Know the Code

You teach your child to always buckle up in the car. And you teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. But did you teach them to look uphill before entering a ski trail? How about stopping where they do not obstruct the trail but are still visible from above?

National Ski Safety Week in January is the perfect time to teach your kids “The Code,” celebrated at New England resorts and Western Ski Resorts by making safety fun with special contests and promotions. Otherwise, the 7 Rule Skier’s Responsibility Code can be rather rudimentary.
Here’s “Your Responsibility Code”:
1. Always stay in control.
2. People ahead of you have the right of way.
3. Stop in a safe place for you and others.
4. Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
5. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
6. Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
7. Know how to use the lifts safely.

During Ski Safety Week, resorts chat up the code with on snow games and contests. Ski patrol may stop skiers and riders to quiz them on the safety points. Kids that “know the code” get a free hot cocoa coupon.

As a mom I think the Ski Safety Poster Contest sponsored by the National Ski Area Association is genius. Kids are invited to draw their interpretation of one of the safety messages from the Responsibility Code or the Smart Style terrain park rules. My kids made posters when they were younger – and they know the code to this day – since they deliberated long and hard over which point to portray in their homemade masterpieces. Ski areas across the country participate in the Ski Safety Poster contest.

Making the safety message fun, even funny, is the best way to engage kids. To this day my kids loved spouting out new slogans; “check it before you wreck it”, and “know the code or be a code” are a few that they thought were worth repeating – again and again. The more entertaining you make it, the more you engage your youth – and the better prepared they’ll be on the slopes to ski safely.