The Mountain Times

°F Mon, April 21, 2014

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Test your knowledge, share it with your kids

Ever noticed that young skiers and riders judgement about safety seems to be a bit lax? Well, it's true! The frontal lobe of our brains (where choice and judgments are made) is still developing into a person's twenties. Therefore parents and/or adult chaperones need to emphasize that kids are not to duck ropes or ignore signs or go out of bounds. The Responsibility Code is a good place to start.

Kids, if allowed to ski unsupervised by an adult, should know where they are allowed to go and where and when they are to meet with their family or group. Cell phones or two-way radios are helpful. Kids should be instructed to call 9-1-1 in case of separation or getting lost. At the very least, kids should carry maps and phone numbers for an adult's cell phone and know where they are staying.

Ski or snowboard school instructors accomplish these lessons in fun ways, dipping into their "bag of tricks" to help learners and promote fun and safety on the slopes.

Here's a fun "quiz" to help generate a discussion with your kids (answers in story and listed below.)

1) I/we know and can recite the 7 tenets of the RESPONSIBILITY CODE.
2) It is okay for kids to ski without adult supervision as long as they are with other kids, stay in control, have a trail map, and know the Code.
3) If I go off the marked trail and follow tracks, I will always come out at the lift area where I am skiing.
4) If I go off trail to explore, I should have a cell phone, partner, and backpack with survival items.
5) There is no danger of avalanche or deaths in the backcountry of eastern resorts, including Killington and Pico.
6) Of the 46 people who got lost at Killington and Pico earlier this year, the majority had taken a wrong turn at a confusing trail junction.
7) Of the 46 people who got lost at Killington and Pico this year, the majority were locals who enjoy the backcountry.
8) All trails at Pico Mountain lead to one base area so people can't get lost.
9) You can learn how to safely navigate Killington with a free Meet the Mountains Tour.
10) There are lots of cool ways to enjoy the mountains other than going off-piste.

These seven points ensures one's well-being at any ski resort.
•    Always stay in control.
•    People ahead of you have the right of way.
•    Stop in a safe place for you and others.
•    Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
•    Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
•    Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
•    Know how to use the lifts safely.

Inherent in "observe all posted signs and warnings" is the admonition to ski within an area's boundaries and to pay attention to trail markings, whether for a closed trail (usually a rope across it) or a ski-area boundary marker on a sign or rope located along a trail's edge.

Numbers 1, 2, and 8 are discussion generators; answers will vary. Numbers 3, 5, 6, 7 are false. Numbers 4, 9 and 10 are true.