keep your kids safe on ski lifts – Learn about avoiding snow immersion injury or death – Learn about the importance of helmets for kids