La Plata County Sheriff’s Office patrols the slopes on ski bikes
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DURANGO, Colo. — It’s the time of year when people are flocking to the slopes. But along with ski season, comes those who like to take advantage of the expensive equipment.
One sheriff’s office is hoping to make the mountain safer with some new gear of their own.
“The ski bike is a tool that the sheriff’s office likes to use to take up to the mountain,” said Frank Sandoval, an investigator with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.
That mountain is Purgatory Ski Resort, and patrolling it is part of La Plata County Sheriff’s Office Ski Deputy Program.
“We deal with an occasional intoxicated person, sometimes we are dealing with domestic violence up there,” Sandoval added. “Theft of the ski tickets, theft of personal belongings you know, you get some equipment up there — thousands of dollars, that can get taken.”
When those calls come in, without a deputy already on the slopes, it could take up to 45 minutes for a response because of the remote location of the resort.
“They get 6,000 people a day up there sometimes and it’s a way for us to put law enforcement up there.” Sandoval said. “We can have guys up there throughout the day and respond to calls, its quicker and safer for the public for us to be there.”
And what also cuts down on response time are the ski bikes.
“It’s just a big piece for us to be able to respond and not be in ski boots and snowboard boots and just wear normal boots with these, they (deputies) like the quick response and safety aspect of the bike.”
However, Sandoval noted that getting the hang of one is not like riding a bike.
“I hear that you have to really maneuver the backside of the bike as opposed to the front ski but there is a learning curve,” he said.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office purchased four ski bikes as an option for deputies to use while patrolling the mountain. It is a volunteer program, and the goal is to have at least one deputy there every day during ski season.