Ski patrol resting with their rescue dogs

Mountain Safety

Ski California Mountain Safety Guide

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All resort personnel, along with dedicated safety professionals, address safety every day and in every facet of operations. The industry carefully develops safety measures by using the vast experience of safety professionals, history, and forethought.

The industry is committed to ensuring the safest experience for guests while maintaining the history, integrity, and nature of snow sports. CSIA member resorts focus on and invest considerable resources in safety measures to create a balance between enjoyment of the natural mountain environment and mitigation of the sport’s risks. As an industry, we stand behind our experience and collective efforts to reduce injuries, promote safety, and educate the skiing public.

Download the safety guide

How to Load and Unload a Chairlift

1. When loading the chair, move promptly from the waiting area to the load area after the chair in front passes.
2. At the loading area, look back and to the outside for the on-coming chair and grab the part of the chair that is easiest for you, typically a side bar, back rest, or top of the seat.
3. Once seated, if the lift is equipped with a RESTRAINT BAR pull it down if you can do so safely, and politely announce that the bar is being lowered.
4. While riding the chair, ALWAYS SIT BACK and remain seated.
5. DO NOT FOOL AROUND with your equipment or others.
6. If the lift slows or stops, do not turn around, bounce, or otherwise move on the chair.
7. When you are preparing to unload the chair, politely announce that you are raising the bar.
8. Keep your ski tips or the front of your board up and straight ahead.
9. After you unload, move away from the unloading ramp to avoid obstructing others.
10. If you fail to unload at the unload area, remain completely seated and wait for the operator to stop the chairlift and provide assistance.

Know the Code

Skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the safety code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

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

Helmets are recommended while skiing and riding. See Lids on Kids for more information:

A helmet is one additional tool for slope safety, and the National Ski Patrol recommends wearing one while skiing or boarding: NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION.

Freestyle Terrain Safety

Freestyle Terrain is becoming more popular at resorts and its proper use is important. The National Ski Areas Association and Burton Snowboards have developed the “Smart Style” Freestyle Terrain Safety initiative, a cooperative effort to continue the proper use and progression of freestyle terrain at mountain resorts, while also delivering a unified message that is clear, concise and effective.
The 4 main points of Smart Style

Make a Plan
– Every time you use freestyle terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use.
-Your speed, approach and take off will directly affect your maneuver and landing.
Look Before You Leap
– Before getting into freestyle terrain observe all signage and warnings.
– Scope around the jumps first, not over them.
– Use your first run as a warm up run and to familiarize yourself with the terrain.
– Be aware that the features change constantly due to weather, usage, grooming and time of day.
– Do not jump blindly, and use a spotter when necessary.
Easy Style It
– Know your limits and ski/ride within your ability level.
– Look for small progression parks or features to begin with, and work your way up.
– Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air.
– Do not attempt any features unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely.
– Inverted aerials increase your risk of injury and are not recommended.
Respect Gets Respect
– Respect the terrain and others (freestyle terrain is for everyone regardless of equipment or ability).
– One person on a feature at a time.
– Wait your turn and call your start.
– Always clear the landing area quickly.
– Respect all signs and stay off closed terrain and feature.

Kids Safety – Helmet Use and Chairlift Safety

Homewood promotes the use of helmets on the slopes, especially for children. We urge skiers and riders to wear a helmet – but to ski or ride as if they are not wearing a helmet. Homewood views skiing and snowboarding in a controlled and responsible manner – not helmets only – as the primary safety consideration for all skiers and boarders. A skier’s behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sport as does any piece of equipment.

Using a chair lift or gondola while skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, or even just sightseeing, is an exceptionally safe and secure mode of transportation. Nonetheless incidents and accidents can happen – especially when people are unaware of loading, riding and unloading procedures. Educate your children about loading, riding and unloading lifts. Be sure to emphasize courteous behavior and utilize these Tips for Responsible Lift Use to get your points across. Slope safety and personal responsibility should be discussed prior to hitting the slopes or using a lift.

Keep in mind, when your child loads a lift chair without you, they may not always be riding with another adult. Remember, it’s your responsibility to know how to use and ride the lift safely as well as your child’s. Having the knowledge and dexterity to use the lift properly will ensure fun for everyone.

Avalanche Safety

While snow safety and avalanche mitigation efforts help reduce the risk of avalanches, avalanches and snow slides may occur at Homewood Mountain Resort, both inside and outside of the posted boundaries. Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow and its accumulation on steep, mountainous terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions and awareness. Visit the Sierra Avalanche Center or contact the Homewood ski patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

– Taking these steps may help reduce the risk:
– Always ski with a partner and keep them within your sight at all times
– Obey all signs and closures
– Carry avalanche equipment such as beacons or transceivers, reflectors, probes and shovels when skiing or riding in areas where avalanches may occur.
– Consider wearing a helmet.
– Visit the Sierra Avalanche Center or contact the Homewood ski patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

Backcountry Access

Homewood Mountain Resort maintains an open boundary policy which opens our boundaries to an untracked world for experienced skiers and riders. Travel in the backcountry can be exhilarating, but it can also present risks and dangers. The area beyond the ski area boundary is in its natural state and entering the backcountry involves risks including those risks posed by deep snow, avalanches, steep terrain, cliffs and other terrain variations. We do not perform avalanche control or patrol beyond our boundary and take no additional measures to mitigate the hazards to which skiers/boarders might be exposed. Persons skiing or riding beyond the ski area boundary assume all risks inherent in the backcountry. Before you leave the ski area boundary, please take time to educate yourself about the backcountry. It is unlawful for skiers or riders to cross through Closed Areas to access the ski area boundary. Ski and ride responsibly.

Download winter trail map

Uphill Policy

Due to safety and environmental concerns, uphill travel is not allowed at Homewood Mountain Resort at any time once there is snow on the ground. Resort vehicles may be in operation on any trail or road at any time. Unanticipated encounters with a hiker or skier can be catastrophic. As stewards of our environment, we are obligated to protect the resources that we care take. That stewardship requires that a thorough assessment be made of a trail or road’s stability. Unanticipated impacts may result from uphill traffic. For these reasons and others, Homewood Mountain Resort has banned all uphill traffic.

Sledding and Tubing

Sledding and tubing is also prohibited. There may be times when Homewood Mountain Resort creates designated areas for sledding and tubing. Please check with Guest Services to determine if these areas are in operation.

Tree Well and Deep Snow Safety

Skiing and snowboarding off the groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of the sport. However, if you decide to leave the groomed trails you are voluntarily accepting the risk of a deep snow immersion accident. A deep snow or tree well immersion accident occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep, unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized and suffocates. Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as a NARSID or Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of NARSID through your own action and awareness. For more information about the risks and prevention of deep snow immersion accidents please visit

Drone Policy

Due to safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Homewood Mountain Resort (HMR) prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists – without the prior written authorization from HMR. This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within HMR boundaries. This prohibition does not apply to our partners, Cape Productions, who has received a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This extends to drones launched from private property outside of the HMR boundaries but flying over HMR property. Please contact a resort representative at 530-584-6847 if you have any questions or if you seek prior authorization to operate any aerial drones. Violation of this policy may result in suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, revocation of your season pass, legal responsibility for damages, including privacy and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees.

Dog Policy

Avalanche Dog Program – Homewood recently reestablished the Ski Patrol avalanche dog program. Due to this program, there are several rules for dogs accessing the mountain and dogs riding chairlifts. Other certain “common sense” strategies will also be implemented concerning dogs and other animals.
On mountain and chairlifts – Under no circumstances are dogs allowed on any Homewood chairlifts or on any part of the mountain unless approved by the ski patrol director and part of the Homewood ski patrol avalanche dog program or enrolled in the avalanche training program. This is to limit distractions of avalanche dogs on the mountain, and for the safety of employees, guests and the animals themselves.
Base Area – Well behaved dogs are welcomed in the base areas of the resort. This includes the North Lodge base area, parking lots, Marina and the South Base. All dogs must be leashed at all times, well behaved and under control of the dog’s owner. All dogs are the liability of the owner and the owner assumes such liability. Homewood has a one strike policy, and a dog and owner may be asked to leave at any time. Owners are also expected to clean up and dispose of any dog waste.
Restaurants – Only certified and licensed service dogs are allowed in Homewood restaurants and food and beverage facilities, including the West Shore Cafe.

Snowskates allowed

Snowskates are welcomed at Homewood Mountain Resort. Every snowskate rider must have an approved leash attached to their board and body and will be expected to ride in control at all times.

Snow Bikes – not allowed

Snow Bikes are not allowed here at Homewood Mountain Resort.

Chairlift Safety