With the winter Olympics starting this week, not to mention cold temperatures and occasional snow here at home, you might be considering a trip to a local ski resort. Skiing and snowboarding appeal to all ages and sizes. And it’s a great activity for winter weekends. It can also be a good workout and provide some practice for kids learning coordination and body control. Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe, while having fun on the slopes.
- Proper clothing is important: Look for clothing that is water and wind-resistant. Hats are important because most heat loss occurs through the head. Layers are a great way to deal with changing temperatures. You will get warm with skiing and want to have layers to shed.
- Wear a helmet! Like riding a bike or scooter, you have to wear a helmet. High speeds, trees, other skiers, all put your child at risk for a possible head injury. Wearing a helmet will reduce this risk.
- Apply sunscreen before hitting the slopes: Sun reflects off of the snow and can lead to sunburn easier than you think.
- Proper equipment is key: You wouldn’t go out on the soccer field with shoes that are too big. The same goes for skiing. Have proper boots, bindings, and skis fitted by a professional. Improper equipment can lead to something as simple as blisters or as serious as a broken bone.
- Take a lesson: Like other sports, proper technique is important to avoid injury. At least for the first time on the mountain, it’s great if your child takes a skiing or snowboard lesson from a qualified instructor. They can spend the morning learning and the rest of the day skiing safely with the family.
- Stick to slopes of your ability: Watch signs closely to indicate the difficulty of the slope. If you or your child gets in over his or her head, move to the side, take of your skis/snowboard and slide down the hill. Many ski resorts have runs with trees. BEWARE! These runs also have rocks and can be hazardous. Make sure the ability level is there to complete these runs.
- Drink lots of water: The cold weather can make dehydration deceiving. Drink plenty of water when taking breaks in the lodge.
Following these suggestions can help keep you and your child safe on the slopes. Skiing in pairs is super important, especially when you kids are first starting out. In case of a fall, it is important to have someone there to help. If the fall is serious, contact ski patrol for help.