Staying Safe on the Slopes – Advanced Skier Offers Her Advice
Jessica Taper had a nasty fall during a ski instructor course.
In this feature, she advises people to take precautions when participating in extreme sports.
Pictured left: Jessica takes to the slopes on holiday at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia, Canada
Skiing is Exciting, Fun and a Real Challenge
Jessica, 22, is a marketing intern in Newquay. But her true passion is skiing. She looks forward to the skiing season every year, and loves the challenge of speeding down the slopes.
“With skiing you get a real adrenaline rush and it is a very rewarding sport. When you complete a run and reach the bottom of the mountain, it’s really rewarding when you look back up,” she says.
In her spare time, Jessica also plays tennis and golf − but skiing is the clear favourite.
“I just love the surroundings when skiing. You get lots of lovely views and it’s a friendly atmosphere, which makes the challenge fun. Getting in a hot tub at the end of the day isn’t too bad either, of course.”
Prepare for the Unexpected
In March 2013, Jessica decided to improve her skiing skills and completed an instructor course. During her Level 2 training, she learned some valuable lessons about ski safety.
“Everything stepped up from Level 1. The terrain was much more difficult and the speed was greater. I was trying to keep my speed up and my instructor kept encouraging me to go faster, so I did, but ended up hitting a roller on the slope. This caused me to fall really badly and I broke my shoulder.”
“I’ve always been a really careful skier and never thought anything would happen to me. It just shows that however good you are, you never know what’s going to happen in a moment you can’t control,” says Jessica.
Pictured above: Jessica training for her Level 1 instructor course at Big White Ski Resort, Kelowna, Canada.
To avoid accidents like hers, Jessica says it’s best to stick to your own pace while skiing.
“Don’t push yourself too hard just because someone else is telling you to. Trust your own instincts and ski like you want to ski. Particularly when you’re in a group of friends, don’t feel pressured to keep up if it’s going to put you in any danger.”
How to Stay Safe on the Slopes
When participating in adventure sports, it’s important to take precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.
- Always wear a helmet
“This is something which is strongly advised to all skiers. Even if I was an amazing skier I would still wear a helmet. Some people get to a certain ability and don’t bother because it doesn’t look as cool as a hat. Wearing a helmet is crucial to protect yourself in case of an accident,” says Jessica.
- Use the right equipment
Don’t borrow ski equipment from a friend. Make sure you rent or buy from a ski shop and get your boots fitted.
“I always make sure my bindings are adjusted correctly and that there’s nothing noticeably wrong with any of my equipment.”
- Don’t ski on your own
“I always ski with at least one other person. This is especially important in backcountry areas where there is much less chance of someone finding you if there was an accident.”
- Know your limits
“I stick to the runs and areas that I know I can do with my ability. Don’t put yourself in any unnecessary danger like an avalanche zone or anything like that.”
- Be aware of others around you
- Make sure you’re not in the way of other skiers and snowboarders.”It’s just a case of being sensible and stopping at the side if someone needs to get past you.”
In Case of an Emergency − Medical ID from ID Band
Keeping Identification with you is advisable so you’re prepared in case of an emergency on the slopes.
“Wearing a Wristband or some form of ID is a good idea so people can access your details immediately. Helmet and shoe tags are also a handy option as they won’t get in the way of your skiing,” says Jessica.
“You never know when an accident is going to happen. It’s not just your skiing abilities you need to worry about, it’s also other people around you. You can be totally confident, but someone else could not be as experienced and crash into you,” she adds.
Give it a Go
Pictured above: Jessica having fun at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Jessica encourages anybody who hasn’t skied to try it at least once.
“Skiing is a very dangerous sport, so for that reason I would tell people to take all the appropriate precautions. I’d encourage anyone to give it a go − it can be the most rewarding, exciting experience. For me, it never disappoints.”
If you have any health concerns please consult your GP before taking part in skiing or any other adventure sport.