Know before you go!

Being prepared is essential to having a safe and enjoyable day at the ski area.

WEATHER

  • Plan ahead for variations in weather. Dress appropriately, wearing layers. Warmth and visibility are key safety components. Even in the summer, full-length clothing and proper closed-toe footwear provides important protection.
  • Always wear sunscreen, and goggles or sunglasses, even on cloudy days. Even in the winter, UV rays are reflected from the snow surface. 
  • Cold temperatures increase the likelihood of frostbite. Dress warm and keep an eye on exposed skin. Go inside immediately if skin begins to turn white.
  • In summer, be aware of heat exhaustion. Proper hydration and wearing moisture-wicking clothing will help keep heat exhaustion at bay.
  • Take note of the conditions and be aware of changing surface conditions. When the snow surface is hard and fast, it is easy to ski/ride at high speed, increasing the risk for serious injury if you fall and slide.  Speed and traction on mountain bike trails also varies depending on how dry or wet the trails are.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Be mindful of where you stop on the hill, for your safety and the safety of others. When resting, move over to the side of the run. Never stop under a roller, jump, cat track, or on a blind corner, as other skiers, boarder and bikers may not be able to see you.
  • Always be aware of other skiers and riders on the trails. Look uphill before you commence downhill, and yield to other skiers and riders.
Shared Use Trails

There is important safety & etiquette when recreating on shared use trails.

  • Most downhill bike trails do not permit hiking or uphill biking. Unless a designated multi-use trail. 
  • On shared use trails, all bike riders must yield to hikers and uphill traffic.

Communicate your plan

  • Make a trip plan. Be sure someone knows where you have gone and when you expect to return.
  • Identify meeting points with your group in case you become separated. All group members should know where to meet should separation occur.
  • Carry a whistle and be particularly cautious when skiing/riding in the trees. Tree wells are a real risk.  Read more about tree wells below.
  • Carry a cell phone.  However, be aware that not all areas will have reception. 
emergencies & First Aid

You might not be able to anticipate an accident, but you can at least be prepared for one.  

Know who to contact in the case of an emergency - such as patrol, 9-1-1 or a perhaps a friend.  Many ski areas will provide their direct emergency or patrol phone number.  If available, program that number in your phone.

Don’t over do it

Be aware of fatigue, many visitors are on vacation and might not be conditioned to long active days.

Warm up in the morning and stretch it out, then tone it down in the afternoon.

Carry snacks to keep you fueled and stay hydrated, in all seasons.  Watch for weather related illness (see weather information above).

be aware of wildlife

The mountains are the home of many animals free roaming in their natural habitat. While visiting a ski area you may encounter animals such as bears or cougars. Know what type of wildlife you are likely to encounter while recreating and take the necessary steps to avoid an encounter.  Do not approach wildlife to take photos. Travel in groups - there is safety in numbers. Wear bells, talk or sing to alert animals to your presence.

Mountain biking and running, increase your risk of encountering wildlife (due to your speed and lack of sound) - recognize this and increase your vigilance.   If you do encounter wildlife, know how to react appropriately.

Learn more about Wildlife >> HERE.

No smoking

To protect our natural environment and create a welcoming guest atmosphere, smoking of any kind is prohibited at most ski areas in Canada.  These policies are critical in summer wildfire prevention, reducing litter, and protecting wildlife. 

Please check with your local ski area on their smoking policies.

watch for equipment 

Heavy equipment and vehicles of all sizes (such as snowcats, snowmobiles, ATV, UTV, side by sides) may be encountered during operating hours.
Give these vehicles plenty of space.

Helmets

mountain bike Helmets

Helmets are required for all riders in ski area bike parks. A full-face helmet is recommended.

Please note however that helmets have limitations and that serious head injury can still occur even when a helmet is worn. Wearing a helmet is no guarantee of safety.



Downhill Skiing & Snowboard Helmets

A helmet designed for recreational snow sports may reduce the risk of some types of head injuries. Helmets are strongly recommended when participating in downhill snow sports. In some ski area programs (for example snow school lessons involving minors) helmets are mandatory. Helmets for skiing and snowboarding are light, comfortable and have achieved wide-spread acceptance. 

Please note however that helmets have limitations and that serious head injury can still occur even when a helmet is worn. Wearing a helmet is no guarantee of safety.

See more on snow sports helmets. 

Learn about safety, preparation and helmets

Tree Wells

Natural hazards such as tree wells occur within and outside the ski area boundary. A tree well is a hole or depression that forms around the base of a tree while snow accumulates. A tree well incident occurs when a person falls, head first, into an area of deep snow around the base of a tree and becomes immobilized.

The more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become. The risks of a tree well accident or fatality can be reduced by following these basic practices:

  • Always ski or ride with a partner.
  • Keep your partner in sight and stay in visual contact so they can see you if you fall.
  • Carry a whistle and stay in voice contact with your partner.
  • Stay close enough to your partner to pull or dig each other out.

For more on tree well safety education, visit www.deepsnowsafety.org