Let it snow! Play safe while skiing and snowboarding

A couple of weeks off school, some brand new equipment and the weather report promises snow in the forecast. It’s the perfect formula for holiday fun! For many families, the Christmas break is a great time to get out on the slopes. But it’s also one of the busiest times of the ski season so make sure that you – and your children – know how to play safe.

Every season, sports equipment manufacturers come out with new designs and new technologies for skis and snowboards, and many of those improvements mean faster speeds on the slopes. Combine that with an increase in the number of beginners in both sports over the past few years and it becomes clear why it’s essential to know the smart rules for safety on the slopes. It’s a good idea to sign up for lessons if your child is just starting out in skiing or snowboarding. Many ski hills offer junior lessons according to age and ability to suit most children.

Below are some practical tips from the MCH Trauma Care and Injury Prevention Program to help ensure that everyone in your family gets the most out of these fun winter sports. Remember to set a good example for your children by always skiing or snowboarding safely. Show them that it’s just as easy to have fun while playing it safe!


Parents or caregivers should:

  • Not take children younger than seven years old snowboarding
  • Make sure their children get proper instruction on how to snowboard and use the equipment
  • Avoid hills that exceed the snowboarder's skill level

Teach children to:

  • Wear a ski or snowboarding helmet, protective goggles, and elbow and knee pads
  • Be aware of others skiing on the hill to avoid collisions
  • Snowboarding is considered an extreme sport. Protective equipment doesn't make you invincible. You should use common sense!


Parents or caregivers should:

  • Make sure your child gets proper instruction
  • Not take a child younger than four years old skiing
  • Ski only in an area identified for the activity
  • Check the condition of the hill. Icy surfaces are dangerous
  • Avoid slopes that are beyond the skill level of the child or adolescent
  • Make sure equipment is age-appropriate
  • Check that equipment meets safety standards at the beginning of each season
  • Make sure children and adolescents wear a certified ski helmet