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Teaching Children to Ski? Start With These Safety Tips

teaching children to ski

Ah, skiing. Snow covered mountainsides dotted with pines; the Christianas and the stemming and the schussing. Frostbite and sunburn and broken clavicles.

Well – hopefully not that last bit.

With winter underway, however, families are turning toward the slopes for a bit of frosty recreation. Keeping safety in mind – particularly when it comes to the younger members in your party – should be first on your to-do list before you head out to the lodge.

Caution: Dangers Ahead

Teaching children to ski safely and responsibly is an integral stepping stone to falling in love with this enduring outdoor sport. While skiing is an incomparable experience pairing athleticism and breathtaking aesthetics, it also involves high altitudes, high speeds, steep hilltops, and obstacles galore, and is rife with potential mishap and injury.

Elevation, plummeting temps, and drastically changing weather conditions can result in extreme maladies from frostbite to sunburn, while rocks, stumps, trees, and particularly other skiers make falls and collisions an absolute certainty. With the proper instruction and preparation, however, the risk of broken bones and bruised egos can be substantially minimized.

Always Be Prepared  

From boots to bindings to the skis themselves, make sure your children are outfitted with the proper gear before scaling the mountainside.

  • Dress for success. Children should wear layers of warm clothing that are adaptable to the situation and fluctuating temperatures. Jackets and pants should be wind and waterproof. Underwear and socks should be thermal, and a comfortable fit.
  • Protect the eyes: Goggles to defend against debris and branches, sunglasses to deflect the sun’s glare on the snow.
  • Getting your head in the game. An authentic, properly fitted ski helmet is perhaps the most important piece of equipment your child will wear – protecting against concussion and other head injury. Additionally, a snug, warm hat will help to keep the entire body warm.

When it comes to a complete checklist of ski supplies, one can never be too cautious when skiing with children.  Sunscreen is essential for those who plan to be on the slopes for an extended period of time, as the intensity of the sun’s rays at higher elevations can result in sunburn.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Children should warm up and stretch prior to any athletic activity – especially skiing.
  • There is power in numbers. Young children should ski with a friend, and always be supervised by an adult.
  • Most ski trails will be clearly marked. In general: green circles for beginner, blue squares for intermediate, and black diamonds for advanced terrain. Make sure your children understand their limitations and ski to their ability.
  • Rules and warning signs should be obeyed at all times.
  • If children become fatigued; are experiencing difficulty with equipment; or if the layer of clothes next to the skin becomes wet and causes chills, it is time for a break. Make sure your child understands that it is ok to take a time-out.

Teaching children to ski will help to keep them safe and healthy on the slopes, and will provide your family with many more years of fun in the sun and the snow.

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