Safe skiing starts with wearing appropriate equipment. You need to protect yourself both from the elements and from falling. Wear wrist guards, a helmet and knee pads to prevent injuries. Avoid loose fitting clothing, since they could get caught in the ski lifts. Ski pants and a ski jacket over a turtleneck sweater is an ideal outfit. You should also wear gloves or mittens and bring a warm hat in case the weather turns cold. You may also want to wear sunglasses, which will block the wind and reduce the glare from the snow. Also be sure you have the right kind of skis. Downhill skis and cross country skis are not interchangeable!
Ski slopes and trails are rated by difficulty. As a skier, it is your responsibility to ride up trails you can safely navigate.
Trails marked with a green circle are for novices. They have gradual declines and small, easy turns.
Trails marked by a blue square are of intermediate difficulty. They have steeper drops and sharper turns.
Black diamond trails have the steepest drops and the tightest turns-try them only if you are an expert.
Right of Way
Like driving or bike riding, skiing has it's own right of way rules that help skiers avoid accidents. In skiing, the person ahead always has the right-of-way. That means that if you're passing someone, it is your responsibility to give them enough room and pass safely. The only exception to this rule is when you're beginning from a standstill. If you're just starting down a hill or moving onto a trail that might have other cross-country skiers on it, look uphill or up the trail to make sure its safe to get on the trail.
Whether you are going downhill or cross country, never enter a closed trailsand always follow posted signs.
A backwoods cross country ski trip should begin and proceed with the same caution you would use for a backwoods hiking trip. Take at least two other people with you, and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Bring enough food and drink to last a couple of days along with a map of the area you are skiing and a compass. Bring extra warm clothing and a basic survival kit along including a cigarette lighter,. candles, a metal container for melting snow in as well as duct tape.