The ABCs of Slope Safety

Krista Parry
Posted by Krista Parry on February 26, 2012

Guest Post by Snowmama Mary Palmer

book-cover-3 (book-cover-3)

What could be cuter than the sight of little kids zipping down the slopes on their itty-bitty skis and boards? I could hardly wait to get my daughters on the mountain for the first time, and my husband and I wanted their skiing debut to be absolutely perfect. Preparing for the big day went something like this:

  •     Book ski school reservation – Check
  •     Eat a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water – Check
  •     Apply sunscreen and zip up snazzy ski suit – Check
  •     Click into tiny skis and fasten pink helmet – Check
  •     Observe, memorize, and adhere to the seven-point “Your Responsibility” Skier Safety Code – Um...What?

My kids get an earful of rules from me on a daily basis. Wash your hands, buckle your car seat, eat your vegetables...but on the slopes I wanted to be a fun ski mom, not a safety warden! Besides, teaching the Skier Safety Code is the instructor’s job, not mine – right? Wrong. It is up to us as parents to make sure that our children are following the same rules and etiquette of the mountain as everybody else.
The Skier Safety Code was established by the National Ski Areas Association in 1966 as a code of ethics for skiers. Skiing is actually a safe sport as long as everyone is adhering to the same rules of the mountain. Most skiers and snowboarders know The Code intuitively because it’s posted at every resort in North America. But children represent a sizeable chunk of the skiing and boarding population, so what about the little guys and gals who are too young to read or comprehend the meaning of words like “yield,” “obstruction,” or “right of way”? How, exactly, does a parent explain important skier safety concepts to an amped-up toddler who just wants to get out there on the snow and have a good time?
These questions are what inspired the creation of Safely Ski from A to Z, a picture book for little skiers. The book simplifies safety guidelines by incorporating them into the alphabet. For example, “S is for the SIGNS that we always must obey. T is for the TRAILS we ski – never block the way!” The book’s playful illustrations and rhyme present The Code in a lighthearted format in order to resonate with youngsters and their parents.
Caution and courtesy are taught in ski school, but it’s always a good idea to reinforce those messages in a less distracting setting.  Whether it’s reading Safely Ski from A to Z, drawing pictures of mountain scenarios, having a quiz contest at the dinner table, or making up silly songs, Mom and Dad are encouraged to try to find a relatable way to talk to kids about The Code. The plane ride, the car trip to the mountain, or bedtime the night before hitting the slopes are all excellent opportunities for a refresher.
So have a blast skiing with your family this season, and remember...
“U is for looking UP for others before we ski across a run, and V is for our ski VACATION...when we’re safe we have more fun!”

img_0973-version-2 (img_0973-version-2)About Guest Blogger Mary Palmer

Mary is a public relations specialist, a seasonal ski resort employee, and the author of Safely Ski from A to Z -  a children's picture book emphasizing safety protocol on ski mountains.  Mary loves to hit the slopes with her husband and daughters in their hometown of Park City, UT.   She hopes that Safely Ski from A to Z will introduce other families to the unsurpassed joy that can come from a safe and positive skiing experience.

Her book can be purchased locally in Park City or on Amazon at  More information can be found at Mary blogs at


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