One of the first things people worry about when going skiing is how to stay warm. Many school trips and winter camps start with a group of obedient kids, wrapped up by their parents with three pairs of socks, two hats and just a pair of excited eyes poking out, ready to take on Mount Everest. While it is certainly good to come prepared for any rogue blizzards, there’s one important factor here that is easy to miss.
Before getting out into the fresh air there is always a surprisingly long process of getting kitted up inside the heated rental hall. After walking around, putting things in lockers, bending down to tighten boots, walking around some more to find a glove that you have just misplaced, you realize that this amount of exercise in a ski suit is the equivalent of going to a sauna. So if you’ve heard stories of people waking up sniffling the next day, here was the hidden hazard: sweat. With 10 minutes of perspiration soaked into your layers, a short time out on the snow will be enough to feel like you are wearing a freezer.
Each week I will be addressing one aspect of a safe and fun day on the snow, so it seems logical to start at the beginning, where seemingly minor hazards often get overlooked. Not all kids find it instinctive to unzip a jacket or take off their helmet while sitting with sweat dripping down their forehead. Keep an eye out for over-heating at this short period in the day and it’ll make all the difference later. Only just before they head out to conquer the mountain, slip the helmet back on, wrap up tight, and the dry clothes will do what they are designed to do once the kids are moving around having fun.
Next week I will discuss rental equipment: how to check that what you get handed at the desk is set appropriately for you and what to do about it.
In between seasons training and working as a ski and snowboard instructor in Austria, Pete Tupper did a degree in Chinese and German in the UK and came to Beijing in 2010 to run winter camps under the name of O’le Ski. Since then, he has become a well-known face in the family and schools activities scene, creating and hosting the first climbing and skiing championships events for international schools and running all kinds of adventure weekends and trips. He just formed new music classes for kids and adults. Information on the O’le organisations can be found on www.ole-sports.org and www.ole-music.com and Pete can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of O’le Ski