As the old saying goes, safety is no accident, and the National Ski Areas Association would like to spread the word.
NSAA, in cooperation with the country's ski and snowboard resorts, the National Ski Patrol and PSIA (the ski and snowboard instructors association), is conducting its annual National Safety Awareness Week beginning Jan. 19 and running through the Jan. 25. It's a campaign to "further reduce the frequency of accidents and to unify the industry to focus on and communicate a pro-active, strong safety message."

Many Oregon and Washington resorts are taking part in the Safety Awareness Week promotion, with activities and programs to heighten awareness. Heavy emphasis will be on the ubiquitous "Responsibility Code," which is seemingly plastered on walls and flat surfaces everywhere in snow country and enumerates the ways of keeping yourself and other riders out of harm's way.

The theme is "Objects Are Closer Than They Appear." The 2009 campaign wants  to shine a spotlight on the first tenet of the Responsibility Code: Always stay in control and be able to stop and avoid other people or objects.

But this is not a heavy-handed campaign: There will be on-hill - and some off-hill - promotions that reward safety in a fun fashion and, as has been common practice over the past several years, NSAA is conducting its national safety poster contest for kids. 

However you look at it, it all boils down to one thing: Be careful out there.