So, you’ve conquered the green slopes and think you’re ready for the blues and blacks? Feeling a bit unsatisfied on the shorter runs and raring for those long cruises? If you think it’s time to bring it up a notch and conquer bigger mountains — you might be in for a big shock.
A lot of thing changes at over 10,000 feet, and you’ll need a bit of preparation to make the most of your trip and to ensure your safety.
1. Get a bit of cardio.
Air is a lot thinner at 10,000 feet and if you venture to the glorious Swiss Alps — you’ll be at 15,000 feet. A little cardio throughout the year can prepare you for those towering mountains come skiing season. Getting in a bit of shape gives you more endurance — allowing you to enjoy the slopes for longer periods of time.
2. Wear the right equipment.
These aren’t your friendly slopes anymore so make sure you wear every possible protection — including protective vests, wrist guards, padded shorts, and pads for your knees, elbows, and shins.
Don’t forget your helmet and goggles — you’ll be reaching extreme speeds, so you’ll need every bit of protection you can get. Make sure your ski boots are snug and tight as harder slopes require every bit of precision and control you can muster.
3. Partner up.
The buddy system in elementary still works on the slopes. Ski with a friend and look out for each other. Don’t risk your cell phones — instead, use hand-held radios. Make contact once you reach your destination to make sure nothing untoward happened to your buddy.
4. Stay within your limits.
Push yourself but don’t risk injury. Getting off the greens may have boosted your confidence, but the squares and diamonds are entirely different beasts. Get comfortable with the blues before venturing to those black diamonds.
You need to hone your reflexes as well as your control before you tackle harder trails. Biting off more than you can chew will put you at risk — as well as other skiers around you.
5. Stick to the trails.
Ski trails are prepared beforehand so there will be very few surprises. Follow the markers and don’t even think of going off-trail no matter how easy the slope appears. You can encounter hidden hazards or find yourself in a rut once you reach the bottom.
6. Play nice.
You’re not in an Olympic event, and it’s not a competition. Keep your pace and don’t try to pass other skiers — they’re looking down and won’t see you coming from behind. No sudden stops either —, especially in blind spots.
Too many of those instances get caught on camera and get posted on social media — but those accidents can be dangerous especially on longer trails. Brush up on your skiing etiquette — and don’t be the jerk that irks people on the slope.
Bigger mountains have bigger hazards. Take a bit of time on the greens to make sure that you’re ready and conquer that glorious mountain safely when the time comes.