By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Anna Kimball prefers to hit the slopes with friends.
They act not only as good company, but a form of safety as well.
“When you fall down and you’re in a lot of powder and you need help to dig out, it’s nice to have somebody like be accountable for you and where you are,” Kimball said.
When it comes to the slopes, better to be safe than sorry.
That’s what Mt. Bachelor has in mind for their buddy system, a new safety procedure they will implement after a winter storm dumped six feet of snow on the ski area in the last week.
Mt. Bachelor is preparing to open the Northwest Express chairlift and when it opens, the mandatory “buddy riding” will be enforced on West Bowls.
It’s a precaution Jennifer Lachman thinks is smart, whether you’re used to skiing with a partner or not. And, she said, it’s a good way to prepare for the unexpected.
“Well there’s always going to be people who are not making awesome choices or just find themselves in unexpected situations,” Lachman said. “Hard to plan for everything.”
According to Mt. Bachelor’s Conditions Report:
“Ski Patrol may be checking buddies at entry points to runs on terrain like West Bowls. If you exit a run and lift without your buddy…you may / may not be able to load the lift until buddies have been reconnected.”
“If you’re going to be off-piste at all or skiing in the trees, then you absolutely should be skiing with somebody else,” Lachman said. “But I can see where it could be pretty hard for someone to enforce.”
Mt. Bachelor has enforced mandatory buddy riding in the past.
“If you’re going to be out in the trees, you probably should have a buddy anyways. If you’re just doing groomers and you’re easy to spot, like you wouldn’t need a buddy for that,” Kimball said. “But on powder days where it is a little sketchy, it’s probably safer to ride with a buddy.”