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Winter Safety

Downhill Ski and Snowboard

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Snowboarding is one of the most popular and fastest-growing winter sports. Because of this, there have been more snowboarding injuries. Skiing and snowboarding injuries happen most often because of:

  • going too fast and losing control
  • running into other boarders, skiers, or objects
  • being tired
  • using equipment that doesn’t fit or work right
  • not having enough experience

Be snow smart to help lower the risk of getting hurt while doing snow sports on the hill.

Look First

Before you hit the slopes:
  • find out weather and snow conditions
  • get a map of the hill
  • warm up and stretch
  • lubricate and adjust bindings every season
  • make sure your equipment fits right and is well maintained
  • make sure your equipment is right for your skill level and size

While on the hill:
  • read and follow all posted signs and warnings
  • match your speed to the snow conditions, traffic on the hill, and the skill of the people around you
  • be aware of hazards such as trees, rocks, and ice patches
  • look before you leap (check the landing area before you go over a jump and have a spotter)
  • don’t ski or snowboard alone

Wear the Gear

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that children and families wear gear such as certified helmets and goggles while skiing. Helmets, goggles, and wrist guards should be worn while snowboarding.

Here are some tips to remember:​

  • Always wear a helmet to lower the risk of head injuries but helmets do not prevent concussions.
  • Make sure the ski or snowboard helmet has side vents so you can hear.
  • Make sure your helmet meets current safety standards. Check how your helmet fits every year. For more information on helmets, visit Parachute Canada: Helmets.
  • Ask a reputable skiing/snowboarding shop for help getting ​​​the right helmet and equipment for your skill level and size. Regular checks and tune-ups will help your gear last and save you money.
  • Buckle up your helmet, boots, and bindings correctly before you start down the hill. When you snowboard, wear knee, elbow, and wrist guards.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect any exposed skin. Wear ski goggles or sunglasses to​ protect your eyes and make it easier to see.
  • Think about the weather forecast when you dress for the day. Wear waterproof, windproof layers to help you stay warm, dry, and comfortable.
  • Parachute recommends that children use short boards (no more than chest high). For more information about the right clothing, gear, and preparation, visit Parachute Canada: Snowboarding​.

Get Trained

Take ski or snowboarding lessons with a certified instructor. Start on an easy-to-manage slope to practice your turns and stopping. Get tips from an instructor or ex​perienced skiers/boarders on the best ways to ski/board and fall.

Ski and snowboard on runs that are right for your ability. Choose runs that will help you develop skills. Know your limits. If you're tired, stop and rest, as fatigue and poor visibility can lead to injuries. If you're cold, go inside. Remember to never ski alone!

Important tips for snowboarding

  • Keep in mind that snowboarding requires its own set of skills and abilities. If you or your child are new to snowboarding, take lessons from a certified instructor.
  • Wearing a helmet while snowboarding is highly recommended.
  • Injuries can occur from high speeds and aerial moves. Know your limits and do not attempt complicated moves without proper training.
  • It’s recommended that children younger than seven should not try snowboarding.
  • For more information on snowboarding, visit Parachute Canada: Snowboarding​.
  • Falls, collisions and tumbles may occur while skiing or snowboarding. Take the time to learn about the signs and symptoms of concussions before participating in these winter activities. For more information on concussions, visit Parachute Canada: Concussions.
Follow the Alpine Responsibility Code from the Canadian Ski Council – go to to learn more.

Drive Sober

Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs when you:
  • drive to and from the hill
  • ski
  • snowboard

Current as of: December 3, 2018

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services