Every fantastic adventure is made successful (in part) by abiding certain guidelines. For instance, backcountry skiers require knowledge of terrain, avalanche conditions, and rescue for a successful day.
But what about a simple family trip up to a resort? We’ve found the same goes for families and our in-bounds ski/snowboarding adventures. As our kids have progressed beyond the bunny slope, we’ve found it helpful and somewhat necessary to set some guidelines. Below are rules that everyone, kid and parent, should know.
1. Set a meeting place.
This is a great tip for large groups and families. Set a meeting place in a centralized location just incase you lose someone. It is incredibly easy, especially on busy weekends, to lose your kid or your friend. Before you even jump on the lift, make plans for lunch (time/place) so everyone can reconnect. Do the same thing for the end of the day. Don’t rely on cell phones! There have been many times where I lost service, or battery power, and wished I’d relied on “old-school” principles.
2. Discuss with your kids a safe place to stop on a run.
Kids (and beginners) do not naturally know where/when it is safe to stop and when it is not. This can be an abstract concept to explain but here a few tips:
3. Know the rules in Terrain Parks
Stop on the side of runs, not the middle.
Stop before you drop below a hill, not just after.
Be aware of skiers to the sides and behind you, before coming to a quick stop.
If you can see the uphill skiers above you, then there is a good chance they can see you.
I love, love, love that they are making terrain parks for kids and beginners, not just the experts. My kids spend hours flying off the jumps and attempting rails. But there are certain ‘rules’ that many kids are not aware of.
For instance, they should stop at the top of the terrain park and wait in line for their turn. Not just blow through unaware of the other riders waiting.
They should also be aware of signals they might see and/or use. Arms crossed if a skier is down, arms in a circle if it is safe to proceed. If your kids are really young, stay with them in the terrain park so you can signal to other riders if they fall in a blind spot. I had to do this once or an adult rider would have landed on my 5-year-old son had I not thrown up the “crossed-arms” signal.
4. Discuss ways to cross a run and looking for uphill traffic.
Unlike crossing the street, the skier who is crossing a run does not have the right-of-way. In fact, the uphill skier does. But I cannot tell you how many times my kids have (and still do) charge into a run, completely unaware of riders coming down at them.
I like to think of this like crossing a street. Stop. Look. Proceed with caution.5. Help your kids identify “safe strangers.”
This tip piggy-backs off our first point, set a meeting place. But what if you forget too? What if you never meet up? What if you lose a kid?
My husband and I spend some time asking them who is safe to ask for help should they become injured or separated from us. Ski Patrollers, Lift Operations and Guest Services workers are great examples of “safe strangers.” And at many resorts, these people have noticeable jackets or uniforms making them easy to spot. Help your kids become acquainted with resort employees should they need them at some point.
A few simple tips and rules, can save you time, hassle, and worry when exploring the slopes with your kids and friends. Check out the Mountain Safety page for more info.
What are your tips?
Alyssa Erickson I am a wife, mom, rock climber, skier, coffee lover and all around adventure lover with a passion for writing. I have my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado and am the founder of KidProject.org. I live and play near the Wasatch Range, partnering with my husband and teaching my kids to make the most of life and the One who gave it to us.