Tips for Skiing with Kids – Ski Safety on the Mountain
If you have ever been to a ski resort on a busy weekend, you’ve noticed that it is swarming with identically dressed, unidentifiable little children. All little girls seem to be head-to-toe in pink, and all boys are decked out in either bright blue or red. Regardless of gender, they all have dark helmets and goggles. Two concerns come to mind: First, how do you ever find your own child in the chaos? Second, how do these little dynamos keep from bumping into each other like so many brightly colored billiard balls? Here are some tips for skiing with kids that will keep everyone in your family safe and sane on the slopes.
Safe Skiing Equipment
- BEWARE OF BORROWING SKIS, BINDINGS AND BOOTS. In order for skis to work properly (i.e., pop off after a tumble before a knee is twisted), bindings must be calibrated to the weight and ability of the skier wearing them. While it may seem harmless to borrow another kid’s skis, the risk of injury outweighs the benefits of saving the money. When you rent equipment, the ski shop will ensure that both skis and bindings are the proper size, set for your child’s individual needs, and in good working order.
- If your child owns her own equipment, tune up the skis and bindings at the beginning of every season. Ski shops that offer ski tune ups are able to check equipment so that they match your child’s changing weight and ability.
- Teach your child to carry his skis so that he does not swing them accidentally into other people.
- On the trail, be sure ski pole loops are over your child’s wrists. This will keep them close by in the event of a spill. Conversely, remember to remove them from the wrists before loading the chairlift.
Prepare Your Child for the Demands of the Day
- Take the time to start your child off with a good breakfast, with enough protein to keep him energized throughout the day.
- Protect her skin. Regardless of temperature, apply sunscreen if the sun is shining. Also consider applying a barrier such as Aquaphor or Vaseline to her cheeks, nose, lips and chin to prevent chapping.
- Tuck a nutritious power bar into her pocket, in case she gets hungry in between meals. It’s a good idea to put some tissues in there as well.
- Don’t skip or wait too long for lunch. Skiing is exciting; it’s sometimes easy to ignore signs of hunger or thirst. Avoid anything too salty, and drink plenty of water.
- If your child is showing signs of fatigue or begins skiing with less control, take a break. It’s often during that “one last run” when accidents happen.
Skiing Safely as a Group
- Always make a plan to meet somewhere central if a child gets lost or separated. Choose somewhere at the base of the mountain, so you don’t have to search for your child in your skis. It can be somewhere easy for children to recognize, such as the “waffle hut” or “big fire pit.” Avoid telling them to meet you at the “Summit Express Quad Chair Lift”—they will never remember.
- Consider a buddy system when skiing with multiple children.
- Write down parents’ names, cell numbers and hotel information on a slip of paper and put it in the child’s pocket. Don’t forget to tell the child that it’s in there!
- Make a rule to ensure that no one gets too far ahead of the group. Agree to meet at every posted trail sign, or, for older children, at designated ski lifts.
- Review the Skier Responsibility Code posted by the ski resort with your child. Informing him that his lift ticket could be cut and confiscated for failure to comply is very persuasive.
- When skiing with small children, always have a plan in place before loading the chair lift. Be aware of who will help which child, who will sit where, who will hold on to whose poles, etc.
Finally, please don’t forget perhaps the most important of all tips for skiing with kids: Be patient. Remember that your little one will be happiest when she feels confident, capable and in control. Consider this before taking her down that black diamond you’ve wanted to try all day; better to check it out in the morning when she’s physically and mentally fresh—and when you’ve had a chance to ski it yourself first.
Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!