8 Ski Safety Tips for Kids
Ski safety is probably one of the things that kids hear about the least, but need to be reminded of this most. As parents, we often forget that just because we know how to be safe skiers, that doesn’t mean that our kids necessarily do.
As a ski mom, I used to feel like I spent all my energy on the ski hill telling kids to “Slow Down” “Watch Out” and “Be Careful”. After all, I had to keep them safe, right?
I was going about things completely wrong. Instead of teaching my kids HOW to be safe and WHY they need to ski a certain way, I was just protecting them in the moment.
Safety Tips for Kids: Why they’re important
So we sat our kids down and talked to them about ski safety. We took time on chairlifts to show the kids safe and dangerous behaviors that we were seeing so the kids would understand what we were talking about.
Suddenly, my kids started to understand what ski safety was all about and how they could actually ski safer, and I didn’t spend so much of my ski day shouting at my kids.
As parents, the first thing that we need to do to teach our kids about ski safety is to model safe skiing behavior. That means obeying the signs, skiing slow in the slow zone, staying in control, and being aware of our surroundings.
Note: If your child uses a ski harness, you should know that over 75% of parents use them incorrectly. Start modeling good ski safety by learning how to use a ski harness the right way.
Before you ever take your kids skiing, give them the best possible chance at a great experience by talking to them about ski safety in advance.
Here are 8 ski tips for kids to know before they get to the ski hill:
1. Always wear a helmet.
We are big believers in the importance of helmet wearing in our family. Wearing a helmet while skiing or snowboarding can save your life in the event of a collision. Even if your kids are great skiers, you never know when someone will hit you and you’ll end up in a ski accident. Make helmet use a non-negotiable rule of skiing in your family.
Parent tip to get kids to wear helmets:
Let kids pick out their own ski helmets. Not only will that ensure that they get a properly fitting helmet each year, but if they like their helmet, they’re much less likely to complain about wearing it.
2. Set a meeting place if you get separated
As soon as you get to the ski hill, pick a safe meeting place where your family can meet if people get separated. Have your kids show where it is on the trail map, and remind them several times throughout the day, where to meet up in an emergency.
Parent tip to help kids not get lost:
Take a photo of your kids at the beginning of the day, in case you get separated and need help from others to find them. It also really helps to dress kids in bright clothing so they’re easily identifiable.
3. Stay together while skiing
While you obviously need to give other people space while skiing, there are huge benefits to staying together while skiing. If anyone has a problem, there are other people to help them (especially important with younger kids). Also, if everyone is skiing together, it’s easier to ensure that no one is tackling terrain that is far above their ability level. Also, don’t forget that it’s a whole lot more fun to ski together than it is to just be alone all day.
Parent tip to help families stay together:
At the top of the ski run, pick a point farther down the mountain that everyone can see, and agree to meet up there. Keep doing that all down the mountain, and make sure that everyone knows that stopping at these meeting points is required.
4. Practice getting up safely after falling
Falling down is a given for kids learning how to ski. Make sure that your kids know how to safely get up after a fall. That means that their skis are pointed across the hill that they scoot off to the side of the trail when possible. So often kids get up with their skis pointing down the hill and they just end up crashing again.
Parent tip to help kids learn how to get up on their own:
If you have young kids, have them practice getting up with skis on at home, where it’s easier to learn the motions. This is one of the most important skills to teach when teaching your own kids to ski.
5. Know who has the right of way
Teach kids that the person ahead of them always has the right of way. You never know exactly where they will go next, so make sure to give them plenty of space. Also, before you start skiing after stopping, make sure that you look uphill so that you don’t cut anyone off.
Parent tip for teaching kids how to take turns on the hill:
When kids are learning to ski, find areas that aren’t crowded. It’s hard for kids to think about who has the right of way, when they’re focusing so hard on learning to stop and turn. Let them have some space when they’re learning.
6. Follow all posted signs
I know that it’s tempting to duck a line to ski some fresh powder, or to race down to the bottom of the lift through the SLOW ZONE. Talk to your kids about why those rules exist, AND the consequences of breaking them (losing their pass from ski patrol or major injuries).
Parent tip for teaching kids how to follow the ski hill rules:
If you have a kid who constantly seems to be breaking the rules, talk to them about why. Maybe they’re ready for more challenging terrain and ready to test their limits on new parts of the mountain that are more advanced.
7. Know your limits
It’s important when you’re skiing with kids, that not only do they know their limits, but that they’re aware of the limits of other people as well. If I have a child who is a solid blue skier, I’m not going to just send him down his first black diamond with a wish of good luck. Likewise, if we are skiing with a friend who’s a true beginner, my kids shouldn’t be pressuring them to ski on intermediate terrain before they are ready.
Parent tip for teaching kids to know their limits:
When kids are ready to make the jump to harder terrain, make sure that you’re there to support them or they’re with another adult or ski instructor who can. Different types of terrain require different skills, so make sure that there is someone close by who can help them understand what skills they need to learn.
8. Ski in control
This is hands down the most important thing that kids need to know about ski safety. Out of control skiers are dangerous to themselves and others. Teach your kids to control their speed and the direction of their skiing so that they are safe while on the mountain.
Parent tip for teaching kids how to ski in control:
One of the best ways to make sure that your children ski in control is to make sure that they are properly taught how to ski terrain. This includes how to stop and turn on all terrain they ski on, as well as how to safely maneuver down the hill. Not sure if you should teach your kids yourself or put them in ski lessons? Read here for all our best tips on teaching your own kids to ski.
Remember, ski safety isn’t just about you. It’s about keeping other people safe on the hill too, so remember to talk to your kids and teach them to ski safely!
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8 Ski Safety Tips for Kids
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