From helping guests choose the right experience to keeping them safe, we partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to provide safety recommendations and best practices to help you host a snowboarding experience.
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 snowboarding experience:
- Guests will access slopes with chair lifts, gondolas, or trams.
- Beginner: Access slopes with chair lifts, gondolas, or trams. Guests should expect an intro on easy terrain (Green Circle).
- Intermediate: Guests should expect to practice on slightly steeper groomed slopes (Blue Square)
- Advanced: Guests should expect very steep slopes with significant obstacles such as cliffs and narrow paths (Double Black Diamond).
- Guests will be on skis to maneuver and perform “tricks” or stunts, in resorts. The skills needed (as well as tolerance for falling while learning) will increase with the levels:
- Beginner: Maneuvers on easy terrain. Guests should have snowboarding skills.
- Intermediate: An intro to aerial tricks and maneuvers existing snowboarding skills to get speed and air in obstacle course / park.
- Advanced: Guests should expect steep slopes and obstacles, and be able to engage with significant aerial maneuvers.
- Cross-country snowboarding in resorts, using lifts and adding skins for cross-country as needed. “Touring” implies that boarders are using their equipment and skills to access backcountry areas, and are generally not snowboarding steeper terrain.
- Beginner: Intro to cross country. Skiers may be new to backcountry touring but should have intro competence on snowboards.
- Intermediate: Guests should expect snowboarding in tighter trees and steeper slopes.
- Advanced: Guests should have the skills needed to deal with potentially deep and uneven snow.
Communicate with guests often
Communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience. Once a guest books, check in with them to find out if they have any health concerns that may affect their participation. This may be anything from a food allergy to a heart condition. Make sure you’re clear on what modifications you’re able or willing to make to accommodate them.
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.). 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 and what rules or regulations apply to areas in which you may snowboard. You should check the weather forecast, and know the mountain well enough to be able to anticipate conditions. If you’ll be in the backcountry, check the avalanche report, and also dig a pit and check where appropriate.
Set expectations with a pre-trip briefing
Before you head onto the mountain, take the time to teach basic skills with beginners. You can also give any tips around local etiquette.
As a snowboard host, you should be constantly assessing your guests’ skills (e.g. while talking on the chairlift, skinning up, or riding together). Keep checking in once you’re on the slope––ask guests how they’re feeling and observe them to see if they’re comfortable and their skills match the conditions.
Provide the right gear
Confirm with your guests that they’re comfortable on their specific board in the conditions in which you’re going out.
If you provide boards and boots, make sure the gear fits your guests properly. Clean the gear after use, and store it away from sunlight and moisture to keep it in good condition.
Choose the proper conditions
Before heading out, talk to guests about conditions they may encounter, such as the steepness of the slopes, snow conditions, weather conditions, and any obstacles they should be aware of. Clearly communicate expectations from the start about where and how you’ll be riding. Keep an eye on conditions throughout the experience in case they change and you need to head in.
You should be able to tell when conditions are too dangerous for your guest’s level. Don’t ride if there is an unreasonable or unexpected risk to your guests.
Always choose safety
As a snowboard host, always have a comprehensive first aid kit easily accessible. You should also have riding competence, an up-to-date First Aid and CPR certification, and if you’re traveling in or under avalanche terrain, an avalanche certification. 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. You should have extensive riding experience in the areas and conditions in which you lead guests.
You may 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, unexpected weather, or avalanche. 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.