Using a chair lift or gondola while at Ski Apache, is a safe and secure mode of transportation, but accidents can happen – especially when people are unaware of the proper procedures. Educating your children is an important first step to ensuring their safety on the lifts. Mountain safety and personal responsibility should be understood prior to hitting the slopes or using the chair lifts.
Keep in mind, when your child loads a lift chair in a ski/ride class, they may not always be riding with another adult. Remember, it’s your responsibility to know how to use and ride the lift safely as well as your child’s. When available, always pull down the safety bar as a precaution, especially when with children.
Ski Apache promotes the use of helmets on the slopes. We urge skiers and riders to wear a helmet. We view skiing and snowboarding in a controlled and responsible manner. A skier’s behavior has as much or more to do with the safety of the sport as does any piece of equipment. In 2002, Lids on Kids www.lidsonkids.org debuted as a resource for consumers to learn about helmet use in skiing and snowboarding. This site contains FAQs about helmet use, fit and sizing information, general slope safety information, related articles and games, and testimonials about helmet use from well-known athletes, including US Ski Team members.
- Dress in layers. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. For example, dress your kids in polypropylene underwear (top and bottoms) which feels good next to the skin, dries quickly, absorbs sweat and keeps you warm. Your kids should also wear a turtleneck, sweater and waterproof jacket. When buying skiwear, look for fabric that is water and wind-resistant.
- Be prepared. Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Kids should wear gloves or mittens (mittens are usually better for kids who are susceptible to cold hands). Also, 80 percent of heat-loss is through the head, a helmet is warm and many models cover the ears, ensuring a warmer Snow Sport experience. Be sure they wear sun protection, even on cloudy days. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think! A ski vacation with a sun burn is no fun! Kids should have sunglasses and goggles with them. Skiing is a lot more fun when you can see. Always wear eye protection.
- Put your kids in ski school to get them on the right track.Children’s instructors know how to teach kids, it’s their business. Then you’ll enjoy skiing with your kids and they will be proud to show you their skiing abilities.When you’ve decided what area to take your ski trip, call the ski resorts in the area and research how each area’s children ski school programs are structured. Ask about the number of kids in the class? What if your child gets cold? What if your child wants to stop skiing after one hour?
Although it is very unlikely that your child would get separated from the instructor, be sure your child has a trail map and is able to remember the instructor’s name.
- Make sure your child knows when to stop skiing. For example, if the clothing layer next to their skin stays wet and they’re chilled, if they’re injured, have a problem with equipment or even if they’re simply worn out. Educate them that it’s alright to stop before the end of the day and breaks are fun.
- Always have a meeting place if you get separated. For example, at the bottom of chairlift #2.
Starting your kids early, opens a world of adventure, fun, laughter and beautiful scenery unsurpassed, from many other sports and interests. It’s a tremendous feeling to learn that your kids’ fondest childhood memories were of your family ski vacations and now skiing has become an important element in their lives.