Skiing and snowboarding are at the heart of the Vail lifestyle, and skiing safety is an essential part of what makes this lifelong love possible. Skiing and snowboarding draw people from all over the world to play—and stay—in Vail. Having a safe experience is central to having an enjoyable experience. So before you slide off of a chairlift on onto the snow this winter, take some time to review these Vail skiing safety tips.
The Essentials: Vail Skiing Safety
Vail skiing safety requires preparation, practice, and on-mountain awareness. Before the season begins, prepare in advance by doing ski-specific fitness preparation. Also take some time to do pre-season gear prep, and come in to Vista Bahn Ski Rentals (VBSR) for repair and tuning services to get gear in top shape. Pre-season is also the time to gather clothing and assess items that need replacement or repair.
Skiing safety involves skiing fitness because it’s what helps prepare your body for a safe day out on the slopes. General fitness will certainly add to your skiing and snowboarding comfort, but skiing-specific fitness preparation can enhance performance and reduce the chance of injury. Be sure to train for flexibility and agility in addition to strength, as this combination contributes to skiing safety and on-snow success.
Proper skiing and snowboarding gear also contribute to skiing safety. Take time to go through a ski gear preparation session that will likely involve ski tuning and repair services before the ski season begins. Stop by VBSR for these services, at the base of Vail’s Gondola One. Or consider trying out ski and snowboard rental equipment, including demo packages, if yours is old or outdated. When renting equipment, be sure to report your skiing or snowboarding level accurately, as using equipment that matches your abilities is an essential part of skiing safety.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS:
Proper skiing and snowboarding clothing is an important part of skiing safety because it can help prevent cold-weather injuries. Plus it can also greatly increase moment-to-moment comfort in winter weather. Choose appropriate, sport-specific clothing that’s adaptable to changing mountain weather. Skiing and snowboarding clothing that won’t become saturated with rain, sleet, and snow can help prevent cold-weather injuries from hypothermia to frostbite.
Vail Skiing Safety Clothing Checklist
Before you go skiing or snowboarding, consider the following clothing tips with skiing safety in mind:
- Do a head-to-toe clothing survey to make sure you have packed all items needed to keep skin covered in cold weather.
- Dress in layers so that you can shed clothing if you become too warm.
- Carry helpful items such as a neck gaiter, which can be pulled up to cover your face when it is cold, and a thin insulating hat to wear underneath a helmet.
- Take along lip balm that includes sun protection and sunscreen to reapply throughout the day.
- Protect your eyes and head by wearing goggles and a helmet.
Skiing Safety: Know the Code
Once you have done essential skiing fitness prep and gear preparation for skiing safety, now is the time to get outside and get on the mountain. Here, it’s especially important to know and follow skiing safety guidelines. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has developed a list of seven skiing safety guidelines called Your Responsibility Code.
These seven key guidelines are as follows:
- Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
The first guideline’s advice to always stay in control is the most important for skiing safety. Don’t overestimate your abilities, and progressively increase challenges, especially if it has been a while since you have been skiing or snowboarding. Always stay within your physical and mental limits to reduce the chance that you injure yourself or others.
In addition to this list of essential skiing safety guidelines, preparation and common sense go a long way. Remain flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions and terrain. And if you are in a group, listen to the concerns or fears of others in your party so that the whole group proceeds at a level that’s safe for each person.
Vail Skiing Safety Tips for Beginners
In addition to the skiing safety tips outlined above, it’s also advisable for beginners to take a lesson from a professional instructor. Hiring an instructor can help skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels hone their skills. But lessons are especially important for the skiing safety of beginners, who can benefit greatly from step-by-step skill progressions. Instructors can also offer expert tips and demonstrate techniques that will lead you to achieve your personal goals. Skiing safety, in this way, can also be fun when sharing it with someone who has insider knowledge of Vail’s magical places.
Beginners can take additional steps to assure skiing safety by getting outfitted with the help of industry professionals. At Vista Bahn Ski Rentals, we offer snowboard and ski rental services at our location that’s just steps from Gondola One in Vail Village. Our Vail Village location also makes it easy to access ski tuning and repair services throughout the day. Plus, we make it simple to reserve ski rentals in advance, and we offer ski storage solutions that will help lighten your load at the end of the day.