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Teaching safety and kids

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Last Sunday I was skiing with some friend's kids and we were almost hit not once, not twice but THREE times by the same idiot making laps on Mount Lincoln at Sugarbowl. One of the times was just as the youngest one was passing a big red slow sign. He looked like he was barely hanging on to staying up right and missed 2 of our kids by about 1-2 feet during one of the trips through. I yelled at him all three times and still no affect.

As we were sitting down for lunch, the kids asked about this "skier" and we had a chat about safety (as I try to do with my lessons as well as it is part of the teaching process) Speed/control/right of way/etc..

We need to teach them early..

Recently our buddy, Senan of North Pole Design (did our cool logo and does our Epicski's T-shirts) sent me a sample of the beginning of a coloring book designed to help teach kids about safety.

I thought this was a great idea, the sample beginning looked great and so I passed it on to our ski school children's program director.

Maybe Senan can put some sample drawings up here and we can help with some more ideas on how to pass on the "safety on the hill" to our kids and students..

post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 
By the way Senan's Website is www.northpoledesign.com and if you search our epicski for kneedropper you can see some of his work or send him a PM if you want more info.
post #3 of 35
dchan- HEAR, HEAR! Out here in Colorado this winter, we have had approximately 15 deaths, of which I believe 3-4 were very young children. This has precipitated a move by Aspen, likely to be followed by Vail, to mandate helmets on children under a certain age, while in Ski School. While I was teaching in Switzerland several years ago, it was already a requirement that ALL children in Ski School wear helmets.

More to the point, I agree that we do need to educate children as soon as they get out on the hill, if not sooner. I don't think we need to scare them, but to reinforce good judgement skills(is it ever too early to start?) about speed, terrain, etc. The coloring book idea sounds fantastic!

If further assistance is needed to continue development of that project, I might recommend that Senan get in touch with PSIA- National, or any of the Divisions. I know that RM gives grants for various purposes (Ellen Post-Foster got a couple from us for her Art of Carving series when I was on the RM BOD). I might guess that many , if not all, of the other divisions offer grants as well. To develop and obtain such a valuable teaching aid would be FANTASTIC!

Though we reach but a small percentage of children through organized programs, that should not preclude us from making all parents of young skiers/boarders aware of this coloring book's existence.

Great topic- very timely and incredibly IMPORTANT! I look forward to hearing what others have to say!

post #4 of 35
Thought long and hard about defense and skiing. About the only thing that you can do is to teach them to look before starting out and to "ski the holes" in the crowd. Let the others go by before starting out.

If you keep looking over your shoulder you start to induce poor technique and put them on an up hill edge.

Taking the shackles off the patrol and "slope security" folks would work wonders and would be the first line of defense in the slow zones. Gimme them ol' days when patrol would kick butt and take names (and tickets), instead of just hauling off the carnage.
post #5 of 35
I have the extreme pleasure of skiing with my 7 year-old son almost every day that I ski. Skiing with him has added a new dimension to skiing that I never knew existed. I never thought I'd say that I like skiing with my son more than I like skiing alone but it's true. He's getting quite good (skiing the zipper line on moderate bump runs!) and always takes at least a half day of lessons. He's very easy to ski with and never ever complains about anything. However, the hardest thing for me to teach him is safety.

Like most kids, he likes to go fast. I preach speed control to him on just about every run but I also don't want to squash his natural aggressiveness so it's a tough balance. Most adults can easily determine when safety needs to take priority over speed but that decision may not be as easy to make when you're 7. Additionally, he's concentrating so hard on his technique that he doesn't have the 'mountain awareness' that I'd like him to have. Teaching him to remember to look uphill before crossing a slope or merging on a trail is tougher than you'd expect. Given that, I try and keep it simple and stress just a few things:

1. Speed control. We spend a lot of time defining what "out of control" and "in control" mean. I use other skiers as examples as we're riding the chair. I'll ask him "do you think that guy in the red jacket is in control?" Or, after he falls, I'll ask him why he fell and he often says "I was going to fast and lost control." Not an easy thing to teach!
2. Predictable turns. My biggest fear is that my son will get run down by another (bigger) skier. I'm teaching him to make predictable, consistent turns when we're on crowded runs. One of his favorite runs at Squaw is to go from the top of Gold Coast all the way down Mountain Run to the base. Anyone who's skied Squaw knows how crowded Mountain Run can get at 3:30 so on runs like that, I teach him to make steady, medium radius turns so anyone behind him can predict his movements. This is VERY frustrating for a kid who wants to turn on a whim and will make a bee-line for any jump, bump, or kicker he sees.
3. Jumping. Like most kids, he loves to jump. He jumps off anything he can find with no knowledge of the landing or concern for other skiers. This requires a bit of a firm stance on sketchy jumps where I basically have to yell to him "DO NOT jump that one yet." We check out the landing on one run and then come back and let him do it next run. He's hit a jump too fast recently and ended up in the trees and that scared him a bit so it's getting easier to teach him how to jump safely.

Now if I only had an answer to the "Dad, how come I wear a helmet and you don't? [img]smile.gif[/img]"

I'd love to see some copies of the safety colorings.
post #6 of 35
Kevin: Get a helmet ... only answere there is. Oboe and my kid kinda talked me into it.
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
One of the reasons I wear a helmet is one of my friends kids said one time. "but Uncle D Doesn't wear one". That was it..

Some of the guys at the skischool tease me from time to time about always wearing a helmet even on a hot day. My only response is.. "Coolest looking Hat I could find and no kids can say "he doesn't wear one, why should I?""
post #8 of 35
I'll be honest- I do not wear a helmet all of the time. But when ever I am teaching children who are wearing them, I do not look on it as a sacrifice to wear one as well. I feel it is my responsibility to be a positive role model for these kids. (And if I had kids- they would certainly be wearing one.)
But anytime I'm heading out to race, to rip with friends, anytime I am purposely going out to push the envelope, my helmet is securely attached!

For further info, I will try to find Ellen Post-Foster's article on helmets, or at least a link to her site at the Turning Point Foundation. It is a great treatise on the issue, though now several years old. :
post #9 of 35
Thread Starter 

Turning point ski foundation. I didn't see any articles on Helmets however. I'll poke around some more.
post #10 of 35
If we can't find the article online- I'll give her a call. She lives down the street from me. Somewhere in my archives, I have a hard copy of it. But who knows how much stuff it's under. :
post #11 of 35
In fact- I'm now wondering if it wasn't a presentation she did at one of our National meetings. Either way- I will track it down!
post #12 of 35
While teaching children safety, could you also please teach them some manners. Thank you.
post #13 of 35
I'll have a helmet before the next time I ski. I'm really stupid for not wearing one, especially considering
a. I insist both my kids wear them skiing and b. I won't get on a bike without one.
post #14 of 35
This is a great topic It's never to early to start teaching kids about safty.
But what about Preteens and Teens? This IMHO is the age group that needs some lessions in safty more then any other group.How do you reach this age group? how do you teach a 13 to 17 year old that he is not invincibel or that thier actions could result in injury or even death to someone else? Many young adults don't take up a sport like skiing or snowboarding untill they are 12,13 or 14. They often learn the basics from a friend,and may never take a real lession. Then they are off on thier own attempting to do what they have seen in Magazines and Ski Movies.So how do we reach and attempt to teach this group? Maybe this isn't the right thread for this.Posting a new topic might have been better.But there are some things here to think about and we who have a passion for skiing should come up with someway to help educate.Ok I think I got that off my chest carry on dchan.
post #15 of 35
I am now wearing a helmet full time.

However, I have no issue with adults that don't. The answer to the question, "Why don't you wear one, Dad?" is, "Because I'm less vulnerable and more protected than you are because of my knowledge of skiing. When you get that much control and experience, then you can choose. I also have a glass of wine at night with dinner and drive a car. When you get mature enough to do either of those, you can."

My kids have been in a helmet since the beginning (and have had three concussions each in them). They have never questioned (after the first time) our right to not do it, and have never since asked to not wear one. Why? Because they are cool, and the boys know that they are taking different risks than some skiers/riders.

I still think adults should have a choice and I think it is unreasonable for adults to do everything they think their children ought to be doing.

My wearing a helmet, however is the subject of some derision, as my colleagues don't think there is much left in there to protect!
post #16 of 35
Weems- may I bring you a nice mouse cover, or perhaps a shark for your helmet this weekend?

Just joking- I'll be wearing mine too, as I am leading a mtn Challenge course at Spring Fling...
Look forward to seeing you this weekend! :
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> I still think adults should have a choice and I think it is unreasonable for adults to do everything they think their children ought to be doing<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree and have no problem with anyone old enough to make that decision doing as they wish. It was just the reason that made MY final decision.
post #18 of 35
dchan - Thank you for raising the issue of safety on the hill and how to handle the education of young skiers/boarders. It's such an important topic as it effects not only the entire sport, but of course, as you pointed out, the safety of our younger skiers/boarders - not to mention our own personal safety.
Helmet popularity among adults has steadily increased over the past few years, which is an ideal scenario to help kids truly accept helmet-use as a no-brainer, because they've always worn a helmet!
As dchan mentioned, I have developed a 16 page customizable coloring book that illustrates each of the 7 main elements of the Responsibility Code, as well as a few general safety tips from NSAA. Who, by the way, has given the book a nice thumbs-up! I have also passed it by their General Cousel to ensure that I am offering a completely liability-free book and again, thumbs-up.
Response has been great so far. I have been pitching the book to Marketing Directors & Ski School Directors, as well as Risk Managers - generally speaking, they LOVE the concept and the book itself! It's just a matter of timing, budgeting, planning, and ordering.

I will post a few images from the book to give you an idea of the content. I am also in the process (throes) of updating my site. My apologies if you go there and can't find info on the book just yet. I've been a little wrapped up in the development & marketing stages.
Thanks for all your thoughts and input on this FUNctional project. I'll keep you all posted on the progress.
post #19 of 35

...All 7 of the codes are illustrated to help kids gain a better, visual understanding of what each code actually means. Rather than simply seeing the signs posted around the mountain - the book provides a fun way for kids to learn more about safety by interaction and exposure to the info. And, it's a great marketing piece for the respective mtn...

Here is the cover of the book =>

post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping to get some copies of this coloring book to show friends and other ski instructors, Get feed back etc.. I'm sure Senan would love feed back on the concept as well as content.

What was kind of interesting about the "safety code" or responsibility code on exam date was although it is supposed to be part of the exam at what ever level it Applys to us as instructors, It was agonized over by all of us during our study times and before the exam. Then when it came to the exams it proved to be a non issue. We were expected to demonstrate good judgement and teach the areas of responsibility in our lessons but we were never really asked to "recite" the code. There is a risk managment section on the written exam but how we encorporate it into kids classes is much tougher. This book will be a great asset if we can get it into the ski school's and daycare's at the resorts..
post #21 of 35
Here is another image from the book - there are a few pages that focus on providing general Safety Tips -- Dress in Layers, Be Prepared, etc.

If anyone has additional ideas/ways to market this FUNctional book - please feel free to give me the "Heads Up" [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #22 of 35
dchan and other instructors:

What are the popular methods of teaching kids about responsible skiing & riding and how much emphasis is placed on kids' interaction with the Responsibility Code?

In your post dchan - you mentioned the Responsibility Code was pretty much a non issue during the exam. I must admit, I was surprised to read that.

I understand that good judgement and teaching responsible skiing is given importance, but I would think that in order for instructors to teach the ways of safe skiing and riding, as well as the "How To's", the Responsibility Code would be strategically integrated into each lesson and given more emphasis, no?

Or is it actually emphasized adequately in most ski schools and I'm just showing my "non-instructor" card?

Thanks -
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
I suspect the "code" was watched for while we were doing our exercises and teaching segments but the actual "what is the specific wording" was not mentioned. So while we were doing our teaching segments, we would point out to our "students" to check up the hill before proceeding, or explain why we "give a meeting place" before getting on a chair, etc. The non issue comment was more because we had gathered as a group right before the exam and were comparing notes and everyone kept asking "What are the Responsiblity codes?" and getting obsessed with if we memorized them. I didn't see any questions in the written that were specificly like that. more things like class handling, etc..
post #24 of 35
I was always trained (just added a CSCF Level 1 to my other credentials) to include the good behavioral comments into the lesson.

For example...as we ski from the lift to the first trail, any time I cross another trail, I do an slight uphill christie to face the hill, and then point uphill. When we stop, I ask, why????

When a skier finishes skiing down to the group, and when they stop below me, I give a positive comment. If after the first go around, no one stopped below, I ski down to the group...and stop below. I ask, why????

As instructors we should model the behavior we want to see. The best way to give this information is to make it fun, and model. The book seems like fun.
post #25 of 35
To both dchan & Kee Tov - - makes sense!
post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 
I just got Senan's safety coloring book to preview.

This book is great. It's a good format, sturdy pages and conveys the concepts of the responsiblity code well. My wife's first comment was "Wow, Real Cool, I love the graphics"

Next step, is to try these out on my friends kids to see how they like it. (the ones that are skiers or boarders [img]smile.gif[/img] )
post #27 of 35
You da man!!!!

Just read a copy of the coloring book....well actually have read it several times over the last few days. I agree with Duchan, nicely done. I too will share it with some kids I know.

An item that has been bothering me for the 2 weeks since I first read the book is something on the last page. When I go skiing, I read the sign at the loading station at least twice a day, but now that the season is over... I can't remember what's on it!!!

First, I know some areas don't have the restraining bar(so you removed that comment), but is that what they still call it? I don't remember.

Second, when I get on the lift, I hold both poles mid shaft in one hand, and reach/hold onto the chairlift when it comes around. My poles are sort of horizontal across my body...I think. Again, it is so natural, I don't remember what I do! So, do we not have anything written on how to hold the poles when getting onto a lift?

Great job. Hope you're able to get good distribution.
post #28 of 35
Those colouring-in pictures are excellent!
I know of a possible recipient: Keystone kids ski school actually had colouring-in pictures and crayons for all the kids ot pass the time while they were waiting for the groups to be fitted up and assembled, and also at the end of the day when waiting for late parents. These would be perfect (although I dunno if the 4 year olds would be able to read them!).

Everyone I taught (not just the kids) got the message that it is NOT Ok to hit people when you're skiing. NO, NOT EVEN IF IT'S AN ACCIDENT! (grrrr, a sore point, so many asked this question! and it was usually adults who asked it).
post #29 of 35
I also have Senan's coloring book. I forgot to say Thanks, Senan. So Thanks! It's really good.

Dchan, At exams, they do look for safety to be incorporated into the lesson, but don't ask outright, about the code. If they want to ask direct safety questions, they will do it in the written exam. (speaking of what I know of the exams in the East).
post #30 of 35
Hey thanks for everyone's great comments! I'm very excited about this project and it's evolving stages of development! More to come!

KeeTov - to answer your questions concerning the "Lift Safety Sign" in the illustration of Resp. Code #7 -- In my experience, it's been referred to as a "safety bar", but I imagine different areas (geograhpically speaking, as well) refer to it differently.

I had initially drawn-in the bars on the chairs I portrayed in depicting #7, however, in passing the book through NSAA's General Counsel, it was recomended that I remove the bars from the illustration, as "not every area has safety bars on their chairs". So I opted to go wth the proper legal authority on that one. Although, I do wonder why an area wouldn't have a safety bar on each chair, regardless.

To answer your 2nd question - the G.C. also suggested I take out the reference to "how to load properly with poles". So again, expert legal advice gave way to the sign you see here.

Ant - You have adults inquiring as to whether or not it's OK to hit or run into folks while skiing? Your'e kidding!? Is it tourist vs. altitude-related stupidity? [img]smile.gif[/img]
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