When it seems that everyone has grabbed their boards and headed for the slopes, in reality only 18% of those who venture out for the first time will return for another ski day. To keep your experience from being your last for the season, follow these safety tips:

Jim Chalat’s safety tips – Ride B.I.G.
• “B” is for buddy:
Always ski or ride with a buddy. If you are skiing alone and are in-area, do not go off-piste or into an area where you couldn’t be found if you were hurt. Carry a cell phone and a safety whistle. Children in particular should be instructed where to meet if they are separated from their companion or adult.
For tips on what to do if you are in a skier collision.
Always ski or ride with a buddy, and follow the “one at a time” rule. “Buddy” also means an electronic connection. Wear an AVI beacon, bring probes, shovel, and be ready to self-rescue. If you or your buddy are submersed in an avalanche you have about 5 to 10 minutes to locate and rescue. By the time the local authorities arrive it will be a “recovery,” not a “rescue” operation.
• Information
Learn to ski or snowboard from a fully certified professional instructor. Return regularly for lessons to further your technique. When on the mountain, know where you are and the limits of your conditioning and your ability. Carry a map. Plan your descent down runs within your ability. Keep an eye on the weather, and know the forecast.
Skiers and snowriders, you must follow the conditions at www.avalanche.state.co.us
Take an avalanche course.
Back-country snowmobilers. This year we see a new trend in back-country snowmobilers becoming lost, or getting in trouble. The same rules apply, know where you are going, what the conditions and weather will be, carry a map and make contingency plans.
• Gear:
In-area: Wear a helmet, make sure your skis and bindings are in tune, and that your bindings are properly set and functioning. Helmets reduce injury and prevent death. Helmets are recommended by the AMA and the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission.
Also, carry a cell phone, a safety whistle, and a map.
Back-country: We are not the experts, but certainly carry a beacon, probes, shovel, life-link avi kit, cell phone. Consider: water, space blanket, first aid kit, and small stove or primus, avalung. And : carry adequate communications, carry a PLB (personal locator beacon.)

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