Safety & Awareness - Lost Trail Ski Area
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Safety & Awareness

First Timers Guide

Know The Symbols

You’ve arrived. You’re geared up and have a lift ticket. Now what? Go get a trail map at the lodge or lift-ticket window. Take a few minutes to check it out. The lifts and the trails are marked on the map. The colored symbols next to the trails are the keys to enjoying your first few days on the slopes. Their shape and color indicate the difficulty of the trail.

Here’s what they mean:

Lost Trail Ski Area offers a diverse range of shapes and colors for snowboarding enthusiasts.

Visit This site dedicated to providing information on helmet safety and answer questions about helmet use.

Helmet use is strongly recommended for all ages.

Ski and Snowboarding Tips

Prior to Hitting the Slopes

  • Obtain proper equipment that is fitted properly for performance as well as safety.
  • Dress in warm layers. (See below)
  • Wear sun protection.
  • Always wear eye protection.

Tips for while on the Slopes

  • Take a lesson from a qualified instructor.
  • Be aware of the snow conditions.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and other skier/snowboarders.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Know your limits.
  • Helmets may reduce the risk of injury.
  • Stay in control.

How To Dress For Winter Weather

Layer Up

The best way to dress for winter is to wear layers. This gives you flexibility to add or remove layers, depending on the weather and your activity.

Wicking layer: This is the layer worn next to your skin, usually consisting of long underwear.

  • Look for thermal underwear made of a synthetic or silk fiber that has “wicking” power. This means the fibers will move moisture away from your skin. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable.
  • Even though it’s cold, you might sweat. Skiing/snowboarding are considered exercise after all.
  • The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively wick moisture.

Insulating layer
: The middle layer could include sweaters, sweatshirts, vests and pullovers. This layer is to keep heat in and cold out by insulation. Comfort is key for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers but not so bulky that it restricts movement. Try to avoid cotton because it retains moisture. Popular insulation materials include:

  • Fleece: a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly.
  • Wool: which naturally wicks away moisture.

Protection layer
: The exterior layer, generally a shell (coat) and pants, serves as your guard against the elements of winter. It should repel water from snow, sleet or rain and block the wind, while also letting perspiration evaporate. Whether you are a skier or snowboarder, your protection layer should fit comfortably, offering you maximum range of motion.

  • Most winter shells and pants are made waterproof and are breathable to some extent. This keeps moisture on the outside but allows perspiration to escape.
  • Don’t wear jeans or sweatpants. Denim is not waterproof, so water will soak through the fabric.
  • Look for functional hoods, cuffs, pockets and zippers – details that truly make garments comfortable.


Headwear: Up to 60 percent of your body’s heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat, headband or helmet is essential when it’s cold. Helmets are popular as part of safety equipment. Not only do they protect your head from bumps but they also keep your head warm. A neck gaiter or face mask is a must on cold days and are available for purchase in our retail shop.

Sunglasses and goggles: Sunglasses protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. Look for 100 percent UV protection in sunglasses. On flat-light days or when it’s snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly identify terrain features. Goggles should form an uninterrupted seal on your face, extending above your eyebrows and below your cheekbones. Watch for gaps, especially around your nose.

Gloves and mittens: Look for waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves. Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Don’t buy gloves or mittens that are too tight. There should be a little air space at the tips of your fingers, which acts as additional insulation.

Socks: Wear one pair of light-weight or medium-weight socks specific for snowsports. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable. Avoid cotton because it retains moisture. Resist the temptation of putting on too many pairs of socks.

Lost Trail Ski Area Retail Shop offers a variety of accessories for your last minute needs.


Contact LTSA Ski Patrollers wearing red parkas with white crosses through a lift attendant or other LTSA employees in case of injury or accident on the mountain. Please report the location, type of injury and description of the injured skier.


  • Do not remove the injured person’s skis or snowboard
  • Do not move the injured person
  • Cross your own skis uphill from the incident to alert others


  1. Always stay in control. You must be able to stop or avoid people or objects.
  2. People ahead or downhill of you have the right-of-way. You must avoid them.
  3. Stop only where you are visible from above and do not restrict traffic.
  4. Look uphill and avoid others before starting downhill or entering a trail.
  5. You must prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Read and obey all signs, warnings, and hazard markings.
  7. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  8. You must know how and be able to load, ride and unload lifts safely. If you need assistance, ask the lift attendant.
  9. Do not use lifts or terrain when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  10. If you are involved in a collision or incident, share your contact information with each other and a ski area employee.

Winter sports involve risk of serious injury or death. Your knowledge, decisions and actions contribute to your safety and that of others. If you need help understanding the Code, please ask any ski area employee.

MONTANA SKI STATUTE - 23-2-736 Duties of a skier.

  1. A skier has the duty to ski at all times in a manner that avoids injury to the skier and others and to be aware of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing.
  2. A skier: (a) shall know the range of the skier’s ability and safely ski within the limits of that ability and the skier’s equipment so as to negotiate any section of terrain or ski slope and trail safely and without injury or damage. A skier shall know that the skier’s ability may vary because of ski slope and trail changes caused by weather, grooming changes or skier use. (b) shall maintain control of speed and course so as to prevent injury to the skier or others; (c) shall abide by the requirements of Your Responsibility Code that is published by the National Ski Areas Association and that is posted as provided in 23-2-733; (d)shall obey all posted or other warnings and instructions the ski area operator; and (e) shall read the ski area trail map and must be aware of its contents.
  3. A person may not: (a) place an object in the ski area or on the uphill track of a passenger ropeway that may cause a passenger or skier to fall; (b) cross the track of a passenger ropeway except at a designated and approved point; or (c) if involved in a skiing accident, depart from the scene of the accident without: (i) leaving personal identification; or (ii) notifying the proper authorities and obtaining assistance when the person knows that a person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance.
  4. A skier shall accept all legal responsibility for injury or damage of any kind to the extent that the injury or damage results from inherent dangers and risks of skiing. Nothing in this part may be construed to limit a skier’s right to hold another skier legally accountable for damages caused by the other skier.

A Lost Trail Ski Area poster that showcases your responsibility code for skiing and snowboarding.

Deep Snow & Tree Wells

Venturing into the untouched realms of deep powder snow is an exhilarating experience many skiers and snowboarders crave. Beyond the groomed trails, there’s a sense of freedom and connection with nature that’s hard to beat. But with great adventure comes great responsibility. The off-piste areas present dangers that all winter sport enthusiasts should be aware of and prepared for, primarily the threats of tree wells and deep snow immersions.

Understanding the Risk

When skiing or riding off the groomed runs, you are willingly accepting certain risks, one of which is the potential danger posed by tree wells and deep snow. A tree well is a void or depression that forms around the base of a tree covered by deep snow. When a skier or snowboarder accidentally falls into one, they might find themselves trapped in unconsolidated snow. Panic and struggle can exacerbate the situation, further entrapping the individual. Such incidents, when leading to fatalities, are termed as NARSID or Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death. While they are grave, with knowledge and caution, they are largely preventable.

Key Safety Tips in Deep Snow & Near Tree Wells:

  1. Stay Calm: If you find yourself in a tree well or deep snow, the first rule is not to panic. Clear thinking can save your life.
  2. Hold Onto the Tree: Grab any part of the tree you can. It can serve as an anchor and a leverage point.
  3. Create Breathing Space: Search for air pockets around your face. Gently push your head into these pockets to ensure you have a continuous air supply.
  4. Strategize Your Movement: Make a conscious decision on which way to move – often it’s best to try and move sideways or in a direction where the snow is less dense.
  5. Exit Safely: Once you’ve reached the top, ensure you are clear of the hole or depression to prevent falling back in.
  6. Signal for Help: If you find yourself unable to move after getting out, or if you’re in a situation where you can’t get out on your own, always signal or call for help.
  7. Maintain a Safe Distance: When skiing or snowboarding in deep powder, always ensure you’re keeping a safe distance from trees to minimize the risk of falling into tree wells.

Remember, the backcountry offers unmatched beauty and thrill, but it’s imperative to respect its power and potential dangers. Stay safe, ski with a buddy, and always prioritize awareness and preparedness. Enjoy the slopes responsibly!

A sign at Lost Trail Ski Area warning of snow hazards.

Terrain Park Safety

Freestyle Terrain is popular at ski resorts and proper use is important. The National Ski Areas Association and Burton Snowboards have developed the “Smart Style” Freestyle Terrain Safety initiative, a cooperative effort to continue the proper use and progression of freestyle terrain at mountain ski resorts, while also delivering a unified message that is clear, concise and effective.

The 3 main points of Smart Style include:

  • Look Before You Leap
  • Before entering into freestyle terrain observe all signage and warnings
  • Scope around the jumps first, not over them
  • Use your first run as a warm up run and to familiarize yourself with the terrain
  • Be aware that the features change constantly due to weather, usage, grooming and time of day
  • Do not jump blindly and use a spotter when necessary
  • Easy Style It
  • Know your limits and ski/ride within your ability level
  • Look for small progression parks or features to begin with and work your way up
  • Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air
  • Do not attempt any features unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely
  • Inverted aerials increase your risk of injury and are not recommended
  • Respect Gets Respect
  • Respect the terrain and others (Freestyle terrain is for everyone regardless of equipment or ability)
  • One person on a feature at a time
  • Wait your turn and call your start
  • Always clear the landing area quickly
  • Respect all signs and stay off closed terrain and features

For more information visit:

"This park contains the following features" poster

Plan your visit to Lost Trail today

Whether you’re taking your family out skiing for the first time, racing friends down the mountain, going lone wolf, or getting on the slopes after taking a break, we are committed to keeping skiing and snowboarding affordable and accessible to all. We have a variety of lift tickets, season passes, lessons, and rental options available so you can choose your own adventure.

ski & boarding

Level up your skiing and riding this season with Lost Trail Snow Sports School.

Our top credentialed instructors specialize in teaching those brand new to the slopes and those looking to fine-tune their technique.

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