School organized ski trips are just about to start. A lot of our children might be about to have their first turn on the snow, so there is no better time to collect some smart ideas about protecting our kids out on the ski slopes. This is a 6 minutes read, please, take the time, because there might be some useful ideas here even for the more experienced ones, too.
Safe skiing starts with the preparation, and by preparation we don’t just mean packing the right size of gear. Skiing is one of the most intense sports out there that can take a toll on an unprepared body, kids and adults alike. So, weird as it sounds, but you really start getting your kids ready for skiing in the winter during their summer holidays and fall sporting routines. Build the muscles that will be able to carry out the stunts of skiing proper time ahead.
Getting the right gear is your next a crucial step of preparation. They will need some extra equipment beyond the basics. Here is a short list with a couple of pointers.
- With Skis it is important to get the right size right. We found an excellent summary of the types and sizes on Thrillspire. This page has superb information on how to choose skis by skier level, correct size (length), right type, and has some recommended brands. Make sure you have them fitted and tuned by a trained professional at a ski shop.
- Bindings should also only be adjusted by a trained professional at a ski shop to make sure they are able to release when your kid falls, but not easy enough to cause falls of their own.
- Boots need to be the right size and fit correctly to provide the best control over their skis. Boots should always be buckled up snugly to give feet and ankles the support they need.
- Poles are also fitted in length. Check the Thrillspire page above for more info, it says it all.
- Helmets are a must for kids and adults alike, although kids often put up a fight when it comes to wearing them. Do not size a helmet with room to grow: if it is too large, it is unsafe. Here is a great video that shows how to choose the right size. Also, make sure to get your child a real ski helmet (not a football or bike helmet) that allows space for goggles and ventilation on warm days. To get an idea how to actually convince your kid to wear the helmet, just visit our webshop. 🙂
- Goggles and sunglasses are needed not just because the sun’s rays are stronger at high altitudes, but they also protect your kids eyes from branches, for example.
- Gloves should be warm and allow enough room for your kid’s fingers to move freely to grip the poles.
- Warm cloths are at the end of the list, but they should be mentioned, too. You can read a pretty good list and description on Kidshealth about what pieces of clothing and what kind of material they should be (good ol’ cotton won’t do it this time).
When you get there
It might sound trivial, but often dismissed factor that can make a huge impact on the quality of time your kid can spend on the ski slopes is simply getting used to the place. Skiing happens on higher altitudes that can have an unexpected impact on anyone’s health, let alone children. Always allow for a day at least to get used to the different conditions up on the hill.
Another thing that should be a must but often disregarded is another simple thing: taking ski lessons. Even the more experienced skiers can use some good advice from trainers and it is crucial for kids to get their skills updated before hitting the slopes.
The last super important preparation before your kid can get on the skies and finally take off is making sure he or she has the basics: some food, water and lip balm. Yes, lip balm. Super important.
Safe skiing comes down to some real simple, seemingly commonsense rules that are, unfortunately, still often disregarded known as The Code. The code functions like a sort of road rules and traffic laws on the ski slope and make sure that all the skiers can have a fun time and be safe regardless of their skill level. The rules are simple, like people ahead have the right of way, or when you merge into a trail, you need to look uphill and yield, but it is vitally important to talk to your kid about them before they even travel to the ski resort. Make sure that they are familiar with the rules and trust their common sense that they will actually obey them when in action.
The National Ski Areas Association made a pretty neat video about The Code. It is absolutely worth the 5 minute to watch and a couple more minutes to talk about it with your kids. Do this and you have done a great deal to protect your children from accidents even if you are not there to hold their hands.
A fun way to sum up the basics is Mary Stubbs Palmer’s book: Safely Ski From A to Z. It was written for children by a practicing skier mom with a lot of fun illustration so that even safety would not be boring.
For further great reading we would recommend Kristen’s website at Brave Ski Mom, who lives the life of a skiing mom with her kids and has some great pieces of advice.
Share this article with friends to help them protect their kids on the ski slopes. And then… just let them have fun. 🙂