The safety and good health of race workers is our .primary concern.  After that, we want our volunteers to enjoy themselves and to have a great time in Whistler.

Safety procedures prevail at all times, during course setup and on race days.  During races, when a racer falls and is injured, the Racer Down Protocol comes into effect.  All course workers and race officials must know this protocol so as to safeguard themselves from serious injury and not to inflict additional injury on a fallen racer.

Course workers spend long days in difficult conditions.  It is easy to get run down after five or more long days on the course.  Volunteers need to pace themselves, too take time off when it's time to "recharge".  When it's needed make sure you have a rest, warm up or even take a day off.  We don't want to lose you to illness or to have you go home sick.

Whistler Weasel Workers have a good safety record, and we want to keep it that way.  We want you to go home with all the parts you came still attached and functioning as well as ever.

The greatest hazard to course workers, by far, is the presence of grooming machines working on the course.  Winch cats, in particular, pose a great risk to human health and limb.   The photographer who took the photo to the right was in a very dangerous position, and well within the reach of the winch cable were it to have broken or if the cable anchor had failed.  Don't take that risk!

Winch Cat farr too close for comfort.

We always post a guard above the anchor point for an operating winch cat.  Obey what the guard tells you.  Do not ski past a winch cat guard. The  winch cat shown above is way too close for comfort.

Rules for working near snowcats, including winch cats

1. Do not ski closer than 50 meters behind a grooming machine (the machines can stop on a dime).

2. When working around or near an operating grooming machine make sure the operator knows you are there by making eye contact before approaching the machine.

3. Always remain in a line sight of the driver.

4. Discuss your plans with the driver(s) for working in the same vicinity as a snowcat; this includes any work to be undertaken outside and close to any net systems. Make sure all parties involved are aware of the plans as discussed and agreed to with the machine operator.  Different conditions can be present in the same location at a different time!

5. Winch cables are often buried in the snow and are not visible. NEVER pass a ‘winch cat’ operating sign without contacting the operator for clearance. (winch cables can ‘whip’ under great tension and quickly cause extensive damage or injury)

6. Make sure all tools and equipment are removed from the area that snowcats will be traveling on when the job is finished

7. Do not leave any bits and pieces of rope or fencing, etc. on the snow where snowcats will be traveling

8. If you are ‘guarding’ for a snowcat operator:

8.1. Give the driver your name and inform them when you are in position (make sure you are in the right location);

8.2. Do not allow anyone to pass into the area AT ANY TIME without consent of the operator;

8.3. Do not leave your position until you have clearance from the operator;

8.4. When guarding for winch cat operations, make sure that you have made clear radio contact (and eye contact where applicable) and have clearly received consent from the operator before allowing anyone to pass the STOP signs into the winch area. Let the operator know when it is clear and safe for them to resume operating.

For race days, make sure you know the Racer Down Protocol

Be Healthy and be Safe

It's the Weasel Way