Looking Out for Yourself—and Others

Keep your head up to stay safe on the ski slopes.

How great would it be to have the mountain to yourself, completely alone on the slopes? 

All smiles while learning to ski.
All smiles while learning to ski.Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

We all wish, but that’s extremely rarely, if ever, the case. Many beginner skiers have to share the slopes with other beginners, and more advanced skiers coming through merging runs at faster speeds. That makes being aware of your surroundings of upmost importance, as a basic rule of ski safety.

Just as you don’t want other skiers or snowboarders crashing into you, they deserve the same consideration. Always ski in control and within your abilities, especially with regard to speed. It’s ultimately the uphill skier who is responsible for avoiding collisions. No matter how annoyingly erratic or unpredictable the guy in front of you is, it’s your job not to crash into him.

The gentle green runs you’re likely to be skiing at first often cut across the face of the mountain, frequently intersecting steeper expert trails that go straight down it – often traveled by expert skiers going very fast. Whenever you come to such an intersection, look uphill before crossing. Yes, it’s the uphill skier’s responsibility not to crash into you, but as with a crosswalk on a busy street, it’s wise to look first.

SKI's Director of Instruction Mike Rogan shows how it's done.
SKI’s Director of Instruction Mike Rogan shows how it’s done.Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

When you stop to rest, skiers coming down the trail have a responsibility to avoid crashing into you. However, it’s important to make sure you’re in a spot where they can easily see you. A rule of thumb is to move to the side of the trail before you stop. Be especially wary of blind spots on the downhill sides of knolls; if you fall there, get up quickly so skiers above can see you.

AIM Adventure U’s Intro to Skiing course is designed to take you through the basics of skiing, without actually having to step foot on the hill. The six-week online course can be completed from wherever you are, on your own time. Through interactive lessons, which include photo and video instruction, you’ll be prepared to navigate everything from the rental shop to your first turns on the slopes.

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