03 Jan How to Stay Safe On Your First Ski Trip
Overview: A ski trip can be a thrilling way to enjoy winter. But while you’re making a plan to have fun, don’t forget to keep safety in mind. Learn how to stay safe on your ski trip and enjoy it to its fullest!
The cool mountain air rushing over your face as you speed down a beautiful snowy mountain is one of the most fun and exhilarating experiences you can enjoy. Skiing is an addictive sport and an all-ages activity that everyone enjoys. Skiing for the first time is a daunting experience, but you’ll fall in love with the sport once you do it with the right tactics.
But just like all sports, skiing can be risky. Especially if you aren’t taking the correct precautions, the speed of skiing combined with mountainous terrain makes it a sport that demands to be taken seriously. You have to be conscious of how you’ll avoid accidents before you jump on that chairlift. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few hints and tips to help you stay safe next time you hit the slopes.
What to Expect When You Ski for the First Time
First things first: It’s going to be challenging. Maybe you’ve gone ice-skating or inline-skating in the past, so you think you’re ready to strap on some skiis. But skiing is entirely different from any sporty activity you might have done before. It’ll be fun, but there’s definitely a learning curve.
Once you’ve gotten used to the way the skiis feel on your feet, and you’ve perfected your grip on the ski poles, you’ll begin to relax and enjoy yourself – and the more you ski, the more your confidence will grow, and the more fun you’ll have. But as your uncertainty melts away like that snow on the mountain, just remember to stay conscious of common-sense safety practices.
Take Your Skiing Lessons:
When skiing for the first time, we highly recommend taking some lessons. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, snowboarding caused 54,188 emergency room visits in 2011. The usual cause behind those incidents is excess speed. Collisions with stationary objects like a lift tower or a tree, resulting in losing balance, are the most common factors associated with fatalities.
Before you make your first run, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the essential skills required. Many ski resorts will offer lessons for a small fee, or even for free, and some of them will allow you to repeat the basic training course if you don’t quite get the hang of it the first time. If you’ve gone skiing before but it’s been a while, you still might want to take a lesson to refresh your memory.
It’s likely that you’ll be taking lessons as part of a group — which can be a good thing, as the other “students” in the “class” will probably be starting at a similar level of inexperience. If the instructor shares a piece of advice that you don’t quite understand, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat it.
We know how easy it can be to get intimidated when taking lessons in a new activity. The fear and excitement of trying something different with people you don’t know become interesting. Usually, in the first lessons, you’ll learn how to turn, slow down, and ride the ski lifts. These lessons are generally half a day, so you’ll have the other half of the day to practice with your friends and improve your technique.
Depending on the course contents and how quickly you pick everything up, you might only want one lesson to get the basic skills – but that might not be enough to ensure your safety to its fullest. If you really want to learn quickly, consider taking private skiing lessons, which can give you even more in-depth knowledge. Similar to personal training, the instructor will focus only on you, allowing you to progress quicker than if you were in a group.
Consider Yourself a Beginner:
The journey of getting good begins with the first steps of getting started. When you’re a beginner, focus on what’s taught to you. When you are with a ski instructor, you’ll have a lot of flat areas and a pretty slight “nursery slope” – as well as a simple ski lift to take you to the top. Focus on your lessons and practice before going onto the bigger slopes to keep yourself safe and sound while enjoying the exhilarating skiing experience; focus on your lessons and training before going onto the bigger slopes.
Another fact that you need to remember and understand before you start is that you will lose your balance! That’s not a threat – just a heads up! Falling is par for the course in skiing; everyone falls. The key is just to be ready for it, and when it happens, laugh and get straight back up.
Don’t worry – the snow is soft and you won’t be going that fast at first — and if you’re lucky, you won’t get any lasting bruises. Don’t worry too much about your dignity on your first ski trip. Just shake off those pratfalls and use the experiences to improve your skills and your confidence. When you’re sitting on a cozy couch in your cabin or hotel room later that night, talking about the laughs you had when everyone was struggling to stay upright, you won’t even remember the pain. We hope.
Don’t Get Intimidated:
When skiing for the first time, you’re going to be shaky, hesitant, and slow. What can become more annoying is when you’re taking your time to go down a slope and a small elementary school-aged child whizzes past you at breakneck speed. Seeing someone younger and better than you at something you’re struggling with can be very frustrating. Don’t let them put you off, and just keep going. Those are kids who ski all the time, so don’t worry about comparing yourself to them!
Wear Ski Boots:
Ski boots are pretty different from your regular shoes, and you might initially feel uncomfortable. Those bulky boots might take some time to get used to, but your foot should be snug and not move around too much. However, if your foot is in crushing pain by the end of the day, exchange those boots for a different size or style! Excruciating pain means there’s something awry with your current ski boots.
Related Reading: Different types of ski boots you can buy
Quick Tips on How to Reduce the Risk of Injuries While Skiing:
Don’t wear cotton and nylon clothes as they can absorb water. Waterproof trousers and jackets are the way to go for your skiing wardrobe. It won’t be a pleasant trip back to your accommodations if you’re soaking wet by the end of the day.
There’s no point taking your knitted mittens onto the slopes — they’ll be soaking soon, and your hands will be freezing. Leave the mittens your mom made you at home, and try to procure a pair that won’t let in any snow.
Get in shape before the season, and not only for the ski trip; a regular 45 minutes cardio routine will help reduce fatigue and injury for any strenuous physical activity.
As we mentioned, beginners should invest in proper instructions, including learning how to get up if they fall and what to do in case of a sudden injury.
If you have to stop, stop on the side of the run and not in the middle where other skiiers will be passing through.
Look both ways and uphill before crossing a trail.
Never ski on closed runs or boundaries, as these areas aren’t monitored. It’s impossible to be sure of the snow conditions in these areas, so the chances of you getting stuck there are highly probable.
Last but not least – be aware of any specific rules or regulations at the ski resort you’ve chosen. If the resort or your equipment rental company requires you to sign any kind of waiver, read it before putting your name on the dotted line so you know what you’re agreeing to. Ski resorts are responsible for your safety if they know dangerous conditions exist on their premises, so make sure you receive and process all information they present to you.
If you get injured due to the negligence of management at a ski resort, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. This is a worst-case scenario, but if it comes up, you’ll want to contact an experienced attorney like the Law Offices of William D Shapiro who can take care of your rights and get you your due compensation.
Remember, it’s all about having fun! Enjoy your skiing experience, but follow the tips to be safe and smart. Your first ski trip can be a great time to make memories with family and friends, and you might even make new friends with the same interests.
Even if you’ve never skied before in your life, you can learn how to enjoy the sport while staying safe. Have a great time, and see you on the slopes!