I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate an entire blog to safety. We take inherit risks just by agreeing to go skiing or riding. Skiing is not a risk-free sport. However, we can try to mitigate risks by following certain guidelines.
Guidelines set forth by the National Ski Areas Association in Your Responsibility Code*
-Always stay in control
-People ahead of you have the right of way
-Stop in a safe place for you and others
-Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield
-Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment
-Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails
-Know how to use the lifts safely
Source PSIA Children’s Teaching Handbook, Pg. 13
The above guidelines set forth by the National Ski Areas Association are critical safety ground rules that we should always abide by. Before you set out to ski, make sure your equipment fits properly and that your boot ankle buckles are securely closed. Also, always ski with a helmet and either goggles or glasses to protect your eyes. Ensure that your boot soles aren’t worn down so that your binding latches and unlatches properly as well. And, of course, wear sunscreen! The reflection of the sun off the snow in high altitude is a silent killer.
In addition to staying in control, giving skiers and riders in front of you the right of way, and stopping in safe places, we need to remember to always look uphill before skiing or riding downhill, as well as to check before we jump out of the trees or before we take off to land a jump.
If we happen to get into an accident, we should cross our skis and poles in the snow uphill so that folks skiing down see us, and then call ski patrol and exchange information with the other party.
Please remember to always sit towards the back of the chairlift, put the safety bar down, and don’t participate in any horseplay on the chair. Once you kick your skis and one falls off, you’ll quickly learn that having to call ski patrol to retrieve your ski is super annoying. On this note, our poles are not swords either.
If you are planning on doing some jumps, you should first do a run where you investigate the terrain and the landing and develop a plan.
If you find yourself on a run that is too terrifying and that you just can’t ski down, it’s best to side step down the hill rather than removing your skis and walking down.
Always discuss a meeting place with those you are skiing with so that nobody goes astray. Discuss a plan in advance if someone gets lost from the group so that you know where to meet.
And, lastly, of course observe warning signs and don’t go on closed trails. Remember that Ski patrol closes trails for your safety.
Jen Bookman is a certified ski instructor with Park City Mountain Resort.