Old Dogs Can Teach You a Few New Tricks
A little preparation goes a long way in the mountains. Toward this end, we’ve rounded up some of the long-standing patrol dogs from Lake Tahoe ski resorts to share their advice on how to stay safe, plan ahead and make sure you are around for the best ski day which is the next ski day.
- Get in shape. Don’t try to ski yourself into shape. You’ll enjoy skiing more if you’re physically fit.
- Obtain proper equipment. Be sure to have your ski or snowboard bindings adjusted correctly at a local ski shop. You can rent good ski or snowboarding equipment at resorts.
- When buying skiwear, look for fabric that is water and wind-resistant. Look for wind flaps to shield zippers, snug cuffs at wrists and ankles, collars that can be snuggled up to the chin and drawstrings that can be adjusted for comfort and keep the wind out. Be sure to buy quality clothing and products.
- Dress in layers. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. For example, dress in polypropylene underwear (top and bottoms), which feels good next to the skin, dries quickly, absorbs sweat and keeps you warm. Wear a turtleneck, sweater and jacket.
- Be prepared. Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Bring a headband or hat with you to the slopes, 60 percent of heat-loss is through the head. Wear gloves or mittens (mittens are usually better for those susceptible to cold hands).
- Wear sun protection. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think, even on cloudy days!
- Always wear eye protection. Have sunglasses and goggles with you. Skiing and snowboarding are a lot more fun when you can see.
- Take a lesson. Like anything, you’ll improve the most when you receive some guidance. The best way to become a good skier or snowboarder is to take a lesson from a qualified instructor.
- The key to successful skiing/snowboarding is control. To have it, you must be aware of your technique, the terrain and the skiers/snowboarders around you. Be aware of the snow conditions and how they can change. As conditions turn firm, the skiing gets hard and fast. Begin a run slowly.
- Skiing and snowboarding require a mental and physical presence. Turn down those earphones.
- If you find yourself on a slope that exceeds your ability level, always leave your skis/snowboard on and side step down the slope.
- The all-important warm-up run prepares you mentally and physically for the day ahead.
- Drink plenty of water. Be careful not to become dehydrated.
- Curb alcohol consumption. Skiing and snowboarding do not mix well with alcohol or drugs.
- Know your limits. Learn to ski and snowboard smoothly-and in control. Stop before you become fatigued and, most of all have fun.
- If you’re tired, stop skiing. In this day and age of multi-passenger gondolas and high-speed chairlifts, you can get a lot more time on the slopes compared to the days of the past when guests were limited to fixed grip chairlifts.
Follow the “Your Responsibility Code,” the seven safety rules of the slopes:
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.