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Safety Tips: Skiing

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Skiing is an exciting and fun winter activity. But it can also lead to injuries, some of them serious. To stay safe on the slopes, follow these safety tips.

Safe Skiing Gear

The right gear can help prevent injuries. Be sure everyone who is skiing has:

  • Skis, boots, bindings, and poles fitted by a trained professional.
  • A helmet that is made for skiing. Be sure it fits properly and keep the chin strap fastened.
  • Goggles that are the right size and tinted for sun protection. Sunglasses can be worn instead, but goggles help you see better if it rains or snows, keep your face warmer, and are better at protecting your eyes from tree branches and other hazards.
  • Warm clothing, including a hat, gloves or mittens, snow pants, and a winter jacket. A neck gaiter (which goes around your neck and can be pulled up over the face) can help keep your face warm. Dressing in layers can help you adjust if you get too warm. If you wear thermal underwear, get the kind made of wool or synthetic material rather than cotton, which takes a long time to dry and will make you cold.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF of 30 or greater for daytime skiing, even on cloudy days.

Safe Slopes

On the slopes, everyone needs to follow these rules:

  • Know which slopes are right for your skill level and ski only on those. If you find yourself on a slope that is too difficult, keep your skis on and sidestep down the hill.
  • Don't ski alone.
  • Stay on marked paths and never go past the ski area boundary or into a closed area.
  • Pay attention to warning signs such as "Slow skiing area" or "Caution."
  • Before you start down a hill or merge onto a trail, look uphill to make sure no one is coming toward you.
  • Skiers and snowboarders in front of you have the right of way. Keep your distance and stay in control.
  • Never stop in the middle of a trail or in any spot where you can't be seen from above, such as below a drop-off.

Lessons can be helpful for skiers of all levels. Sign up for a lesson from a trained instructor certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). Private lessons will give you the most one-on-one time with an instructor. Less expensive ski school group lessons work very well too and are a chance to make new friends.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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