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Tips for Skiing in Low Visibility Weather

How to Ski in Foggy Weather

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Tips for Skiing in Low Visibility Weather

Safety in foggy conditions is attainable if you ski with caution and care.

Copyright Mike Doyle
If you've ever skied in low visibility weather and experienced a "white out," you know how disorienting skiing in fog can be. Novice trails seem like they could be black diamonds. Unseen obstacles - whether they are bumps, trees, or even other skiers - can not only confuse you, but they are also safety hazards that can cause a collision.

Skiing in low visibility is dangerous, but if you are careful, you can avoid injury. Here are tips on safe skiing in foggy conditions.

  • Wear goggles. While wearing goggles won't "clear" the fog completely, a pair of goggles will certainly help you. Goggles with amber lenses that are yellow, orange, or brown tinted will allow you to see a little more definition in the snow.

  • Keep your speed under control. In low visibility conditions, some obstacles can't be easily spotted and thus are hard to avoid. If you're speeding, it may be too late to swerve around a bump or even avoid another skier. Keeping your speed under control will be safer for everyone on the slope.

  • Watch other skiers in front of you. While still keeping your eyes on the trail, don't be afraid to take note of others skiers. Remember to keep a safe distance, but watch how the skiers in front of you deal with the terrain - are they slowing down, swerving around a few bumps, or skidding on ice? By watching the skiers in front of you, you can prepare yourself for the terrain that is yet to come.

  • Stick close to your ski buddy. If you're skiing with a friend in foggy weather, make sure you stay close to your friend. With low visibility, it's very easy to miss a turn or take the wrong trail. Make a plan to meet at a central place and carry cell phones or walkie-talkies in case you get separated.

  • Use your poles. Using your poles to make turns is essential for keeping your balance (and balance is key in foggy weather), but also provides you with an insight to the feel of the snow.

  • Ski only on trails that you feel confident skiing on. Dense fog can make a novice trail seem a lot more difficult than it really is. If you're unsure about a trail in clear weather, taking on a trail that may exceed your abilities is simply dangerous in foggy conditions.

  • Don't wander off marked terrain. While skiing under the ropes should be avoided in all conditions, skiing on closed trails or venturing into the backcountry areas should be avoided on foggy days as it can be very easy to get lost.

  • Be extremely careful in the moguls or glades. Bashing bumps or skiing in the trees during low visibility weather is dangerous, and if you're not completely confident in the moguls or in the glades in blue skies, it may be a good idea to avoid these areas in the fog. If you choose to ski moguls or take on the glades in low visibility conditions, control your speed, pay attention, and be extremely careful.

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