Kel from Mpora – Europe’s largest action sports video site – has put together some top tips for safety on the slopes.
After a while of thinking about how to write this article, I remembered that every sport has its risks and no one should ever be put off of trying anything new by what someone else says. This is not intended to scare someone into protecting themselves while they’re on a ski holiday or to scare them away from skiing altogether but to make sure that you have the maximum amount of fun while you are doing it. The safer you are, the more you push yourself and the more fun it becomes.
Check out the latest ski videos – all professional ski riders are always well equipped. Therefore parents really should protect their children from tip to toe to make them feel safe in the knowledge that after a fall, they’ll bounce right back up with only a plaster being needed to cover a minor scrape and the reason kids blast down a ski slope at breakneck speed is because they have no fear.
Here are some top tips for safety on the slopes:
It’s a bit clichéd to talk about safety equipment straight off the bat but it’s essential. You don’t see Simon Dumont or Jon Olsson (to name a couple) throwing themselves off 50ft kickers without something protecting their head.
If you’re a beginning or a pro it’s a necessity. It’s protecting one of the most important parts of your body so why wouldn’t you protect it. You’ll take falls here, there and everywhere on a ski slope so make sure you get your head covered. They’re pretty comfortable these days and a lot of them have headphones built in so you can listen to music without having the pain of your earphones freezing in your ear! The only thing I’d worry about is hat hair but I’ll take hat hair over a cracked skull any day of the week!
Get some goggles! Snow blindness is real and it’s a massive pain. You think you’re the coolest guy in the world for not wearing goggles on your first day out and, luckily enough, it’s a bluebird! Then you’ll spend the rest of your trip fumbling around the hotel trying to find your toothbrush.
3) Always ski with a friend
It’s always good to on the slopes with a friend. If anything happens there’s someone that’s always got an eye on you and vice-versa. If you disappear from the slope, they’ll know something’s wrong and start looking for you. If you take a wrong turning and end up in a ditch somewhere, your mates won’t know about it until they get back to the hotel and by then it can be too late!
4) Take a phone
Mobile phones are under-rated on the slopes. Keep it charged and keep it dry. A mobile phone is a cheap and simple way to tell your group when you’ve gone the wrong way down a tree line, the phone is your new best friend. I tend to use my phone when I want to meet up with a friend on the piste or if I need to connect someone. People frown upon mobile phone use but it could save your life. Remember to keep it charged though!
5) Watch the weather
Watching the weather is basically to let you know to wear the right things. Gloves are essential no matter what and the helpful tips is that it’s better to wear more clothes than not enough. The weather can change on a mountain quite rapidly so if you’re dressed for the coldest eventuality then you’ll be fine. Base layer, intermediate layer, a decent fleece and a good snow jacket and you should make it through the day OK.
6) Extra protection
If you’re a beginner here’s the most overused line you’ll ever hear: “YOU WILL FALL OVER.” You know it’s going to happen so why fight it. Wrist guards are a definite, as are a decent protector for your rear end. You’ll fall on these two the most (especially your bum) so make sure that if they’re taking the brunt, you take good care of them. You don’t want to be sat in an ice cold bath for the next two days trying to make the swelling on your coccyx go down so be kind to it!
I’m not selling you life insurance here. All I’m saying is make sure you get a decent insurance policy. It won’t cost you too much money and, for the amount of protection you’re getting in return, they’re priceless. If something were to happen, you don’t want to be stuck in a hospital in the middle of nowhere with a nurse telling you to cough up $10 grand before they put your arm back in the socket.
Those are the basics to being safe and enjoying your ski holiday. I could go into much more detail over each of them but it’s a rough guide. People will tell you other things but they all come down to essentials. Get them right and your holiday will be a blast.