Know yourself and plan for the worst, even if you’re sticking to the main runs, say safety experts. File photo.

Ski safety: how to prepare when your day on the slopes goes wrong

“Three T’s” will give you a better chance of being rescued safely

Every year 1,700 people need rescuing from the province’s ski hills and back country.

BC AdventureSmart is a not-for-profit organization that works alongside search and rescue, providing outdoor safety education and awareness to the public. Their goal is to reduce the number and severity of search and rescue call-outs.

An official with the group says being safe boils down to the “Three Ts”.

“The main message we promote is Trip Planning, Training, and Taking Essentials,” says Ashley Berte, an outreach educator with the organization.

“The biggest thing we encourage is leaving a trip plan, even if you’re just heading out to the ski resort, letting somebody know where you’re going,” she says. “Things can happen, getting stuck in tree wells, or ending up in a gully, and if people have a general idea of what runs you were on… it makes it a lot easier to find you a lot faster.”

She says people can get into a lot of trouble on the ski runs themselves, let alone going out of bounds.“Training” includes both knowing how to ski the runs you’re on, and how to find your way around the slope if you’re up on the mountain.

“Know your limit and stay within it,” says Berte. And if something does go wrong, “Training” includes knowing first aid and avalanche skills.

The final T is “Taking the Essentials.”

“We have a list of things people should bring with them anytime they head out,” says Berte. “Even if you only have a small backpack, there are a few things you can bring with you in your pockets or jacket if things go wrong.”

The AdventureSmart crew gives away emergency whistles and safety “space blankets” to carry when you ski. The blankets can keep injured people warm while they wait for rescue.

Other items for an emergency kit for back-country skiers include a lighter, snacks and water, a flashlight, an extra layer of clothes, and a multi-tool.

And if you do go out of bounds — which you shouldn’t — stay in place if you get lost.

“Even though it’s the most difficult thing, always, always stay put,” says Berte. “People think they can get themselves out of trouble, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out for the best.”

Finally, download BC AdventureSmart’s phone app, says Berte. It allows you to put much of the trip planning information into your phone and distribute it to friends or relatives, who can pass on the information should you go missing. The app can be found on the group’s website, adventuresmart.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Painting birdhouses in lieu of boredom

Elementary school student finds new hobby for entertainment while away from school

Boundary hospital ‘ready for a surge,’ hoping it never comes

The emergency department director confirmed there were active COVID-19 cases in the Boundary

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read