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Stay Safe on the Slopes with the Right Equipment

07/02/2020 10:01:01

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Here at Halsbury Ski, the health and safety of our school ski groups is our main priority, so we ensure that the ski equipment you hire from our suppliers in resort is of the highest quality.

And ski instructors will always ensure that the group has the necessary safety kit.

We also know that parents often ask you about the safety equipment their children will need to stay safe on the slopes.

Here’s our quick guide to the essentials that all groups will need, and the optional extras, which are advised for park skiing and competitive skiing, such as that which takes place at our annual school snowsports competition, the Independent Schools Ski Championship.

The Essentials

Helmet

The Ski Club of Great Britain recommend that all children under 14 years of age wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding. And in Italy and most of Austria, it’s now a legal requirement that children wear helmets when skiing or snowboarding.

You may also find that your winter sports travel insurance requires the wearing of a helmet. And we also strongly recommend the use of a ski helmet.

Helmets can’t prevent all head injuries, but they can reduce the severity of some injuries. It is always worthwhile reminding your whole group of this, as some skiers are guilty of feeling that wearing a helmet makes them invincible, which sadly it does not.

It may also be worth noting that it’s not advisable to put stickers on ski helmets, as the adhesive can weaken the shell material and, therefore, cause the helmet to be less effective.

Gloves

Gloves are obviously vital for keeping your hands warm, but they also help to protect hands from the sharp edges of skis or snowboards.

It’s important to choose gloves that are waterproof and warm – anyone who is prone to suffering from cold hands might benefit from gloves with liners or hand warmers.

You’ll also want to ensure your gloves are breathable – after all, you are taking part in a sporting activity!

And you really need to make sure your gloves fit – if they’re too long you’ll struggle to hold the poles and if they’re too short you risk exposing your wrist.

Sun protection

Appropriate sun protection is so important when skiing and yet can often be forgotten or neglected.

At high altitude, the sun’s intensity actually increases. In fact, for every 3,280 feet you gain in altitude, your UV exposure increases by 10%, without taking into account the reflection of sun off the snow.

You must wear sunscreen with a high SPF and you need to ensure it is re-applied regularly to ensure your skin is protected.

It’s also a great idea to take a lip balm with a high SPF to protect your lips from radiation and dryness.

You may also want to consider taking a face mask or scarf to help protect further from the sun and also from the risk of wind chill or even wind burn, where high winds strip the skin of its natural oils.

And you must wear goggles or sunglasses with UV protection. Eyewear without UV protection may block out the bright light, but it won’t filter out any of the sun’s radiation. This could then put you at risk of snow blindness – damage to the cornea caused by sun damage.

Optional Extras

Back protector

Because of the unusual movements, back problems can be an issue for skiers and snowboarders and a back protector can help with this.

Back protectors usually come as part of a traditional ski suit, or you can purchase separate ones to be work under ski jackets. Some are hard, like a turtle shell, while others are more flexible and made of the same material used for motorcycling clothes – these are warmed by your body heat and become malleable.

You just need to be careful that you choose the right size – if it’s too long it will stick out above your collar and pick up snow.

Protective shorts

One of the most common injuries when skiing is to the coccyx and these protective shorts can help prevent or lessen these types of injuries. They can also help prevent crushed vertebrae.

They are padded on the areas that are most likely to take a hit when you fall, such as the back and hips.

The padding also helps to keep these areas warm, which also prevents muscle cramp.

Wrist guards

Snowboarders in particular may benefit from wrist guards. Of course, the natural instinct when falling is to put your arms out to break your fall, and this can do serious damage to wrists.

Wrist guards keep your wrist rigid and absorb some of the impact.

Knee guards

Knee guards are also most useful for snowboarders, as their knees really take a bashing.

There are two main types of knee guards – rigid and flexible. The more flexible ones are becoming more popular than the rigid ones, as they allow you to move more freely.

We hope this information helps you to field questions from parents. You may also find our packing checklist and ski gear infographic useful.

And don’t forget, we offer FREE Snowsport England-recognised Snowsport Course Organiser training to our Group Leaders, to help ensure you’re equipped with all the information you need.

With over 30 years’ experience, we’re here to help with any information or advice you require, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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