Thursday, February 14, 2019

Ski safe, ski smart

Lisa Doyle, Health Promotion Facilitator, Alberta Health Services -
We are well into winter here in Alberta, which means the ski resorts are booming. Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports here in Canada, making them all-time favorite seasonal activities. Last year Parachute Canada had the opportunity to team up with the Canadian Ski Council, the Ontario Snow Resorts Association and Technical Standards and Safety Authority to put together a film called Gravity focusing on ski safety. This film includes high level athletes, including Olympians who share their experiences and values on staying safe while hitting the slopes.

The film Gravity focuses on 5 main messages including:
  • Attire, gear and preparing for the day 
  • Protecting your brain and picking the right helmet
  • Knowing the rules
  • How to use a lift properly 
Whether you are a beginner or experienced skier or snowboarder, it is important to keep informed about ski safety, to protect yourself from injury and death. Alberta Health Services reports that there were 3920 cases of skiing and snowboarding related injuries in 2017 and 234 specifically in the South zone. 

Lisa Doyle
Information on back country skiing and more advanced hills 

Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with Serafina Tranfo, who is an avid skier and Certified Ski Instructor to hear about her experiences surrounding ski safety. Serafina has been skiing all her life and shares a passion for keeping active while staying safe participating in her favorite winter activity.

What is the most important advice you can give to new skiers and snowboarders on how to stay safe this winter while hitting the slopes?

Serafina: “As a new skier or snowboarder, you want to make sure you always stay in control. Check the difficulty of a run before you head down to make sure it is within your ability level. If you are new to the mountain, don’t venture off alone, especially in the trees. If you are looking to explore a new mountain, most ski hills offer free mountain guides, or you could chat up a friendly local on the lift, who can give you some fun recommendations.”

What safety equipment do you carry on you while skiing?

Serafina: “A helmet is a must on the slopes. I don’t ever ski without one. A whistle is also great to have. Make sure it is attached to your jacket, so it is accessible without needing your hands. If you are headed in the backcountry, always make sure you have all your avalanche gear and have tested it prior to heading out.”

How do you prepare for a day at the ski hill?

Serafina: “I always do a few quick stretches to warm up my muscles and try to have a good breakfast before I go skiing. It’s also a good idea to check the weather report for the mountain and make sure you dress appropriately.”

Spending a day at the ski hill should be full of enjoyment and adventure. To learn more about staying safe during the ski season visit:

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