10 Tips For Staying Safe on the Slopes

As the ski season draws near, skiers and boarders across the country can't wait to fly out to their chosen resort and hit the slopes. If it’s your first time skiing, you may find the idea a little daunting, but we have put together our top ski safety tips to make sure you know how to stay safe at all times on the slopes. See our range of fantastic ski accommodation and start planning the perfect ski holiday!

Ski Safety Tips 1. Travel Insurance Family skiing

I don’t care what anybody says; snow sports travel insurance is an absolute must when you take a skiing holiday! The types of snow travel insurance vary, so if you already have travel insurance you must double check if it covers specifically skiing and snowboarding as many policies don’t. Don’t assume that the most expensive package is the best, shop around and you can find a good deal.

Important! Some snow sport insurance DOES NOT cover off piste or if you injure yourself doing ticks or jumps! Double check if you plan to venture off the slopes or to the snow park!

2. Wear the right gear Family skiing holiday

Being kitted out with suitable attire and equipment is imperative to your safety on the slopes. Wear an insulating base layer of thermals, leggings, etc; then a layer of clothes, then your salopettes and jacket (add gloves, scarf, and hat)! Once you’re nice and warm, add your safety gear, people who don’t wear helmets are crazy - protect your head. Get a decent pair of goggles that won’t mist up, and don’t scrimp on cheap bindings if you’re a boarder.

Important: Keep checking that your bindings haven’t frozen as this makes it impossible to get out of them!

3. Use the right gadgets skiing gadget

There are loads of gadgets out there to help you stay safe on the slopes. A walkie-talkie is a great way to stay in touch with your group if you split off into two groups – never ski alone! Another gadget similar is an avalanche transceiver. It’s a radio beacon specialised for finding people trapped under the snow. It’s also possible to get ski suits with devices like this sewn into the fabric too, these are a really good idea if you enjoy off piste skiing. Another great ski gadget is a GPS watch. There are few types available, functions include: tracking and planning routes, as well as speed, elevation, and distance tracking.

4. Pack your bag Pack your bag

There are certain things no skier or boarder should head up a lift or gondola without - these items can save your life if you get into trouble on the slopes.

     
  • Food and water- this should go without saying! You must hydrate yourself throughout the day. You will be losing a lot of liquid sweating from the exertion and altitude, and you need to keep your energy up.
  • Pack extra sunscreen and lip balm. You don’t realise how much sun you’re getting until you’re changing back at your chalet and catch a glimpse in the mirror, a goggle tan is not a look you want to sport after forgetting to wear sunscreen on day 1!
  • A walkie talkie- If you plan to go off piste, off alone, or carry on further down a run than the rest of your group, you must make sure other members of your group know where you are or will be. Keep in touch regularly and take in your surroundings in case you get lost.
5. Follow the rules Follow the rules

If you’re a first time skier or boarder, or still finding your feet, then don’t feel pressured to venture off the slopes or into restricted areas. Areas are off-limits for a reason; they are not monitored by the ski patrol, and may contain hidden hazards and dips. Also, if you see a sign that tells you to slow down, then slow down! Many accidents can be avoided by everybody following the rules of the resorts.

6. Ski etiquette Ski etiquette

Be respectful on the slopes. If you’re a beginner, it’s not someone else’s fault when you crash into them, you need to make every effort to avoid them. One of the first things you must learn when skiing or boarding is how to stop, your edge or your snowplough are your best friend to avoid any embarrassing incidents! People in front, or below you always have the right of way, and if you’re coming up behind someone, make yourself known, “on your left” or “on your right!” are the phrases of choice.

Important: Never stop in the middle of a run or anywhere that you won’t be seen from above, like below a drop off.

7. Know your limits Know your limits

Be honest with yourself and others when it comes to your skiing or boarding ability. The beginner slopes are there for beginners, for you to build your confidence, practice stopping, and work your way up to the harder and more challenging runs. Skiing or boarding along runs that outweigh your ability are a good way to get hurt or lost.

Never underestimate the benefit of a couple of skiing or snowboarding lessons!

8. Get in shape Get in shape

A skiing holiday is fantastic exercise and tremendous fun and you’ll need to be in good physical shape to get the most out of the experience. Skiing and snowboarding involves travelling at high speeds down steep hills and a lot of walking through sometimes very deep snow and up steep hills. All of this is at altitude, which makes even walking a short distance so much harder. Make sure to get a lot of exercise before you go, and keep up a regular fitness regime if you have one.

Tip: Building a basic layer of muscles through simple conditioning can help prevent injuries if and when you take a fall!

9. Don’t drink and ski! Don’t drink and ski

Although not entirely blamed for accidents on or off piste, you’re certainly more like to stay in control and avoid getting into trouble if you keep all of your wits about you. Some resorts start the party way before the lifts have closed for the evening, and Austria is known for having the rowdiest resorts. A ‘party on the piste’ can be great fun and it’s a great experience to ski or ride down a run along with hundreds of others, but you should do it before you’ve had a few drinks, and make sure to catch the snow taxi down if there’s one provided, if not stay sober to stay safe!

10. Check the conditions Family skiing

Conditions play a huge part in the risk of accidents while skiing or snowboarding. If there’s less snowfall, the chance of avalanches is much reduced. However, less snow means hard and icy runs, meaning faster going, harder falling, and a vast increase in the chance in nasty collisions. More snowfall increases the chance of avalanche, but frequent snowfall keeps the slopes nice and powdery, creating better skiing and boarding conditions and also making a softer landing.

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