To stay current with the evolution of winter sports, Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, is looking to update Colorado's skiing laws.
The Colorado Ski Safety Act has not made changes to the style of mountain riding since it was passed in 1979.
Now, people on the slopes are doing more than skiing. There are shorter and faster skis, snowboards and terrain parks with jumps, rails and half-pipes. There are more competitions, and many mountain riders are going beyond the traditional methods of sticking to the groomed runs.
"Now skiers ski every square inch of the ski area," Taylor said. "We felt it was time we needed to bring the statutes up to compliance with the industry."
To do this, House Bill 1393 will add two new types of difficulty indicators to the green circles, blue squares, black diamonds and double black diamonds that label runs. For the most difficult runs, designated with double black diamonds, in the two diamonds, there will be an "E" and an "X" added to signify "extreme terrain."
Most people wouldn't have considered riding double-black-diamond terrain in 1979, but newer technology has enabled skiers and snowboarders to tackle it, Taylor said.
"A lot of these events and activities were not around during the '70s," Taylor said. "So the old law is no longer sufficient."
H.B. 1393 is not a change to the Colorado Ski Safety Act, but rather an update to include extreme riding, snowboarding and terrain parks. The update also would require snowboarders to put leashes on their boards.
The bill already has been approved by the House of Representatives, carried through by Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park. It received its third reading in the Senate on Thursday. Its next step will be going back to the House for concurrence and then to Gov. Bill Owens, Taylor said.
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