by Wendy Fisher
Sometimes it is hard to control your very excited child who can’t wait to get out on the hill to ski or snowboard.
As a parent of two young boys, who love skiing and know the nooks and crannies of the ski area better than I do; I worry for their safety on the mountain during the very busy and crowded holidays.
They are not used to the influx, therefore, unaware of the dangers of their own actions. When the masses come, I have to have a pep talk with them. Not just once, but about 20 times in one day. Every time we get on the lift, every time we get off the lift and every time we stop on the hill to regroup. I will even tell them to stop in order to show them what almost just happened with them or someone else close by.
Just like everything with young kids you need to repeat yourself over and over and you hope it will click eventually and become second nature to them to act appropriately; not just on those busy holiday ski days, but every time they are out.
My boys are all about hitting the jump lines, tress and any rollercoaster whoop-de-do they can find. All those obstacles are usually not all lined up in a row, but all over the place. This is where the problem lies, they are on autopilot and once they set off onto their run they have their set route in mind. They will hit their first jump on the right side of the run and then, without thinking, will zip on over to the left side of the run to get in to the whoop-de-do section they love. The zig and zaging of your child is going to cause an accident.
Kids are only thinking about themselves and how much fun they are having, but as the parent I am there to make them aware of their surroundings. When we are standing at the top of our run I have them decide which side they want to ski on. Once they make their decision I make it clear to them that they must stay on that side the whole way down. If they really want to switch sides then they must come to a complete stop on the side they are on, not the center, and we look up the hill together and make sure we cross over to the other side at a safe time. They are no longer allowed to dart from side to side without being aware of their surroundings.
I stick close behind them so they can hear me remind them not to switch sides when I can sense that they are about to. Another reason I like to follow behind them is to acting like a blocker to add that protection from skiers behind that might not have the skills to control all their actions.
I try to emphasize that they need to be just as aware on the ski hill as they are when they are about to cross a street. It also takes awhile for kids to feel comfortable to look behind them while they are in motion of heading down the hill, which is why they should stop before crossing.
Here are a few more tips to make your child aware of:
· No stopping on a rollover.
· If possible try to stop on the side of the hill and not in the center
· Don’t come to a hockey stop above a group of people (this one is a hard one to teach because many adults still love to spray their friends)
Thanks and stay safe out there!
About the Blogger:
World Champion, Wendy Fisher is an icon in the sport of big mountain freeskiing, also known as extreme skiing. Her successful freeskiing career has included traveling the globe to film with production companies including Matchstick Productions and Warren Miller.
Prior to her film career, Fisher was a member of the U.S. Ski Team, competed at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, won the 1991 U.S. Nationals overall, in addition to taking home two Extreme Freeskiing world titles.
In 2009, Freeskier Magazine named Fisher one of the “seven most influential women in skiing.” Throw in Gravity Games, X-Games, and ski mountaineering experience and there’s nothing Fisher hasn’t sampled in the high-stakes, high-speed world of cutting-edge skiing.
Fisher is a full time resident of Mt. Crested Butte, CO along with her husband and two sons.