We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to come up with tips to help you host a safe sledding experience. These are best practices, but you’re the expert on the activities you lead. A great Host always thinks about what more they can do to keep everyone safe.
Set the right expectations
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the experience, make this clear in your experience’s description. This includes providing details about the length of time, exertion and fitness required, and skill levels needed.
Here’s a guide from the ATTA to help you communicate to guests what skill level is needed for your sledding experience:
Beginner: Sledding on short or gently sloping hills. Appropriate for most ages and abilities, with easy access to the start/top of the sledding hill.
Intermediate: Sledding at higher speeds with higher risk for crashes. Participants should wear helmets. Approaches to the sledding may be long and physically challenging.
Communicate with guests often
Once someone books, you can use Airbnb’s messaging system to introduce yourself and help your guests feel welcome and prepared. Let them know that you’re available to answer any questions.
You should create an experience where your guests feel comfortable asking questions at any point. Try to anticipate common points of concern (such as how to use the bathroom on your experience, expectations for interaction with others, etc.). Provide your guests with a list of what they’ll need ahead of time. For sledding, this may include making sure guests have the required fitness to enjoy the experience, what equipment you provide, and characteristics of the items they need to provide, for example a pack for carrying personal items, appropriate footwear, and clothing layers. Address any concerns outright–and make yourself available to attend to these and any others questions throughout your experience.
Listen with patience and authentic concern, and try to put yourself in your guests shoes. This could include practical matters like if there will be food, snacks, or water provided, if they should bring their own water bottle, and what bathroom facilities are available. Try to address these concerns before guests have to ask. What may seem normal to you may be difficult or fear-inspiring for your guests, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
Follow local regulations & check forecasts
You should have the local knowledge to know if and when it’s acceptable for you to guide at your slope or slide your track and what rules or regulations apply to areas in which you may sled. You should know the weather forecast, and know this slope or track well enough to be able to anticipate the conditions.
Set expectations with a pre-trip briefing
Before you head up the slope or down the track, take the time to teach basic skills. To make sure guests of any level are comfortable, talk about the slope or track first, and any tips around local etiquette.
As a sledding Host, you should be constantly assessing your guests’ skills (i.e. while climbing up, teaching, or sliding down). Once you’re in the sled, keep checking in. Ask guests how they’re feeling and observe them to see if they’re comfortable and their physical and mental abilities match the conditions.
Provide the right gear
Confirm with your guests that they’re comfortable in the conditions in which you’re going out. Snow sleds should have no cracks and be sure you explain how to control and stop them.
For track sledding, visually confirm that the track and the sleds are in good condition.
Choose the proper conditions
Before sliding, talk to guests about conditions they may encounter, such as any obstacles, drops, changing snow conditions, or even wildlife. Clearly communicate expectations from the start about the slope or the track. Keep an eye on conditions throughout the experience in case they change and you need to head back.
You should be able to tell when conditions are too dangerous for your guest’s fitness level. Don’t go out if there is an unreasonable or unexpected risk to your guests.
Keep the rail side down: Always choose safety
As a sledding host, always have a comprehensive first aid kit easily accessible. You should also have up-to-date First Aid and CPR certifications. If you’ll be more than an hour away from medical care, it’s best practice to have a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA), along with CPR certification (or equivalent). You should have extensive sliding experience in the areas and conditions you lead guests.
You also want to have an emergency action plan and share it with your guests: let them know what they should do in case of emergency, which could include injury or unexpected weather. Find out more about making an emergency plan
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2021 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or Hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, visit adventuretravel.biz.