Your helmet is the most important piece of gear you own - never ski/ride without it! Cascade snow is often hard as pavement, and even minor falls without a helmet can lead to serious injury.
Stay in Bounds
There is more than enough terrain within the boundaries of Steven's Pass to keep the most experienced and adventurous riders challenged and entertained. If you hike or ski out of the ski area boundary you are exposing yourself to unnecessary and life-threatening risks. Outside of the ski area boundaries there are no precautions taken to prevent avalanches or indicate hazards such as cliffs and creeks.
Ski with a Buddy
If you get hurt, or have another problem on the mountain, the best and quickest way for you to get help is to have a friend with you.
Before you start down the hill, agree which route you are taking.
Always know the name of the run you are taking.
Stay in sight of each other on the way down - stop periodically to regroup.
If your friend gets hurt, ask a passing skier to tell the lift operator to send Ski Patrol.
Stay Out of Trees
Although many expert skiers will tell you how great the powder is in the trees, it is an extremely dangerous place to ride. Even if you are wearing a helmet, a collision with a tree can be life threatening. Tree wells, the pits in the snow that form at the base of trees, are extremely dangerous. If you accidentally go head-first into a tree well you will not be able to get yourself out of it and you will suffocate in minutes. Tree wells are especially dangerous after a big snowfall.
Stay in Places You Know
Do not explore terrain you are not familiar with. Many people have ruined their day on the mountain after saying, "Hey, lets try going over there." This can lead to flat areas of deep powder that take hours to trudge out of, or a long detour around a band of cliffs. You should always limit yourself to places your instructor has taken you to. Your instructor knows the mountain better than you do, and he/she knows what you are and are not ready for.
Look Before You Leap
Never take a jump if you don't know the landing is clear. Whether you ski or snowboard, jumping is something most people like to do. But if you leap before you look you might end up colliding with someone. As the uphill skier/rider, it is your responsibility to avoid people below you, and you can only do this if you know where they are. Always have a friend spot the landing zone for you before you take a jump. Also, if you fall when making a landing, be sure to move out of the way as soon as possible (as long as it is safe for you to move).
Know the Snowrider's Responsibility Code
Regardless if you ski or snowboard, 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 codes listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.
Ski or ride under control and in such a manner that you can stop and avoid other people and objects.
When skiing or riding and overtaking another person, avoid the people below you.
Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
When entering a trial or starting downhill, yield to other skiers and snowboarders.
All skiers and snowboarders shall use devices to help prevent runaway skis and boards.
Stay off closed trails and posted areas and observe all posted signs.
Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.
Obey Warning Signs
Warning signs are posted for your protection. Skiing and snowboarding are fairly safe activities - as long as you stay within the approved areas of the mountain and don't venture into areas that are beyond your ability level.
Ski area boundary signs warn you against leaving the controlled environment of Stevens Pass Ski Resort. Beyond these signs there is no protection against avalanche, cliffs, and other hazards. "Cliffs" signs warn you against entering terrain that is too steep to be reasonably attempted by even expert skiers/snowboarders. No matter how tempting the snow may look on the other side of the sign, do not go there!
Another way resorts have of warning you trouble spots is with round, orange lollipop-shaped signs. Think of these as stop signs. Stevens Pass has a Family/Learning zone underneath the Daisy Chair. When you see the slow signs in this area please be respectful of the fact that there are many young children and novice skiers/riders in this zone and keep your speed down.
Never Stop Where You Can't Be Seen
Never stop where you cannot be seen by people above you. It is the responsibility of the uphill skier to avoid colliding with the people below them, but this is only possible if they see you. If you stop to rest just below a change in pitch, a skier or snowboarder traveling at 20-40 mph will not have time to avoid hitting you - and it will HURT! Also, changes in pitch are often places where people jump. Never, never stop to rest below a change in pitch.
Don't Adjust Bindings on a Chairlift
Never adjust your bindings while on a chairlift. You should always lower the safety bar when you get on a chairlift. This keeps you safe and gives you a place to rest your feet. If you lean over to adjust your bindings while you are on a lift, you could fall off the chair and end up seriously injured or dead. Whatever you need to do can wait until you are at the top.
Don't Attempt Anything Beyond Your Level
Don't let your friends talk you into trying to doing something that you aren't ready for. Remember, Ski School is about fun, not about impressing other people. If you have any misgivings about a jump or a descent then don't do it - whatever it is will still be there next week or next season, but you might not if you get yourself injured.