Winter is in full swing and that means lots of winter activities here in Berkshire County. When snow covers the ground and temperatures drop, those of us who live in Massachusetts look for some way to pass the time during the winter months and skiing and snowboarding are at the top of the list.

Folks in Berkshire County have plenty of choices when it comes to hitting the hill to ski or board. Front and center right here in Pittsfield are the newly remodeled Bousquet, but Jiminy Peak, Butternut, Berkshire East, and Catamount are also fully open for fun.

I was skiing at Jiminy Peak earlier this week and noticed a sign by the chair lifts that piqued my interest. It read:

All Snowboards Must Have a Leash Attached in Accordance with Massachusetts Law


Now I just learned how to ski a few winters ago and legit know NOTHING about snowboarding other than the fact that it looks wicked hard. So this "leash law" had me curious. After a little research, I discovered that this part of Massachusetts General Law Section 71O. This law covers all aspects of ski and snowboard safety covering everything from the chair lift and tram regulation, where skiers and boarders are allowed to recreate, and of course safety equipment.


A skier or boarder shall, prior to his entrance onto the slope or trail or embarking on any recreational tramway, have attached on his skis, a strap, or other device for the purpose of restraining or preventing a runaway ski.


Most modern ski bindings have "brakes" on them which are essentially two prongs that catch the snow when a boot is not attached. If you fall in a way that makes that results in your skis popping off, they don't go rogue and fly down the hill without you, which would be a hazard for others on the mountain.

Since snowboard bindings are different, a leash must be attached to them so runaway boards don't wreak havoc on other skiers or riders.

There are some consequences if borders do not ride with a leash. According to state laws, a ski area operator who finds a person in violation of this section may issue a verbal warning to that individual. If said person fails to heed the warning issued by such ski area operator, they can be forced to forfeit their pass and may be refused issuance of another such ticket to the ski area.


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