WASHINGTON - Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are debating a bill that would make out-of-bounds skiing at ski areas a civil infraction, resulting in a $1,000 fine. It is similar to a Colorado state law that has been in place since 2006.
The Colorado Skier Safety Act allows authorities to charge skiers $1,000 if they are caught ducking ropes.
The Summit County Sheriff's Department says after the law passed, skier citations dropped from 27 in 2006 to nine in 2007.
More ski areas are dealing with infractions on their own, using education instead of enforcement, with only repeat offenders facing charges.
"I'm telling you now, don't do it, be warned, but we will try to work with you for education, show you where the access points are and get you in a class for avalanche awareness. But if you are regularly accessing and ducking ropes and creating an unsafe environment for yourself and rescuers then, yes, there are consequences for that," Breckenridge Ski Area spokeswoman Kristen Petitt said.
Skiing out-of-bounds is still permitted if a skier leaves the ski area through a back-country access gate.
Generally, if you're not sure, you should ask a member of the ski patrol.