Staying Safe in the Snow



A blanket of white covers most of the country this week, including my front yard. And that means many Scout troops may soon be out skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. If you’re lucky, the roads will be clear and the hills will be snow-covered during your next outing. (If you’re really lucky, you live in Florida or Hawaii, but that’s another story.)

Before you hit the slopes with your Scouts, be sure to check the Guide to Safe Scouting. Several years back, this essential guidebook was updated to include guidelines for winter sports.

As with other outdoor activities, the guidelines call for supervision by mature and conscientious adults, making sure the area is safe, and limiting the participation of Scouts and adults with underlying medical conditions.

The guideline that may catch some leaders off guard is number three:

“Appropriate personal protective equipment is required for all activities. This includes the recommended use of helmets for all participants engaged in winter sports, such as sledding and riding other sliding devices. The use of helmets is required for the following activities: downhill skiing, snowboarding and operating snowmobiles (requires full face helmets).”

In other words, Scouts should wear helmets when sledding, but they must wear them when skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling—and, in the latter case, the helmets must be full-face models.

To see all the guidelines, visit

And for a very informative video about sledding safety, visit

Let’s be careful out there!


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