Little Bo Peep has Lost her Sheep on the Mountain and Doesn't Know Where to Find Them

Posted in On the Mountain
by Jen on February 5, 2011

A few weeks back while skiing with my family, we noticed a little girl in the lift line who was very upset. She’d clearly become separated from her family.  A Mountain Host—they are the volunteers on hand around the resort —was trying to help.

 My kids noticed too and this gave us an interesting topic to discuss on our lift ride. What should you do if you lose your family while you are skiing?  

This can happen to any of us, even those who know the mountain best.  Before you know it,  your five- year-old  son has gotten WAY ahead of you or  your 10-year-old daughter takes a wrong turn and ends up on a different run. The little ones won’t have a cell phone to call you!

It’s essential to have a plan in place BEFORE anyone gets lost. Here are some suggestions:

1.    Show the kids the plaza or main area of the resort before you head up the mountain. Choose a landmark you all will remember and discuss when they—and you-- should make their way there (like when the 10-year-old ends up on the wrong trail.).  Ski patrol suggests you always have a time and a place to meet once your group has become separated.

kids-with-mtn-patrol (kids-with-mtn-patrol)2.    Make sure the kids know how to recognize resort employees.  At Park City Mountain Resort, the lift attendants wear a navy blue and gray jacket, while Mountain Hosts wear ones that are royal blue and gray. Ski instructors wear red  jackets and the Ski Patrol wears black and red with a white cross.  Tell the kids (especially the youngest ones) to seek out someone wearing one of these jackets and tell them they need help. I have explained to my children that if you cannot find any “official looking” person, seek out a “grown up” skiing with their children.  I don’t know a parent who wouldn’t help a lost child.

3. Put your contact information in each child’s gear-- a card with your full name,  cell phone numbers,  where you are staying and your designated meeting spot at the base.  Make sure the phone number you provide is one where you can be reached.  You might think your child would know that but when a little one is frightened, they may not be able to remember.

4.    Make sure all of the cell phones in your group are charged, turned on and with you. However, understand that connections may be iffy.  Consider bringing walkie/talkies with a long range as a mode of communication. Check out the compact ones from Motorola, for example.

5.    Provide all of your skiers and boarders with a complimentary trail map. (They are available at the ticket office and at other locations around the resort.)    

6.  Make sure you have a plan each time you exit the lift.  Decide as a group where you are going and where you plan to end up. What trail are you taking?  Where will you meet at the bottom?

See you on the mountain. Hopefully,  I won’t be that mom frantically searching for the five year old who got WAY ahead!


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Comment posted by Lisa Marion on February 6, 2011 8:35 AM MST

Great ideas! I lost my 9 year old this year for about 15 min. Long enough to make me wish we had some game plan to reunite.

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Comment posted by Barb on February 5, 2011 8:27 PM MST

Great advice Jen. It is so important to plan! It happens more than most people would like to know I am sure.

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