Tips for a Safe Skiing Holiday
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Canadians are lucky to live in a part of the world that is known for its good reliable winter snow. If you are heading out on a skiing holiday this winter, keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Exercise during the off-ski season. Skiing just is not fun if you are unfit and unable to move fast without exhaustion. An even better idea is to take some ski lessons before you go.
- Use good ski equipment. Either buy your own or rent it from a ski resort. The ski boots should fit well and the bindings should be properly adjusted.
- Canada has some of the best ski resorts in the world, and it is much safer to ski at a well-maintained resort with prepared slopes than in rural areas where the snow surface is rough and unpredictable.
- Wear a ski helmet to prevent serious head injuries. Skiers do not always realise how fast they go, but it is quite possible to ski at 35 kilometres an hour on hard prepared slopes.
- Research shows that the likelihood of a collision is much greater on hard and fast snow. Look out for other skiers, even if they are still far away. You cannot wait until the last moment before you take evasive action. Skiers who are ahead of and below you on the trail have the right-of-way.
- Ski with an experienced friend or in a small group with one experienced skier. You will appreciate the help if you injure yourself or get into some other trouble.
- Do not venture to rural ski areas without a probe, a shovel and a walky talky to keep in touch with your friends.
- Do not ski near greenery, since there is usually a hole around it into which you may fall.
- Learn how to spot avalanches before they occur. Either take a course, read some books or stay with an experienced skier. Most avalanches happen within 24 hours of heavy rain or snowfall, during sunny weather when snow begins t thaw or during heavy wind. If they snow collapses or cracks below you, get off immediately.
- If you cannot avoid an avalanche completely, try to ski out to the side. If this fails, give up on skiing and simply try to stay on the surface while creating space around your head with your hands. When the avalanche slows, try to move sideways again to get off its route.
Be safe on the snow this winter so you can return again next year.