Care Flight tips: Ski/snowboard safety

With an abundance of snow in the Sierra, safety is important while in the slopes.

With an abundance of snow in the Sierra, safety is important while in the slopes.

Skiing or snowboarding is a fun activity that offers participants the enjoyment of being in the great outdoors, excellent exercise, a chance for families to bond and the potential for injury. Care Flight would like to offer some tips to keep snow enthusiasts safe this winter on the slopes.

Tips for skiing and snowboarding:

Obtain proper equipment. Be sure to have your ski or snowboard bindings adjusted correctly at a local ski shop. You can rent good ski or snowboarding equipment at resorts.

When buying skiwear, fabric should be water- and wind-resistant. Look for wind flaps to shield zippers, snug cuffs at wrists, collars that can be snuggled up to the chin and drawstrings that can be adjusted for comfort and keep wind out. Be sure to buy quality clothing and products.

Dress in layers. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constant temperature changes. For example, dress in polypropylene underwear (top and bottoms), which feels good next to the skin, wicks moisture away, dries quickly, and keeps you warm. Wear a turtleneck, sweater and jacket.

Be prepared. Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Bring a hat and gloves with you to the slopes as you lose heat through any exposed area of the body.. Ski helmets, in addition to their safety duties, help retain heat. Wear gloves or mittens (mittens are usually better for those susceptible to cold hands).

Clip a whistle and pen light on your clothing or in a pocket. These two items can help alert others that you need help or help to locate you if you become lost.

Wear sun protection. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think, even on cloudy days! Don’t forget about your lips

Always wear eye protection. Have sunglasses and goggles with you. Skiing and snowboarding are a lot more fun when you can see and the reflection of the sun on the snow can burn the corneas of the eyes and cause snow blindness which may not be noticed for several hours after intense sun exposure

ALWAYS BE SURE TO WEAR A PROPER FITTING HELMET! Parents need to set a good example for their children by also wearing helmets.

Tips for while on the slopes:

Take a lesson. Like anything, you’ll improve the most when you receive some guidance. The best way to become a good skier or snowboarder is to take a lesson from a qualified instructor.

The key to successful skiing/snowboarding is control. To have it, you must be aware of your ability, the terrain and the skiers/snowboarders around you.

Be aware of the snow and weather conditions and how they can change throughout the day. Snow can become very firm and create hard and fast runs. Begin a run slowly. Weather is a factor that must be considered at all times. Wind and blowing snow can make you disoriented and cause you to become lost on the hill.

Skiing and snowboarding require a mental and physical presence.

If you find yourself on a slope that exceeds your ability level, side step down the slope or if necessary, you may always remove your equipment and walk.

The all-important warm-up run prepares you mentally and physically for the day ahead. Drink plenty of water. Be careful not to become dehydrated.

Curb alcohol consumption. Skiing and snowboarding do not mix well with alcohol or drugs.

Know your limits. Learn to ski and snowboard smoothly-and in control. Stop before you become fatigued and, most of all have fun. STAY INSIDE MARKED AREAS ON GROOMED TRAILS. Remember that in wooded areas, it is not only the trees that can present a danger. Skiers die every year from snow immersion suffocation after falling into a tree well.

If you’re tired, stop skiing. In this day and age of multi-passenger gondolas and high-speed chairlifts, you can get a lot more time on the slopes compared to the days of the past when guests were limited to fixed grip chairlifts.

Follow the “Your Responsibility Code,” the seven safety rules of the slopes:

1. Always stay in control.;

2. People ahead of you have the right of way;

3. Stop in a safe place for you and others;

4. Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield;

5. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment;

6. Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails;

7. Know how to use the lifts safely.



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