Check 3 GPS Ready Score
Y / N 1. Have you skied or snowboarded before or taken lessons from a certified instructor?
Y / N 2. Have you taken refresher lessons in the past five years?
Y / N 3. Do you check with the local ski patrol for conditions and study a map of the area in which you will be skiing or snowboarding?
Y / N 4. Do you ski or snowboard with at least one other person?
Y / N 5. Do you follow posted signs and rules?
Y / N 6. Have you had your bindings checked by a professional on a regular basis?
Y / N 7. Do you ski or snowboard within your abilities and never on closed trails and/or in out-of-bounds areas?
Y / N 8. Do you wear recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) for skiing/ snowboarding (e.g., properly adjusted bindings, helmet, layered clothing, etc.)?
Y / N 9. Is the PPE in good condition?
If you answered “yes” to all the questions above, you should be good to go!
Top Hazards and How to Mitigate Them
1. Failure of skiers/snowboarders to ski/snowboard within their abilities
Mitigate: Taking lessons with a certified instructor will help you assess whether you’re ready for bunny slopes, black diamonds or something in between. Go to to find a ski resort offering lessons in your area. In the meantime, pay attention to slope ratings, and don’t let peer pressure persuade you to take on more than you can handle.
2. Unable to stop or avoid other people or objects
Always stay in control enough to be able to stop or avoid other people or objects
People ahead of you have the right of way; it is your responsibility to avoid them
You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above
Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others
3. Existing and changing snow conditions and weather (e.g., avalanche potential, high winds, etc.)
Mitigate: Before heading into the backcountry, research your route and snow conditions in the exact location(s) you plan to ski/snowboard. Call your local avalanche warning center and check the current and forecasted weather. OntheSnow Ski & Snow Report and SnowSafe are two good apps for getting up-to-the-minute weather conditions and avalanche alerts.
4. Variations in terrain
Mitigate: Making beautifully carved, controlled turns on gently sloping, well-groomed trails is one thing; shredding the steeps, bumps, backcountry and terrain parks is quite another. Familiarize yourself with the mountain by reviewing resort trail maps or topo maps for backcountry adventures; pay attention to posted caution signs and run ratings; and wear the right shade of goggle lenses for the light conditions so that you can distinguish bumpy from flat terrain.
5. Skiing/snowboarding while under the influence of alcohol
Mitigate: Almost half of injured skiers in one study had high levels of alcohol in their systems. Alcohol consumption not only impairs performance on the slopes, but it also contributes to the development of hypothermia and altitude sickness. Aprés-ski means just that: Save your drinking for after you’re done on the slopes for the day.
Avalanche Awareness- By the Numbers
84 Number of skiers in the U.S. killed by avalanche in the last 10 years
28 Number of snowboarders in the U.S. killed by avalanche in the last 10 years
88 Percent of skier/snowboarder avalanche fatalities in the U.S. in the last 10 years that occurred while victims were in backcountry or outside ski resort boundaries
90 Percent of deaths by avalanche triggered by the victim or member(s) of the victim’s group
30-45 Degree of slope angle at which 9 out of 10 avalanches occur
30 Percent chance of survival when buried in an avalanche
93 Percent of avalanche victims who survive if dug out within 15 minutes
20–30 Percent of avalanche victims who survive if dug out after 45 minutes
80 Miles-per-hour an avalanche can reach in about 5 seconds
93 Top miles-per-hour an avalanche can reach
100,000 Number of avalanches in the U.S. each year
485 Total number of avalanche fatalities in the U.S. since 2000
93 Percent of people who die in avalanches who are male