Keeping Safe on the Slopes
8 February 2016
As the skiing season gets into full swing, it's important to think about keeping safe and injury free. Skiing and snowboarding can be extremely demanding sports and it’s good to make sure you are in good physical fitness before heading out to the slopes. It is also a good idea to do some extra daily stretches in the weeks before you go to loosen up tight calf muscles!
Make sure your equipment is checked regularly; alternatively use a reputable equipment hire company once you reach your resort. Pack adequate layered clothing, and good quality gloves, helmet, sunglasses, goggles and sunscreen.
KEEPING SAFE ON THE SLOPES
If you’re not a frequent or experienced skier it might be a good idea to book yourself some lessons to get yourself comfortable on the slopes. If hiring boots, check they feel right and fit comfortably, if not get them checked. You’ll barely be out of them! Take a break. Recognise when you are tired and need to rest. Most accidents take place in the afternoon.
WEARING A HELMET
Wearing a helmet can prevent potentially fatal head injuries. It is important to bear in mind that even with a helmet you are not invincible. You still need to take the same precautions that you would if you were not wearing a helmet. Maintain your awareness of what is going on around you.
CHOOSING A HELMET
Make sure your helmet fits you; a well fitting helmet should be snug when the chin strap is fastened, and shouldn’t roll off backward. It is a good idea to try on a number of helmets to make sure you have chosen the best fit for your head shape. Try on your goggles with your helmet to check it still fits; your helmet should not push up. Adjust if there is any uncomfortable pressure.
There should be an inch between your eyebrows and the front edge of the helmet, and the back of your helmet should not touch the nape of your neck.
GOING OFF PISTE
Usually defined as any area off of a designated marked trail or run. This includes unmarked areas between runs which are inside the resort boundary and areas located outside of the resort boundaries in the backcountry. It is important to note that ski parks, although designated and prepared, and the activities conducted within them, have a different risk and would therefore require the “Pro” level of insurance cover.
When considering the limits of your off-piste cover it is important to take into consideration the particular resort you are visiting. Laws and practice vary from country to country, and place to place, so it is necessary that you observe and comply with local law at all times. This includes taking account of signs, information and advice given by the local resort authority each day. If local advice and laws are disobeyed, your insurance cover may be compromised.
Don’t venture off-piste when there is an avalanche rating of 3, 4 or 5. Keep to terrain appropriate to your level of experience, accompanied by an experienced guide.
Remember .... Never go off-piste alone.