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Brave Ski Mom - Terrain Park Safety for Kids and Parents

Terrain parks are nearly irresistible for both children and adults. And why not? Once youíve learned to slide on snow, itís fun to slide over obstacles and launch off of jumps.

So before you and your kids race to the park, review these tips to help keep everyone safe and everyone happy.

Rule 1: Be Park Smart

At the entrance to terrain parks in the U.S., you should see an orange sign outlining the Park Smart rules for safety. Like the rules for skiing safety, Park Smart rules are built on common sense. Before you and your children enter a terrain park, stop and read the rules together. Make sure that everyone understands what the rules mean.

PRO TIP: If youíre not sure how to apply the Park Smart rules, or youíre having a hard time explaining them to your kids, ask other riders in the park for assistance.

Rule 2: Start Small

Itís the first Park Smart rule, but it can also be one of the most confusing.

Terrain parks are usually rated small, medium and large, according to the size of the rails, boxes, jumps and other features. No matter where youíre riding, assume that the park is built on intermediate terrain. If you or your kids canít ski intermediate terrain, youíre not ready for the park.

PRO TIP: No matter how good a skier or rider you are, start in the beginner park. The skills youíll be learning and applying are variations on the skills you already have, and some may be completely new.

Rule 3: The Terrain Park Mantra

The terrain park mantra is Pre-Ride, Re-Ride, Free-Ride. Itís used every day by smart riders, from beginners to professionals.

Pre-Ride means skiing an inspection lap. Parks change daily, with varying snow conditions and the addition or subtraction of features. Plus, features often look different when youíre next to them. An inspection lap gives you a real-time view of what youíll be riding.

Next up is Re-Ride, or a warm up run. On this lap, hit some features, but donít go big. Repeat until you feel comfortable and confident.

Josh Smith, Manager of the Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard School, explains Re-Ride this way, ďHave fun. Start small and work your way up. In my warm up runs I hit features I am familiar with and stick to my go-to tricks, Once Iím feeling good, I focus on one new trick.Ē

Finally, when everything feels dialed in, switch up to Free-Ride and enjoy the features to your ability.

Rule 4: Follow the FIS Rules of Conduct

Terrain parks use the same skier and snowboarder safety rules as the rest of the mountain.

Itís a good idea to review these rules with your children whether youíre skiing in the park or on the pistes.

Being aware of yourself and your surroundings is important everywhere on the mountain, but especially in terrains parks.

ďKeep your head on a swivel,Ē suggests Smith. ďDonít stop where you canít be seen from above.Ē


Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com