Mountain Safety

How to stay safe for a lifetime of skiing and riding

Your Responsibility Code | Ride Another Day | Lift Safety | Helmets | Sun Safety


Your Responsibility Code

Staying safe on the slopes is easy when you KNOW THE CODE! Always be aware of your surroundings, and the people around you. If you have questions, ask! Ski patrol and other mountain personnel are here to help.


  1. Stay in control. Be able to stop, turn and move to adjust to the conditions.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way.
  3. If you need to stop, do so in a safe place to the side of the trail where you are visible from above.
  4. When starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield to traffic above you. Proceed only when clear.
  5. Use devices to prevent runaway equipment. On skis, these are the brakes on your binding. On a snowboard, this is a leash that attaches to your boot.
  6. Observe all signs and warnings; staff off closed trails!
  7. Know how to load, ride and unload all lifts safely.

Ride Another Day

Collisions are one of the most preventable accidents on the slopes. The easiest way to prevent a collision is to follow Your Responsibility Code, especially point number one: Ski and snowboard in control. But it can be difficult to communicate the importance of this to teenagers and those who consider themselves to be "experts." This video from the Ride Another Day initiative is meant to emphasize everyone's role in slope safety.

Lift Safety

Riding the ski lift can be one of the best parts of the day - the views are beautiful, your legs get a rest, and you get to catch up with friends, family, or make a new friend! But, it's important (and part of Your Responsibility Code) to know how to load, ride and unload all lifts safely. Not sure what to do at a lift? Ask an attendant or ski patroller for help. Learning how to ride the lift is also one of the features of a ski lesson, and another reason it's worth discovering snow with a pro.

Tips for riding lifts safely

  • Be familiar with the type of lift you are riding, and ask for help if you need it.
  • Before loading, remove backpacks and secure loose items. Remove pole straps from wrists.
  • Look over your shoulder to watch the chair approach.
  • Sit all the way in the chair, with your back to the seat rest.
  • If the lift has a restraint bar, wait until everyone is seated, and slowly reach up and lower the bar. Do not attempt to lower the bar if you cannot reach it! Adults should always help kids to lower the bar.
  • Be aware of your surroundings while riding the lift. If you drop something, let it fall! You can always ask ski patrol for help retrieving the lost item.
  • As you approach the top terminal, prepare to raise the bar. Look for signs advising you to do so to help with your timing.

Kids on Lifts

Sometimes riding a ski lift can be tricky for kids. Many ski areas have "practice chairs" or slow beginner lifts to assist those new to skiing and snowboarding with learning to ride. Here are some resources to help your kids become lift safety experts!

kids on lifts logo

A website specifically made to improve the safety of kids on ski lifts. Find resources for learning how to ride, how to teach kids about lift safety, and more.

Video resources




Helmets can help mitigate head injuries on the slopes. Bonus: they also keep your head warm! Not all ski areas require helmets, but it is a good idea to outfit your child with one, and wear one yourself. While wearing a helmet is a personal choice, you would be setting a good example for the young ones in your family if you chose to wear one while skiing or riding. Here are some statistics and resources to help you decide to wear a helmet.

Helmet Stats

  • Approximately 84% of skiers and snowboarders in the U.S. wear helmets
  • Nearly 100% of kids age 9 and under wear helmets. Many ski areas include helmets in a kids' rental package, and some may even require children to wear one in a lesson (for example, the state of New Jersey requires all kids under age 18 to wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding).
  • A peer reviewed scientific study found that potentially serious head injuries in skiing decreased as helmet usage increased. Helmets have been found to reduce the severity of head injuries and almost completely prevent lacerations.
lids on kids logo 
Lids on Kids is a website dedicated to getting kids to wear helmets and emphasizing the importance of helmets in mountain safety. 

Video Resources

Check out the Helmets are Cool video series from our friends at the High Fives Foundation. This series is part of the BASICS (Being Aware Safe In Critical Situations) initiative. See how wearing a helmet changed the lives of skiers and snowboarders, and get help finding the right one for you.

Sun Safe on the Slopes

NSAA and Huntsman Cancer Institute have come together to promote Sun Safe on the Slopes. High elevation exposes your skin to more radiation. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think! A ski vacation with a sun burn is no fun! Protect your skin while enjoying the slopes in summer or winter.

  • Wear pants, long sleeves, and gloves even on warm days.
  • Put on a hat or helmet that covers your ears.
  • Wear 100% UV protection goggles or sunglasses.
  • Apply generous amounts of SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin every two hours.
  • It’s not the heat of the sun that causes skin damage but radiation from the sun. 

Outreach and Education

Eye Protection

Eye health is important for everyone. Skiers and snowboarders spend long hours on the snow which can increase your risk of eye health issues. Fortunately, wearing good quality sunglasses and goggles, that offer UV-protection are a great way to significantly reduce these risks. Below are several resources you can check out to learn more about the importance of wearing eye protection when you're enjoying the slopes.