Colorado is home to some of the nation’s most popular ski resorts, and our community has a growing number of young athletes who have a passion for skiing and snowboarding.

Children often begin these sports at very young ages. Before your children hit the slopes, make sure they have the right gear, technique and knowledge of safety rules.

Prepare your children

Children should be outfitted with proper cold weather gear and be prepared for rapid changes in conditions. All equipment should be age-appropriate, fitted and adjusted properly. Practicing off the slopes can help children transition to lessons. Helmets are necessary, and parents can lead by example by wearing helmets themselves.

Eight safety rules

  1. Learn the sport. Qualified instructors can teach children the proper skills to participate safely and avoid injury.
  2. Practice falling. Teach children to land on their bottom, not their hands. Instructors can demonstrate how to fall safely. Teach them to avoid getting up until they have come to a complete stop.
  3. Do not allow children to ski or snowboard alone. Children need to have adult supervision.
  4. Be in control. The key to successful skiing and snowboarding is control. To exercise control, one must learn proper skills, be aware of other skiers and snowboarders and be able to adjust to changing snow conditions.
  5. Know children’s limits. When on a slope that is too difficult, teach children to remove their equipment and sidestep down the slope.
  6. Wear sun protection. Altitude and glare from snow make sun damage more likely.
  7. Pay attention to fatigue and nutrition. Skiing and snowboarding is hard work and requires rest and adequate nourishment.
  8. Know the code. The National Ski Areas Association endorses a responsibility code for skiers and snowboarders. Familiarizing young athletes with the code can help prevent accidents and injury.

These seven safety rules are prominently displayed at ski resorts:

  • Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right-of-way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.