Advice For Families And Kids

Articles and advice from our ski safety partner Fjordsar

This section is for children and families who ski or who are looking to take up skiing in the future.

The advice is provided by Caroline Elliott – an expert in mountain safety, qualified ski patroller and owner of Fjordsar.

For detailed information visit: www.fjordsar.com or email questions for Caroline here: info@skisafely.co.uk

Some words from Caroline;

Coronavirus and skiing:

We’ve all had time to reflect the past few weeks;

The winter season for many was cut short by at least a month due to the current pandemic, and since then there has been little or no snowfall in many resorts, as if nature knew!

Climate Change

Winter seasons are changing and whether this is due to climate change as a result of human’s negative action or a normal cyclical change in weather over time, we are facing the inevitability of having little snow in the lower resorts in years to come and not that far off on a timescale. Snow canons are a luxury but can only function in the right temperatures and with a combination of other complex factors.

I personally have noticed how these changes have occurred in just the past 15 years of my work in ski patrol.

Small but important environmental gestures

It really is time to change our habits; maybe now with more insight with what has occurred in the world we need to seriously look at how we impact as visitors the mountain environment we all love to visit whether this be in the winter or summer.

Positive sustainable gestures can be from the start of our holiday; transfer to the resort where possible by train, to using the resort shuttle service, to the small gesture of bringing your water bottle with you and not buying mineral water in plastic bottles!

Preparation

Do you turn up at a half marathon, or long park run with no prior physical training?

Snowsports are very physically demanding; if you would like to enjoy them to the full, on often your one and only wintersports trip of the year, make sure your engine is finely tuned and the risk of it breaking down is a lot slimmer!

A lot of us to live and play at sea level, so being at altitude is a new phenomenon. Yes we all love a Glühwein or Vin Chaud and a big Weiss bier after a hard days skiing but remember, hydrating with water is essential. At altitude whilst taking part in snowsports you might not notice that you sweat, and being at altitude itself dehydrates. For you muscles at night to recover, drinking water and stretching is essential. Who goes to the gym and doesn’t drink water during their workout and stretch after?

There will be less lactic acid build up and less soreness as a result and your legs will not tire = you can ride all day long!

Safety on and off the slopes

Just some basics;

If a sign says; slow down or shut, it’s there for a reason! Ski patrol who make sure slopes are safe and open them in the morning to the clients can be quite lazy creatures and we only put signs out when we have to; to avoid accidents. And a little reminder, if you head off down a shut slope and you have or cause an accident your insurance company will not pay for the evacuation or the medical expenses incurred to you or the other person.

The same goes for your children, why wait until they reach resort to teach them the safety essentials – the FIS conduct rules. This can be made into a fun game, you don’t need to rely on a ski instructor for teaching them, empower them before so they are aware from the moment they slide onto that wonderful crystal snow.

Did you know over 50% of accidents occur on the blue/green slopes? Why? A lot of people on these slopes have less control, many let their guard down, ‘oh it’s an easy slope’ – this is a prime location for collisions.

At the end of the day, if you are feeling tired or your children start to show signs of fatigue take, if possible, a lift down. Often the slopes funnelling to the bottom of slopes late in the day are crowded with tired clients. It’s nothing to be ashamed of taking a lift to end the day.  I often used to pop my avalanche dog in the bubble car at the end of the day, knowing that the possibility of a person riding in to him and cutting a paw or ligament was higher.

Generally, the slopes are a safe place to be if we have respect for ourselves and fellow users.

Ski patrol evacuations are often for minor injuries, which in many cases could have been avoided if the person had been better prepared physically and respected the mountain safety rules of conduct (FIS)

I look forward to going into more depth these pointers in the months to come..

Preparation

Do you turn up at a half marathon, or long park run with no prior physical training?

Snowsports are very physically demanding, if you have a good level you can cover up to 25 miles a day; if you would like to enjoy them to the full, on often your one and only wintersports trip of the year, make sure your engine is finely tuned and the risk of it breaking down is a lot slimmer!

About Caroline:

It’s a good thing Caroline thrives on challenge! She embarked in France in 2007 on the long complicated journey from the ski test to the final examination to become a ‘pisteur secouriste (ski patroller) 1er degré, and subsequently attended the Ecole National de Ski et d’Alpinisme (Chamonix) in 2011 to gain the pisteur secouriste 2éme degré.

All along she sought to enrich further her knowledge by following parallel courses including ‘Observateur NivoMétéo’ with Météo France to study the weather systems and snow environment along with the qualification to detonate potential snow masses as an ‘Artificier’ with the ANENA.

However, the crème de la crème of moments has to be when she entered the Fire and Rescue Mountain Rescue unit to become a Search and Rescue dog handler in 2010 with Fjord her French Flat Coated Retriever.

Now specializing in education in snow safety and sustainability for the mountain environment you’ll often see Caroline at events around the UK giving inspirational talks before the winter season and spreading the snow safety message; School visits are part of this work, as she is determined to empower youngsters with the essential knowledge.

“Prevention is better than cure!”

Like to know more; visit her website

www.fjordsar.com she can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @fjordsar