According to CBC News, The RCMP have teamed up with Alberta ski areas Lake Louise and Nakiska in an effort to eliminate substance abuse on the chairlifts and gondolas. The officers are in uniform and armed while cracking down on the substance abuse on the slopes at the two ski areas. The officers patrol the ski areas by skiing and snowboarding throughout the day keeping their eye on the lifts and gondolas for guests using drugs. They are also keeping an eye on the ski racks to make sure no one is stealing other people’s stuff. Not all mountain guests are welcoming of the news.
“It makes sense. It sucks, but it makes sense. I would think that more recklessness comes from people coming in and drinking at lunch time and then going back out … Are you going to give somebody a ticket for drinking and then skiing? … It seems like a very slippery slope to me. I feel like the chairlift is my time to smoke reefer,” said one visitor to the hill.
In December, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were able to seize some marijuana while patrolling the slopes of these two popular resorts. The officers are easy to spot on the mountain in their bright yellow jackets with a yellow stripe down the pants, so they tend to deter people from using drugs while on the hill. The officers seem to be making a difference, there has been a reduction of drug use since they’ve been on the mountain. Also, they’ve received a lot of positive feedback from guests, especially guests from overseas that are impressed to see police on the mountain.
“One of the common complaints [the ski hill] gets from visitors is people using narcotics in the gondola and the use of alcohol on the lifts, and general complaints of reckless skiers. We do regular foot patrols up at the ski hill for anti-theft patrols at the ski racks, but this is something more,” RCMP Cpl. Jeff Campbell told Canmore Leader.
The officers, who volunteer their time, have to go through a certification program and are also trained in first aid. The program at Lake Louise and Nakiska is based off one that is currently operating at Whistler in British Columbia. Two officers will be on patrol Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as holidays including March break and Easter weekend. There used to be a similar program in operation 20 years ago in Lake Louise, but it was terminated for unknown reasons. The RCMP hopes to make these ski areas safer for the general public, which they seem to be doing!