Safety - Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Patrollers, First Aid & Safe Slopes.

Winter Safety &
Risk Awareness

Skiing, snowboarding and other activities that take place at ski areas involve the risk of injury. It's important to stay informed as a guest and always follow the Responsibility Codes.

Safety & Risk Awareness

Skiing, snowboarding, biking and other activities that take place at ski areas involve the risk of injury. The information contained in this Safety and Risk Awareness website is intended to inform you of the risks, dangers and hazards that you may encounter at a ski area and help you to stay safe while enjoying these activities.

Alpine Responsibility

We invite you to check out our safety tips, and review the Alpine Responsibility Code. It is all about safety.

  Alpine Responsibility


Trail Difficulty

Learn more about our trail difficulty signs, please take the time to understand them and follow them.

  Trail Difficulty

Mountain Safety

Mountain Signage

The following signs are displayed at Mount Washington, please take the time to understand them and follow them.


Mountain Safety Helmet Usage

Helmet Usage

Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. 

  Learn More


Violation of skiing/boarding policies by Mount Washington Alpine Resort users could result in loss of lift privileges.


  2. Violation of the Alpine Responsibility Code resulting in a collision.
  3. Leaving the scene of an incident in which you were involved or failing to report the incident to Patrol.
  4. Being uncooperative, use of inappropriate language and/or attempting to evade Patrol or other authority.
  5. Skiing or boarding PERMANENTLY CLOSED areas or AVALANCHE-CLOSED areas.


  • (1) 1st Offence - Loss of lift privileges for 1 week to duration of season.
    (1) 2nd Offence - Loss of lift privileges for 2 weeks to duration of season.
    (1) 3rd Offence - Loss of lift privileges for remainder of season.
  • (2) Loss of lift privileges for 4-6 weeks.
  • (3) Loss of lift privileges for remainder of season.
  • (4) Loss of lift privileges for remainder of season.
  • (5) Loss of lift privileges for duration of season.

Alpine & Nordic Responsibility Code

There are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decide to use the slopes, always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe outdoor experience. Be aware! Ski and ride with care.

  1. Always stay in control. You must be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right-of-way. You must avoid them.
  3. Stop only where you are visible from above and do not restrict traffic.
  4. Look uphill and avoid others before starting downhill or entering a trail.
  5. You must prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Read and obey all signs, warnings, and hazard markings.
  7. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  8. You must know how and be able to load, ride, and unload lifts safely. If you need assistance, ask the lift attendant.
  9. Do not use lifts or terrain when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  10. If you are involved in a collision or accident, share your contact information with each other and a ski area employee.

Basic Safety

  • Plan ahead for variations in weather, dress and gear up appropriately, proper tuned gear, warmth and visibility are key components of safety – if in doubt check us out at the Rossignol Demo Centre or at the Outdoor Elements retail store.
  • Be aware of changing snow surface conditions check the groomed run reports on line at our web site or smart phone app
  • Only ski and snowboard in areas compatible with your ability – progression is the key to safe success
  • If you fall, and you are unhurt, on the slopes or chairlift ramp move quickly to the side to avoid becoming an obstacle for other skiers or riders who could hurt you or themselves
  • Slow skiing areas are intended for beginner skiers - passing or jumping are not allowed in these areas
  • It is your responsibility to follow the Alpine Responsibility Code or Nordic Responsibility Code at all times
  • Mount Washington's inbound terrain includes natural hazards including cliffs and cornices. Ski with caution, unmarked objects and hazards may exist.

Safe Slopes Team:

Our full time Safe Slopes team members are out on the hill day and night during operation patrolling the runs enforcing the Alpine Responsibility Code. They are on the lookout for people who violate the A.R.C. or are being reckless in slow zones or other areas. They are there offering tips and rewards on how to be or for being in compliance but also issuing warnings and suspending skiing privileges in severe cases to those not following the code. Know the Code it is YOUR responsibility! You can help the Safe Slope Team members by skiing or riding in control, by travelling at the same speed as others in Slow Zones, and by using common sense and courtesy while on our mountain.

Tobogganing Policy

Tobogganing (using snow disks, crazy carpets, GT snow Racers, garbage bags or any other non-approved snow sliding devices) at any time is NOT PERMITTED on any Mount Washington Property with the exception of the Nordic Tobogganing area at the Raven Lodge. A much better sliding option is the New Snow Tubing Park. The park provides a safe and controlled sliding environment. The best part is you don't have to walk uphill - there's a lift!

Helmet Usage

Mount Washington Alpine Resort recommends wearing helmets for skiing and riding. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. The primary safety consideration, and obligation under the Alpine Responsibility Code, is to ski and ride in a controlled and responsible manner. Lids On Kids

Tree Well Information

  • Always ski or ride with a partner
  • Keep your partner in sight and stay in visual contact so they can see you if you fall
  • Stay close enough to either pull or dig each other out

Natural hazards such as tree wells occur within and outside of the ski area boundary. Mount Washington Alpine Resort would like to remind all guests to ski and ride with care, obey all mountain signage, and ski/ride with a partner or group. A tree well is a hole or depression that forms around the base of a tree while snow accumulates. A tree well incident occurs when a person falls, head first, into an area of deep snow around the base of a tree and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become. The risks of a tree well accident or fatality can be reduced by following these basic practices.

Common Questions

How can I tell that I'm in a Slow Zone?

There are a couple of ways. First of all, have a look at our trail map. The Slow Zones are highlighted in green. You will notice that most of them are beginner runs. When you are on the mountain look for 'Slow' or 'Slow Zone' banners.

How fast is too fast?

Many people have a hard time remembering what it was like to be a beginner skier or snowboarder and having to worry about whether there is enough space to attempt a turn. So first off, think about giving people some space. Next, remember that you must always be in control whether you are on an expert run or in a Slow Zone. This is the first point of the Alpine Responsibility Code. If you are in the air, you have no control over your speed or direction. Jumps and hits are not allowed in Slow Zones. The speed expected is relevant to how many people are on the run. If there is no one on the run, you may do short radius turns. When there are more people on the run the 10% Rule is in effect. You may pass people at a speed of approximately 10% faster than the flow of other skier traffic on the run.

Why can't I go as fast as I want when there's no one else on the run?

The Slow Zones are on beginner runs. One of the biggest users of Slow Zones are kids. Kids don't have a high awareness of what other people are doing and are easily distracted. They might be on one side of the run and see something that they want to take a closer look at on the other side and just veer over and cross the run without checking to see if anyone is coming. Kids and adults that are learning to ski also tend to fall on terrain transitions (knolls) and can be trying to recover from a crash in an area that can't be seen from above.

Uphill Travel

Mount Washington does not allow uphill travel on any of our Alpine runs at this time. Uphill travel is restricted to select Nordic trails only. This does not include areas specifically designated for boot packing, not on runs.

Snow Skates

Always use and wear the appropriate device to prevent runaway equipment. The use of the following equipment is not permitted at Mount Washington Alpine Resort: snowblades, snow bikes, snowscooters, snowskates and boot-skis. It is also forbidden to slide down the slopes on a sled, crazy carpet, a three-skis or a toboggan. The use of mini-skis or snowskates is NOT permitted even with standard ski bindings.

Trail Signage

Green Circle

green circle The easiest runs on the mountain. Green runs are groomed, generally wide and have gentle slopes. On green runs when there is a steeper pitch, the pitch is wide to allow for big turns.

Double Black Diamond

double black diamond These runs are the most difficult expert terrain on the mountain, un groomed, step and narrow.

Blue Square

blue square This category has the greatest variation in runs, these runs are more difficult. Blue runs can be groomed or ungroomed

Black Diamond

black diamond These runs are difficult, generally un groomed, steeper and narrower. Before attempting black runs, people should be comfortable with un groomed blue runs.

Terrain Signage


Our Avalanche Closure signage is used for temporary closures of areas within the ski area boundary. Avalanche Closures are used to keep guests and employees out of harm’s way while active avalanche control is taking place or when the hazard is too high and control is not possible. No access to these areas is permitted. Lift access privileges will be revoked. It is your responsibility to know where you are at all times.
Ski Area Boundary

Ski Area Boundary
Not Patrolled

This sign marks the edge of Mount Washington’s ski area boundary and indicates that it is not patrolled beyond that point. The land directly adjacent to the ski area is privately owned and any guests leaving the boundary will be trespassing unless they have agreements with the owners to be on their land. If you do choose to leave the ski area to recreate in Strathcona Park please make sure you understand the hazards involved and have the appropriate knowledge and equipment needed for safe backcountry travel.


Snow storms deposit large amounts of fresh snow on ridges and runs around the resort. Avalanche conditions within the ski area can become high. During hazardous periods, avalanche zones within the ski area are closed until avalanche control work is complete and the skiing is safe. These avalanche zones are roped off with signs and gates for entry into that zone. If the zone is closed due to Avalanche Danger then these gates will be closed and signs will indicate that there is Avalanche Danger. Explosives are used to control the avalanche hazard for that zone and guests that enter the area will be exposing themselves to even greater hazards. Be aware of closures and stay out of closed areas so that avalanche control teams can do their work. All guests need to abide by these closures for their safety and the safety of others. If any guest breaches these closures their pass will be suspended for two weeks and will be required to speak to a duty forecaster prior to their pass being reinstated. Guests that breach these avalanche closures on multiple occasions will lose their pass for the remainder of the ski season.

This sign is used for permanent or temporary closure of areas within the ski area. Avalanche Closures keep Employees and Guests out of harm’s way while active avalanche control is taking place or when the hazard is too high. Lift access privileges will be suspended for entering these areas when closed.


When a run or area is marked with a closed sign it is for a specific reason. The hazards in that area are too great to allow guests to enter. Runs are closed for several reasons: trees have fallen onto the run, ditches or holes have rendered the run unsafe, a race or other events are taking place, Terrain Parks are not yet ready to open, or perhaps machinery is operating. Whatever the reason may be Mount Washington has decided to keep that area closed to protect their guests from getting injured. Please respect these closures for your safety
No Uphill Travel


These signs are used for areas of the resort where restricted uphill travel is required due to management of the specific area. They are used to manage areas during early season conditions or to protect guests from accessing areas that may have hazards. Please obey these signs for your safety


These signs are used in areas of the resort that have been deemed permanent closures due to the nature of the terrain and the exposure to avalanche danger. These areas remain closed all season and any guests found entering these areas will have their ski pass suspended for two weeks and will need to speak with a duty forecaster prior to getting their pass reinstated.
Other signs you may encounter when you are at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.


green circle These signs indicate that you may encounter snowmobiles in this area. If you do encounter a snowmobile coming towards you make eye contact with the operator, slow down and if possible without crossing the path of the snowmobile move to the opposite side of the path of the snowmobile and stop. If it is not possible to move to the opiate side of the path of the snowmobile and stop simply make your way to the side of the run and stop there. Make sure it is all clear before starting down hill again.


green circle Marginal Skiing signs are used to identify runs that have limited snow cover, but are still determined "skiable". These runs may have exposed rocks, grass and dirt. Incurring damage to your skis or snowboard on these runs is likely. It is best to avoid these runs or at the very least ski/ride with extreme caution.

ski boundry

Lift Safety

Catching a Lift

  1. Load at designated areas only.
  2. Read the rules for each lift carefully before loading.
  3. Gear must be attached to your feet. Carrying your gear is not permitted.
  4. No winter season foot passengers or travel without ski/snowboard equipment.
  5. Remove the pole straps from your wrists.
  6. Hold the poles point down before entering the loading area.
  7. Sit down properly and hold on to safety equipment.
  8. Lower the safety bar.
  9. Listen to and obey the operator’s instructions at all times.

On Your Way to the Top

  1. Keep the tips of your skis or snowboard up.
  2. Always keep long hair, hats and scarves secure to avoid entanglement.
  3. Remain seated and don’t bounce or swing on the chair lift.
  4. Never throw or drop anything from the lift.
  5. Mt. Washington is a smoke-free resort. Smoking is NOT permitted anywhere.

Age Restrictions

  • Tots 3+ are permitted to ride the chairlifts (see below).
  • To ride the chairlift, children must be able to aid in self-rescue in the unlikely event of an emergency. We Appreciate Your Cooperation For Your Safety.

When You've Reached the Top

  1. Unload at designated areas only.
  2. Clear the unloading area immediately.
  3. Listen to and obey the operator's instructions at all times.
  4. Report any problems or concerns to the lift operator right away.

Drone Use

As drones will grow in popularity we anticipate the request for use to become more prevalent in the years to come. As regulations and drone registration rules change we may have to adjust our policies. 
The authorization for any usage on Resort property will require pre-approval with advanced notice. 
Some guidelines for use are as follows;

  • Never during normal daily operating hours on any runs that are open to the public.
  • With approval, may be used at special events but not over people; or within a close distance of a ropeway
  • With approval, may be used at Nordic but not over people
  • With approval, may be used at Special Events in the Summer
Contact and expect a response in 2-5 business days.

ZipTour Lift






Last tour starts at 4:30 pm

11 am – 4:30 pm

The Mountain Dispatch Operation Updates

The Mtn Dispatch Operation Updates

Stay updated on what's happening around Mount Washington Alpine Resort. We have Sneak Peek Weekends happening in June before the mountain officially opens daily for summer on Friday, June 28th. Hope to see you up here in the mountains for summertime fun!

Our Sponsors

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