Picture it now, as poles tangle into boots that tip over your skis, knocking the board into the tidy stack of helmets as your scarf gets caught on your goggles. Let us help you out!
Skiing & Snowboarding can be intimidating, to say the least. If it’s your first time, you might be terrified. If it’s been a while since last you were on the mountain, you still might be dreading the memorable moment when one ski goes left, the other goes right, and suddenly, you’re in the splits. But really, we’re all beginners once, and with our massive fleet of rentals, and a team that prides themselves in helping every skier and snowboarder be the happiest, safest, and most comfortable they can be, you’ll be coasting down that mountain with ease and style!
If you’re thinking of purchasing equipment, plenty of shops in Winnipeg and Brandon offer demos where you can try out the latest gear before you invest. If you’re renting from us, tell the rental technician your size and ability level, and our experts will set you up with the appropriate gear. Don’t hesitate to tell us if you are a beginner (or even a beginner-at-heart); the technician is there to make your experience enjoyable, not to judge you. Remember, an expert at anything was once a beginner.
The quickest way to improve is through mileage and instruction. Ideally, you learn the right techniques and build on them. New skiers and snowboarders should definitely take a lesson with a professional. There are a few national governing bodies within Canada that certify instructors: the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance, the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors and the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation. Be sure to request a Nationally-Certified Instructor when purchasing a ski or snowboard lesson; these people take extensive courses in levels one through four and re-certify every 2 years to ensure that they are keeping up with the current industry standards.
Manitoba winters are cold – be prepared. The best way to dress for your day of skiing or snowboarding is to wear layers. This way, you have the option to add or remove clothing as your body temperature heats up or cools off. Up to 60% of the body’s heat can escape through your head, so definitely wear a hat. We don’t allow backpacks on chairlifts, so we ask skiers and snowboarders to please leave yours in a locker. They can get caught on the lift and cause problems in case of an evacuation. We also do not allow people to carry a child on their back on our hills. It is very dangerous for you and the child. Remember, being over-dressed is always better than being under-dressed… you can always take off a layer. Once you’re dressed, you’ll be ready for a great snow day!
- Gloves or Mittens
- Sunglasses or Goggles
- Water resistant outer-layer
- Warm socks
Holiday Mountain’s entire rental fleet consist of shaped skis (also known as “side-cuts”). They have an hourglass shape; narrow in the center, wider at the tip and tail. Shaped skis are designed to be used in shorter lengths than the old, straight skis. Ask a technician what size your skis should be, according to your height and ability level. If you have skied in the past and never tried these new skis, you are in for a treat! The technique for using these skis is slightly different (luckily, it’s easier!) and you’ll be flying down the hill with ease. Ask your instructor how to take advantage of the technology – you won’t regret it.
Primarily used for fancy moves: trick skiing, jumps and rails. Now available for rent at Holiday, snow-blades are essentially very short, shaped skis. They accept regular ski bindings and regular ski boots.
When holding the poles in your hands, your elbow should be bent at a 90 degree angle. When used correctly, poles will help with your stance and balance, as well as creating rhythm to your turns. They also help you glide your way to the bottom of the lift! Ask your instructor to show you how to pole plant and get the most out of your poles.
Most important thing to know about choosing boots? Comfort. The boot has to fit your feet. Wear only 1 pair of socks in your boots. Do not tuck your pants inside the boot; the only thing inside your ski boots should be your feet and a pair of socks. The fit should be snug and your heel should remain in place when you bend your knee and ankle. Remember, boots will stiffen in the cold. Tell the technician your shoe size and try them on. Do not hesitate to swap them for a larger/smaller pair. Your comfort is essential.
Bindings are what hold your boots to the skis and are designed to release during a fall. Bindings have a “DIN” setting on them (Deutsche Industrie Norm). This number is determined by a technician according to your height, weight, and ability level. Do not attempt to change the DIN setting on your own skis without the help of a professional. These settings are essential to the safe use of your bindings.
We offer all-mountain boards for rent. They are versatile and have a tip on either side of the board for use in either direction. The big question is, which direction do you snowboard? Here’s a tip: Run and slide on the floor, and whatever foot you place in front, that is the way you should snowboard. Left foot forward? That’s called ‘Mickey.’ Right foot forward? That’s called ‘Goofy.’ Still can’t figure out which way feels the most natural? Don’t worry, just ask an instructor for assistance. We get this question all the time!
Know whether you have fat or skinny feet? Have high arches or are flat-footed? It really makes a difference. The majority of people wear shoes that are about 1/2 size too big for them. Test it out yourself—put on your favorite pair of sneakers and walk around, focusing on how your toes feel. If they have lots of room to move and they’re not touching the end of your shoe, then your shoe size is probably a tad too big and you should think about sizing down a 1/2 size for a snowboard boot.
ALSO: Keep in mind that one of your feet is probably bigger than the other (often it’s a difference of about 1/4-size). Choose a size appropriate for the bigger foot, or you’ll be riding in a lot of pain. If you’re unsure of your size, go to a shoe store and use one of those ‘slidey things’. Snowboard boots should feel snug everywhere—your heel, instep, and toebox. Your toes should barely touch the ends, so don’t worry if they feel too tight at first because if they fit “just right” straight out of the box, chances are you’ll be unhappy about the size in a week. It usually takes between one to two weeks of riding to break in your boots if you don’t have them heat-molded at a shop. After about 10 days, they’ll stretch out a bit and fit like a glove. Be patient.
Over the years there have been numerous studies done on the effectiveness of Wrist Guards in Snowboarding. What do we know for sure? There is clearly a problem in need of a solution, however the current wrist guards on the market are not the solution. The good news is that the International Ski Safety Society has dedicated a task force to work on this problem! There is enough data and knowledge that they can begin to think about what an effective wrist guard would look like and what its performance parameters will be. In August 2013, the ISSS is meeting in Bariloche, Argentina and a progress report is expected. We look forward to hearing their advice. Should a safe and effective wrist guard become available, we will certainly offer it. Until that time, Holiday Mountain will not rent/loan wrist guards, nor do we advocate their use.
Special thanks to Dr. Jasper Shealy: PhD, Professor Emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology for the data.
Protective Gear: Helmets
Whether you’re doing aggressive freestyle skiing or running the bunny slopes with your kids, we can help you find the right ski protective gear for you and your family.
Holiday Mountain adheres to the position of the Canada West Ski Areas Association and recommends that parents and children educate themselves about the benefits and limitations of helmet use when planning to ski or snowboard. We respect each person’s personal choice as helmets are optional at Holiday Mountain. Should you choose to wear a helmet, we have them available. Fit is essential with a helmet – in fact, an improperly fitting helmet can actually cause injury! When being fitted, be sure to tell the technician if you will be wearing a hat under your helmet, so that the size can be adjusted accordingly. All Rental Shop Technicians are trained to properly fit helmets, and all helmets are inspected daily. We do NOT allow the use of non-snow sport helmets such as bicycle or hockey helmets.
In 2013 Holiday Mountain replaced our fleet of rental helmets. All 300 helmets meet both the CEN 1077 & the ASTM F2040 safety standard.
In-Case of Emergency
While Holiday Mountain does everything possible to ensure the safety of our guests, accidents can happen. To minimize your chances of being injured, take a lesson with a professional. At Holiday Mountain over the last 3 seasons, 77% of the accidents occurring are from skiers/riders who have not taken a lesson from a professional. We also ask each group to bring a secondary vehicle for transportation in case of minor injuries. 911 service is available 24/7.
- Rock Lake Hospital: 20km
- Swan Lake Hospital: 25km
- Boundary Trails Hospital: 42km
- Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg is 30 minutes away via Stars Air Ambulance
Canadian Ski Patrol
Learn about Canada’s leader in certifying ski patrollers and advanced first aid personnel for our on-snow resort partners. Since the 1940s, this organization has continued to fill a critical need for first responders on the ski slopes.
Here are some important safety tips in case you witness an accident:
Act quickly. If you witness an accident, time is precious. Your first action is to prevent further injury. The international signal for a skiing accident is a pair of crossed skis approximately 10 meters uphill from the accident site. This tells others to avoid the area and signals the snow patrol. If the injured person is lying in an area that is not easily seen from above, send someone uphill to divert traffic. The most important thing you can do is ski & ride responsibly. Follow the Alpine Responsibility Code and take a lesson. Spectators are not welcome at an accident scene.
- Send someone to notify patrol or a resort employee.
- Clear the area of sight-seers.
- Do not move the injured person.
- Do not remove any of their equipment.
- Once patrol arrives, they are in charge.
- Ask patrol if you can be of any more assistance, if not, please leave the patrol to do their job.
- In case of a collision, please wait at the bottom of the hill to give a statement to patrol once they are finished.
- Do not speculate on the potential injuries.