Skiing

If possible, choose an area early in a snow trip where there is opportunity to become familiar with the equipment and with basic movement. For lunch or major breaks, try to find an area where multiple activities can be conducted: some may want to practise their downhill techniques, some may want to have a snow ball fight, throw a frisbee or simply sit down and enjoy the surroundings. This is particularly important where there may be a wide variety of abilities present. The whole group could get involved in building an igloo.

Provide instructions on falling and getting up. In this way, injury can be avoided and frustration minimised. Falling is particularly important for those with vision impairment, as an emergency stop may have to be made with little warning. Get the skier to practise falling on cue when told to ‘fall’ or ‘sit down’. This can be an invaluable skill, particularly in a crowded resort area.

Assisted skiing
For most people, it is far easier to get up a slope than it is to ski down the same slope. Therefore greater assistance tends to be required when going downhill. Avoid steep hills with sharp turns at the bottom, particularly for those with vision impairment and practise assisted downhill-running techniques with able-bodied skiers beforehand so that when assistance is necessary, some degree of confidence is present.

There are a number of methods in providing assistance. One is to have the participant holding onto the more experienced skier from behind (e.g. grasping pack straps), both skiers adopting a low and stable snow plough position. Another method is to have two experienced skiers holding either end of a pair of stocks providing a handle. The skier being assisted, holds onto these stocks for physical support while still negotiating the slope with some degree of independence. Alternatively, the skier requiring assistance may link arms either side with the two more experienced skiers.