The New South Wales Police have launched their annual Snowsafe program this year with a focus on Trip Intention Forms and Personal Location Beacons for those venturing into the backcountry.
The official snow season begins this weekend and will run until October, during which millions of snow season enthusiasts are expected to make their way to the state’s Alpine region.
Regional NSW Field Operations, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys APM, said the official launch of ‘Snowsafe’ sees additional police deployed in the area to provide a high-visibility operation involving highly-trained Alpine Operators, General Duties police, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Licensing Police and other specialist commands throughout the season.
Deputy Commissioner Worboys urged the community to plan ahead when travelling to the snowfields and make safety their top priority when hitting the slopes this season.
“Additional officers are deployed to the region each year, which allows police to maintain a high-visibility presence across the snow resorts and surrounding Alpine areas,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“People can expect to see police out and about throughout the season targeting road safety, alcohol-related crime, anti-social behaviour and personal safety.
“We will also have licensing police patrolling venues in and around the major resorts. I urge people to have a plan, know how you are getting home, organise a designated driver or pre-arrange transportation. Do not take the risk because you will get caught.
“We have already seen heavy snow falls in the area, so remember to act responsibly and keep an eye out for your mates so you can all enjoy a safe and fun experience on the snowfields this season,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
NSW Police are also urging hikers visiting the region to ensure their personal safety by submitting a Trip Intention Form and hiring a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) before heading out into the national park.
“Hikers can access a PLB free of charge by way of a refundable deposit from one of the National Parks and Wildlife Service centres located at numerous locations including Jindabyne as well as Perisher and Thredbo resorts,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
“When exploring in remote areas, these simple safety measure can mean the difference between life and death if you become lost in the national park and need immediate assistance. Hikers should also check weather conditions in advance, wear appropriate clothing and carry plenty of food and water.”
Southern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Barrie APM, said the annual ‘Snowsafe’ campaign will also see Traffic and Highway Patrol officers out in force to ensure the safe arrival and departure of visitors to the area.
“Highway Patrol officers will be targeting speed, alcohol, fatigue and restraint offences in the Alpine areas,” Assistant Commissioner Barrie said.
“Motorists are urged to drive to the weather conditions, plan their travel before they get in the car and stay alert by taking regular breaks.
“You should also fix snow chains to your tyres in slippery conditions within the designated bays, ensure everyone in your car is wearing their seat belts and don’t drink and drive,” Assistant Commissioner Barrie said.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, encouraged the community to get out and enjoy the ski season safely this winter.
“Our police and emergency service volunteers work tirelessly to keep everyone in the community safe – often sacrificing time with their own family and friends to look after others – so please, be responsible and be prepared,” Mr Elliott said.
“We want everyone have an enjoyable time on the slopes, so remember to take care when driving and be aware of the precautions snow-goers can take to prevent accidents and injuries.”
Further information on driving in snowfield conditions can be found by visiting the Centre for Road Safety website.
Hikers can contact the Snowy Region Visitor Centre for more information.