Taking a ski lesson is akin to climbing with a belayer; you have the freedom to explore on your own, but you know that a person is present to help in case of danger. Though you may feel more at ease skiing with an instructor, you should always prioritize safety. The ski instructor will determine which terrain you explore, but there are small ways to improve your chances of staying safe in an accident. See below for our top five.
- Wear a helmet. This one is fairly obvious, but many beginners prioritize design and looks over safety. Renting a helmet is relatively inexpensive (often between $7 and $15), and safety technology has worked to improve the look and comfort of safety headgear.
- Keep your phone close to your body. Cold weather negatively impacts phone battery life; keeping your phone closer to your body will help save battery while you’re on the slopes.
- Bring back-up communication. Smartphones are known for dying quickly in cold temperatures. Additionally, some resorts are so large and remote that cellphone service is spotty at best. If you’re worried about losing contact, keep a walkie-talkie in your coat pocket.
- Keep the ski patrol phone number on-hand. While your instructor will likely signal for help in case of emergency, you should always be prepared to seek assistance on your own. Enter the ski patrol phone number into your cellphone or keep it written somewhere safe.
- Listen to your instructor. If you get caught in a tough spot, do exactly what your teacher instructs. If you’re at a steep portion of a trail, don’t assume that taking your skis off and sliding down is the safer option. Always defer to their judgement–they’re the ones getting paid, after all.