Snow sports (skiing and snowboarding)


​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in the snow sports of alpine skiing and snowboarding (undertaken within or near established ski-village recreation areas with ready access to emergency assistance) as an activity to support curriculum delivery. Alpine skiing is skiing down groomed and lift-serviced ski trails/runs with fixed-heel bindings.

Note: This activity does not include nordic skiing, ski touring, tobogganing or snow tubing. Tobogganing is not permitted as a curriculum activity.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than 1 CARA guideline (e.g. snow sports (skiing and snowboarding) while camping) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

Schools should consider conducting this activity at a Department of Education Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre​ (O&EEC) and consult with O&EEC centre staff for risk assessment requirements.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.​

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.​

Risk level​​​

High risk
Alpine skiing and snowboarding on groomed beginner and intermediate ski trails/runs.​
Extreme risk
Alpine skiing and snowboarding on groomed advanced ski trails/runs.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Reference to Snowsafe Australia and Outdoors Victoria Adventure Activity Standards (PDF, 454KB)​ is required when planning this activity.

Prior consultation is required with local authority and lift operators for local advice, emergency support mechanisms and additional supervision requirements to ensure participant and public safety.

Permission/permits are required to be obtained from land managers (e.g. local councils or private landholders), if applicable.

All students should have an assessment lesson by a qualified instructor at the commencement of the program. Ski lessons on the morning of each ski day are strongly recommended and afternoon lessons should also be considered.

Students confined to a designated area according to their skill level (e.g. beginner, intermediate) and appropriate grading/classification of slopes (note: gradings/classifications may vary between and within countries) and be based on advice from the qualified instructor.

Students must not ski alone (groups of at least 4, including an instructor, are recommended) and all students to leave the slopes together at the end of the session.

Night-time skiing must be confined to designated well-lit ski trails/runs and be considered appropriate for the skill level of all students participating.

All risk levels


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site.


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students’ medical condition disability on safety during the activity.

Sufficient adult supervision in place to oversee student groups using each ski trail/run. The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students’ ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

At least two adult supervisors to be present, readily contactable and available throughout the entire activity.

Outdoors Victoria Adventure Activity Standards (PDF, 454KB) recommends maximum group sizes in well supported areas (e.g. resorts, lift serviced areas, easy access for emergency services) of 12 participants under the supervision of 1 adult supervisor who meets the qualification requirements.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions and obtain accurate and current information other expected weather conditions prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers
  • must continuously monitor weather conditions throughout the activity (e.g. venue specific app or website which updates changing weather conditions).

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. poor visibility, extreme temperatures, thunderstorms)
  • must not allow tobogganing.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

Supervisors of recreational skiing/snowboarding are required to be:

  • a registered teacher, or an adult supervisor working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with competence (knowledge and skills) and experience in recreational skiing/snowboarding, with qualifications relevant to the activity being undertaken equivalent to the units of comptency described in Outdoors Victoria Adventure Activity Standards (PDF, 454KB).

Instructors of recreational skiing/snowboarding are required to be:

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken. Designated ski-village/resort must be used and the area to have ski tows, a ski patrol service, a first aid service, groomed ski trails and a professional ski instruction school.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment for skiing/snowboarding that is correctly fitted, including:

  • helmets
  • wrist guards for snowboarding
  • snow goggles or quality sun glasses. Lenses must be impact resistant and offer 100% UV protection
  • students who wear spectacles bring a spare pair
  • appropriate clothing (PDF, 454KB) for the conditions (e.g. waterproof jacket and pants, gloves rated for the conditions, beanie, scarf)
  • card attached to students ski jacket/pants with their name, name of school, group leader name and contact number, and any medical conditions they may have
  • high visibility vests or arm bands used to identify class groups
  • a small day pack with sufficient food and fluids and sunscreen and lip balm.

Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.

Snow sport equipment that includes properly adjusted bindings on skis and snowboards (preferably adjusted by a qualified technician) must be available.

All snowboards to have functional leashes attached at all times.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace plant and equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

If privately owned equipment is being used, principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.

 Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Environmental conditions
Weather, sun, humidity

The school’s sun safety strategy must be followed.

Students and supervisors instructed in risks and treatment of hypothermia and sun exposure.

Monitor participants for cold related illness (e.g. hypothermia) in cold weather conditions.

Brief students on patrolled ski trail boundaries, closed trails and runs, escape routes and areas that are out of bounds.

Students remain on slopes that are appropriate to their competency levels.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Students instructed in the correct use and fit of equipment.

Check equipment for damage before and during the activity.

Student considerations Control measures


Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion, heat/cold stress

Match equipment to the size, ability and strength of students.

Conduct appropriate lead-up activities.

Continuously monitor students for signs of fatigue, illness, hunger, dehydration, slow progress and wet clothing, as these can become serious emergencies in certain circumstances.

Establish rest stops, considering the age and fitness level of students.

Adopt system of signals to clearly communicate the need for assistance if in difficulty.

Student issues

Reasonable steps taken to ensure that the level of knowledge, ability, skill and equipment of each particpant is adequate for the level of difficulty and complexity of the activity and the ski routes/runs they are permitted to ski/snowboard on.

Instruct students in and enforce adherence to the Alpine Responsibility Code.

Instruct students to obey all safety signs and instructions from resort staff.

Instruct skiers and snowboarders in the safe use of ski lifts, including loading, riding and unloading safely, providing the opportunity for students to observe/practise lift usage.

Ensure there is supervision at the top and bottom of the ski lift to assist any student in difficulty.

Brief students about whether they need to assemble as a group after unloading before starting their run, and if so, ensure the group is supervised as they assemble.

Systems in place to regularly monitor students, including:

  • student numbers (e.g. roll calls, buddy system, check-in at regular intervals)
  • use of short circuit routes where supervisors can observe students
  • ensuring all students leave the slopes together at the end of the activity.


Have students wear easily identifiable clothing (e.g. high visibility rash vest).

Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs (in and out of the water) and are familiar with their needs.


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Last updated 14 July 2022