There’s so much safety gear out there that you could send a bag full of kneepads, body armour and helmets (added bunny ears or angel wings optional) before you even ship your skis. But kit is just one part of being prepared; some basic knowledge goes a long way to staying safe on the mountain. We look at some practical tips for keeping your kids safe while skiing.
Don’t ski with your child between your legs
You’ll see parents hurtling down the mountain with a child between their legs, but don’t be tempted to copy them. One reason is obvious: if you fall, you could fall on top of your child. But secondly, it’s important for children to learn to balance by themselves – the sooner they learn to balance independently, the sooner they’ll be safe, able skiers.
Teach them how to get up on skis
Standing up from sitting on skis takes quite a bit of core strength and coordination, and little ones often struggle. First, remind them to always get up with their skis pointing across the hill – not up or down. Show your children to sit down on their uphill side with their feet and skis downhill from their body, put their hands on the ground uphill in front of their boots, and push.
Leave it to the pros
If you’re daunted by the idea of taking the kids out yourself and trying to keep them upright then the default option is ski school. Most countries have stringent qualification processes for ski instructors, so your kids should be in good hands.
Snowboarding vs skiing: let your kids decide
There’s a long-running debate about which discipline is safer; in snowboarding’s early days many ski resorts saw it as a scourge and even banned it (some still do), while some studies have claimed skiing is more dangerous.
Some parents consider this debate when deciding whether to put the kids into ski or snowboard lessons. The reality is more likely that neither is inherently riskier than the other. It’s probably down to individual ability and behaviour. So if you’re not sure which to go for then consider letting the kids decide themselves.
Make sure they know the rules
Ever wondered what the rules really are on overtaking, picking your route or where to stop? The International Ski Federation has a handy code of conduct for everyone using the mountain. Think of it as the Highway Code for the piste.
Make sure your children know the basics: don’t stop in the middle of the piste – move to the edge instead; always look up the hill before you set off.
Keep them wrapped up
A general point, but a key safety tip too. Good skiwear can go a long way to keeping your children safe – warm, dry, happy little skiers are less accident-prone. Make sure their outerwear has a good level of waterproofing – 8,000mm or above (that’s how much water the fabric can withstand in 24 hours before it gets saturated and you get wet).
Image Credit : Ski Leavenworth on Flickr