If you head out to the slopes this weekend, don't be surprised to find yourself skiing or snowboarding alongside Alberta RCMP officers.
Mounties will be patrolling the hills of Lake Louise and Nakiska over the coming weeks, hoping to crack down on those smoking drugs and drinking on the chairlifts and gondolas.
"It's going to deter people from bringing narcotics or have that second look of doing something on the ski hill because they know there is going to be a police presence," RCMP Cpl. Jeff Campbell, the detachment commander in Lake Louise, told CBC.
"We do regular foot patrols up at the ski hill for anti-theft patrols at the ski racks, but this is something more," Campell told the Canmore Leader.
This is the first time officers have taken to the hills in over 20 years. According to Campbell, the program fizzled out in the 90s, for unclear reasons.
Since December eight patrols have been conducted with one drug seizure, the Leader reports. Because the program is voluntary at this point, the frequency of patrols is not set.
Campbell told the Leader he would like to see the program gain popularity and have more officers become certified for ski patrol.
"No one wants to get into a gondola after someone has just smoked in it, that's marijuana or cigarette smoke," he said in a interview with the Leader. "And you don't want someone high on narcotics racing down a ski hill."
The plan, Campbell told Metro Calgary, is to expand the program to every ski hill in Alberta over the next few seasons.
Not everyone is a fan of sharing the hill with law enforcement, however. CBC Calgary spoke with at least one disappointed Lake Louise patron on Monday.
"It makes sense. It sucks, but it makes sense," said one visitor to the hill.
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