Family Safety on the Slopes

Okemo Family SM

At this time of year the leaves are just about gone, daylight savings time is upon us, the mountains in the distance become snow- (or frost-) covered – and those of us who love winter sports start to dig out our gear. But, while we are thinking about how much fun we are going to have, there are some safety items that we should be thinking about, too.

Gear check

Check out your gear & make sure it is in reasonable condition. Are your skis delaminating? Is your helmet dinged up a lot? Looking for new gear now rather than the day that you are headed out is certainly less stressful – and probably more helpful, too.

Helmet check

Speaking of helmets, make sure that your children (and you) have a properly-sized helmet. One perched on the top of your head will not help in a fall. And as a bonus – helmets definitely help to keep you warmer.  To get tips on how to choose the right helmet, read “Choosing a Helmet for your Kids.”

(You can also enter to win a youth helmet from anon – see directions at the end of the post.)


Prepare for the weather

While going out in less than ideal conditions is necessary if you plan to get out for more than a few days each year – being prepared for these days is critical. If it is going to precipitate make sure you have something that will wick away the wetness. And layer. Layers trap heat between them – keeping you even warmer; and you can always take a layer off if you heat up later. Remember, cotton is not the best choice in winter wear, as it soaks up moisture which can make you much colder and may ultimately lead to frostbite. There are many other synthetic (or wool) base layers to choose from. Read this synthetic layer review” ”Kombi Base Layer – Not Your Old Long Johns.”

Assess your child’s abilities

Once you are out on the slopes, make sure you take a fair assessment of your own (and your children’s) abilities. Don’t head down a trail that you don’t think you can complete. And don’t always follow your children once they are a bit older – they may be better than you (and that is OK). Also, try to instill cautiousness in your kids when they are younger, so that they do not get in over their heads with their friends on a difficult trail.


Know when to call it a day

Another thing to think about when you are out enjoying the slopes is in how tired you are getting. As a ski patroller (and a physical therapist), I have had more than a few folks tell me that they were on their last run when they were injured. Getting into lunch early will give you just as short of a line as waiting until the lunch crowd has passed, and it’s never too early for après!

As a fellow winter lover, I encourage you to get out there and have fun. If you remember these safety tips, you can keep up with these activities for a lifetime.

phy001376Guest Blogger, Traci Glanz, PT, is a physical therapist at The University of Vermont Medical Center’s Orthopedics & Rehabilitation Center. She spends her weekends on Ski Patrol at Smuggler’s Notch, where she has been a patroller for 13 years. Her favorite ski memory from last year was watching her five-year-old son teach her three-year-old daughter how to ski through Billy Bob’s Bear Den.

Enter to Win a Youth Helmet from anon!

Share a safety tip of your own in the comments section of the this post and be entered to win a youth helmet from anon! A random winner will be chosen Tuesday, November 17, 2015 and will be posted to the All Mountain Mamas Facebook page.

18 Responses to “Family Safety on the Slopes”

  1. Ski or snowboarding safety tip.

    Put a neon colored piece of duct tape on the back of your child helmet. Easy to pick your kid out on the slopes. Too many skiers and riders wearing blue, black, etc.


  2. Dress your kids in one more layer than you would wear in the same weather. Have fun this winter!

  3. Having the helmet is the first step but wearing it is the most important step! In my neighborhood i am constantly encouraging kids to wear their helmets while riding their bike! Thankfully some took my advice : )

  4. Remembering to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

  5. Set a lifelong example for your kids and always wear a helmet. If the ski’s are on, then the helmet goes on. It’s a good practice for sledding too!

  6. I like to go over chairlift rules again before our first trip to the mountain. No matter how many times they’ve ridden the lifts, I’ve learned never to assume they remember good chairlift safety at the beginning of a new season!

  7. always make sure scarves are tucked in – or just wear neckwarmers so as not to get caught on the lift.

  8. Leave the slopes before the tired grumbling sets in. It makes for a much happier ride home and no one gets hurt through being too tired to keep up.

  9. Stay warm and well hydrated.. Safety first!

  10. Check your kids skin on a regular basis. Fingers and nose especially. Take a hot chocolate break and let them warm up. Especially when it’s super cold. That’s not the time to force them to do more runs than they can really handle.

  11. Don’t forget sunscreen! Make sure they are wearing their goggles at all times to protect their eyes.

  12. My tip… bring Grandpa skiing with you. The more adults the better!

  13. Dress in layers to stay warm!!!

  14. Insist kids wear neoprene face masks on really cold days. Breathable but warm!

  15. Always wear a helmet and make sure it fits properly. Putting anything more than a helmet liner under it defeats the purpose of the helmet.

  16. Dress them in bright-colored ski clothes and helmets so they can be clearly seen by other skiers/boarders.

Leave a Reply