How to Stay Safe on the Slopes

A ski slope in High Country

Here in the High Country, we’re no strangers when it comes to the slopes. During these cold winter months, skiing is one of our favorite activities – which makes ski safety all the more important when it comes to keeping warm and dry on the mountains. To help keep you safe this ski season, we’ve put together some tips for families, thrill seekers, and beginners alike so that you’ll be able to make the most out of your trip.

Dress the Part

Winter skis and poles in the snow

Your skiing adventure begins with proper ski wear, one of the most essential ways of protecting yourself while out in the snow. You’ll want to wear wind and water-resistant gear that will help block you from harsh temperatures and weather conditions, and dress in layers that will absorb sweat quickly to keep you warm. Sunglasses or goggles will help shield you from sunlight and keep snow out of your eyes. The National Ski Areas Association reports that 60 percent of heat loss is through the head, so don’t forget to bring a thick hat or headband, as well.

Now, the most important part: your skis! Check to make sure your bindings are secured properly and your skis, boots, and poles are all in good shape. You can visit your local ski shop for adjustments, or rent from the resort if needed – they’ve got you covered.

Check the Weather

Entrance sign to Sugar Mountain's skiing slopes

High Country winters feel like they were made for skiing, but not all days are ideal for a day on the slopes. Whether you’re headed to Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, or Appalachian Ski Mountain, be sure to check weather and road conditions before you head out to make sure you’ll have a safe trip free of road closures or other unexpected weather issues.

Once you’ve got a safe drive ahead of you, it’s time for the fun part – choosing which of the High Country’s three ski resorts to visit! Luckily, each resort has its own trail system, updated daily, to let skiers (and snowboarders) know which lifts, slopes, and other amenities are open. The Sugar Mountain trail system map, Appalachian Ski Mountain slope report, and Beech Mountain ski trail map are all helpful resources to check which of your favorite trails are available. You can also check other important information on the sites, such as weather and snow updates.

Embrace the Learning Curve

A family sits on a chairlift to take them to the top of the mountain for skiing

Staying safe on the slopes doesn’t mean less adventure; there are plenty of ways to challenge yourself without putting yourself in danger, even if you’re a beginner. Skiing lessons are a great way to build your skiing skills in a fun and supportive environment, and are available at each of the three High Country resorts. From group children’s lessons to targeted practices for more seasoned skiers, there’s a lesson for everyone no matter the age or skill level.

If you’re brand new to winter sports, it’s also important to do your research beforehand to see whether skiing or snowboarding is the best fit for you. By getting an understanding of the skills and fitness levels of each sport beforehand, you can better avoid unsafe situations while out on the mountaintop. Throw in some lessons, and you’ll be hitting the slopes in no time!

Safety comes first – whether you’re skiing in Blowing Rock, snowboarding down Beech Mountain, or anything in between, make sure to follow these tips during your next ski trip for a fun and safe High Country winter adventure.