You’ve packed your pass and your gear, and you’re ready to check off that next magical destination. To ensure the best experience possible for everyone, your crew might benefit from a quick refresher of essential ski safety tips for the hill. After all, the cleaner you ride, the further you can go, and the more destinations you can check off your list.
Ok, first thing’s first when it comes to ski safety. It is strongly suggested that everyone strap into a helmet. They protect your ability to think smart, come in a rainbow of colors and finishes, and they keep your head warm. This one really is a no-brainer. And remember, if your helmet ever takes an impact either in a crash or in a drop, the rule of the road is to replace it with a new one.
Ensure that your ski bindings are adjusted correctly (talk to a tech about your DIN settings) or that your stance is set to your best riding style. Keep it clean on the hill by using quality equipment that has recently been serviced by someone who knows their way around a ski shop.
Pack and wear layers. When it comes to mountain sports, conditions can be pretty variable. Long underwear, a midweight layer, and an outer shell layer are suggested, as well as gloves and (yes, again) a helmet.
Additionally, consider bringing a neck gator, goggles, and a couple extra layers, just in case it’s colder than anticipated. With layers, you can always scale up or down as needed.
Those ancient Greeks had something going with all of that philosophy, and here it translates seamlessly onto the hill. Know your normal skiing level, how far you can push it, and where to draw the line. There’s no sense in getting into something if you can’t get back out, especially when the Après session is ready and waiting at 4pm.
OBSERVE THE CONDITIONS & RESEARCH THE TERRAIN
Dumps of fresh powder can lead to some of the best days around. But, deep days can also lead to getting stuck, particularly in the trees. Alternately, several days without snow can lead to unassuming icy patches. Know what to expect when you hit the hill.
When the trees or varied terrain does beckon, the golden rule is always to ski with at least one other person. Keep your special someone in view as much as possible and if you do lose visual contact, call out to each other and regroup. While in the trees, remove wrist straps to ski poles that can easily get caught on branches. And while cutting up the trees, steer clear of tree wells, as a fall into one can lead to serious issues.
RULES OF THE ROAD
The tried and true adage of “showing up is half the battle” rings true for trips to the hill. With winter conditions, icy or snow-packed roads, and potential traffic, it pays to invest in snow tires and four-wheel drive.
Additionally, always make sure to top off that windshield wiper fluid before takeoff. There’s nothing more frustrating – or dangerous – than not being able to see the road through a clean windshield. Staying safe and steady while seeking out the day’s adventure is really the only way to kickstart the day.
SKI SAFETY: RULES OF THE TRAIL
Once the chairs are turning and the crew is in lap mode, there are some simple rules and overall ski safety tips that everyone on the mountain should observe.
- Keep your speed in check and movements in control. This will ensure that you ride with respect for those around you.
- People ahead of you (further down the hill) have the right of way.
- If you pass another rider, ensure that you give enough space for them to maneuver as they naturally would.
- When stopping, always stop in a safe place so that others coming down the hill can see and avoid you.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging, look for incoming riders and yield.
- Use devices (brakes or leashes) to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
- Know how to use the lifts safely. Always put the bar down when riding with the kiddos, and, when riding with a chair of adults, it’s common courtesy to give a heads up before lowering the bar down.
Whether it be by sticks or by board, getting up and staying safe on the mountain is really pretty simple. All that’s needed is to follow these basic ski safety tips and ride with respect for everyone else that’s out there. In the end, we all make up the mountain experience and have a stake in building the community that enjoys these iconic destinations. So, start penning those plans with your crew. The next adventure is wherever your Ikon Pass takes you.