Safe riding and safe skiing is priority at Copper Mountain in Summit County. The National Ski Area Association's Safety Awareness Week was highlighted by visits from the Flight For Life Helicopter. "Copper, being a rural community, relies on the speed of the Flight For Life helicopter to reach and evacuate our most serious patients to an available medical center," said Copper's David Roth.

Flight For Life is a nonprofit, hospital-based, community service providing critical care transport in a nine-state region. Those who live in ski towns see the Flight For Life helicopter rushing those who are critically injured to Denver hospitals. Guests at Copper were recently able to meet the flight nurse and pilot.

Copper also has five avalanche dogs on the ski patrol, with a few puppies in training. The dogs get certification to be on C-RAD, which is the Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment Team. It's a program that helps Flight For Life Colorado to rapidly deploy an avalanche team to the site of an avalanche where someone has been buried.

Weekly training for the dogs is actually like, "a big game of hide ‘n seek," says Roth. "They start them off in a pretty easy setting where they have to find the ball (or whatever) and then the game of hide n' seek gets progressively more difficult, from a single burial, up to multiple blind burials." The dogs work primarily with their home mountain, but they can participate in training sessions at other ski resorts in the area, as well as Search and Rescue.

Copper's Ski Patrol dogs' names are Tracker, Scout, Poseidon, Copper, and Bridger.

Other important safety features on the mountain include backcountry awareness, terrain park and pipe safety, helmet safety and general injury prevention, general on-mountain safety practices, the Skier's Responsibility Code, sunscreen and eyewear, and laminated Emergency Contact Cards attached to your lift ticket. These are all important things for you to be aware of when heading to the Colorado mountains for your ski vacation.