Terms of Use

This information is currently not accessible to residents living outside of Ontario. For more information on your own province’s Safety Guidelines, please consult with your provincial Ministry of Education.

Ce contenu n’est pas disponible à l’extérieur de l’Ontario. Veuillez communiquer avec le ministère de l’Éducation de votre province pour des renseignements sur les Lignes directrices sur la sécurité de votre province.

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Cross Country Skiing


Secondary - Interschool 2018


A fully stocked first aid kit must be readily accessible. (Consult Appendix D - Sample First Aid Kit)

A working communication device (e.g., cell phone) must be accessible.

Determine that all equipment is safe for use (e.g., no sharp edges, sharp corners, cracks, or splinters). Students must be encouraged to report equipment problems to the coach.

Skis, boots and poles must be in good repair and appropriate size for skiers.

When their athletes use their own personal equipment or borrows equipment their parents/guardians must be informed:

  • of the importance of an equipment inspection prior to the activity to ensure.
  • that skis and poles are appropriate for the size and ability of the athlete;
  • that all bindings are in working order and set to the proper tension;
  • that all bindings meet current approved guidelines; and
  • that boots and bindings are compatible.

When equipment is provided by the school/board or rented from a commercial facility, the following must be provided:

  • Skis and poles appropriate for the size and ability of the athlete.
  • Skis with edges in good condition.
  • Boots and bindings that are compatible.


Appropriate clothing and footwear for outdoor activity must be worn (e.g. use layering principles, hats, mitts or gloves). (Comfort Tips guidelines from the Ontario Snow Resorts Association can assist skiers in determining appropriate clothing for a comfortable outdoor snow sport activity.)

The wearing of jewellery during practices and competitions must meet the rules of the governing body of the sport/activity, OFSAA, and local athletic association. Consult the Fundamentals of Safety when jewellery is not addressed by the governing body of the sport/activity, OFSAA or the local athletic association.

When long hair poses a safety risk it must be secured. Devices (e.g. hair pins, clips and barrettes) used to tie back long hair must not present a safety concern.


Determine that all facilities are safe for use. Students must be encouraged to report facility problems to the coach.

Prior to initial use of the trail, coach or convenor must do a safety check “ski through” in order to identify potential hazards which must be brought to the attention of the coaches, convenor, athletes and officials.

Turning points, finish lines, end zones, and boundaries must be a safe distance away from walls, stages, equipment, trees, posts, natural hazards, and holes. Walls, stages, equipment, trees and posts must not be used as turning points, finish lines, end zones or boundaries. A marker (e.g. line or pylon) must be designated and be properly identified.

In practices, define specific routes to the athletes so they are aware of the boundaries.

When choosing a site the following conditions must be taken into consideration: sun, wind and snow conditions as well as suitability of terrain.

When selecting a non-commercial site the facility must have:

  • practice tracks skied in by the coach/ convenor or competent student skiers under coach/convenor direction for traditional event
  • proximity to warmth, food, waxing and other facilities

The competition route must have marshals stationed throughout, and all hazards must be well marked or padded.

Trails must be clearly marked, intersections must be roped off for trails not in use, and turns must be wide and safe.

When running takes place off school site for a conditioning run:

  • Coaches must do a safety check ‘walk through’ in order to identify potential problems prior to initial use of route or course.
  • Coaches must outline to the students the route or course (e.g., notice of areas to approach with caution) before the start of the run.
  • Coaches must determine that students are not crossing busy intersections unless directly supervised.

Natural Ice Locations (Lakes, Ponds, Rivers)

Only Board/school approved natural ice locations must be used.

An approved natural ice location is one that is monitored and tested by a recognized organization (e.g., local municipality, police, and snowmobile clubs) and/or a recognized knowledgeable individual (e.g., winter camp supervisor) that measures ice thickness for activity safety.

Prior to an activity on natural ice surface the teacher/supervisor must contact local authorities to determine with absolute certainty that the ice surface is thick enough to be safe. The ice thickness must be a minimum of 15cm (6") and must be measured in several places.

The use of natural ice involves some risk. Here are safety criteria minimize the risks:

  • Stay off the ice of any natural ice surface where conditions cannot be measured.
  • Stay away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice, avoid traveling on ice at night unless necessary
  • Obey all ice warning signs.
  • The teacher/supervisor must be in close proximity to students on the ice surface.
  • The teachers/supervisors must be knowledgeable of the procedures to follow for rescuing an individual who has fallen through the ice.
  • Students must be informed on ice safety and ice rescue procedures prior to the activity (e.g., not to go on the ice surface alone).

Special Rules/Instructions

Be aware of students whose medical condition (e.g., asthma, anaphylaxis, casts, previous concussion, orthopaedic device) may affect participation. (Consult Fundamentals of Safety)

Students must not participate in the activity until they receive information on concussion prevention specific to the activity, inherent risks of the activity (e.g. outline possible risks and ways to minimize the risks), and procedures and rules for safe play. Students must receive instruction on the importance of reporting symptoms related to a suspected concussion.

Refer to the school board’s transportation procedures related to communicating with parents/guardians the location of an off-site activity and the means of transportation used as well as to the need for obtaining parent/guardian permission.

Emergency procedures must be established and communicated to the students.

Previous training, fitness level and the length of time and intensity of physical activity must be taken into consideration.

The activities must be based on skills that are taught.

The skills must be taught in proper progression.

A proper warm-up and cool-down must be included.

Fair play and rules of the sport must be taught and strictly enforced.

Coaches must determine that competitors are adequately prepared and all equipment is suitable for the difficulty of the race and practice courses.

Coach basic uphill and downhill manoeuvres on a very gentle slope.

Instruct athletes to check that boots are secure in bindings.

Use a buddy system for practice.

Instruct participants to keep a safe distance from each other (e.g., 2-3m) to prevent interference/tripping one another.

Review with students safety precautions to take when working close to others with their sharp-tip poles.

Adequate liquid replacement (personal water bottles, water fountains) must be accessible for students before, during and after physical activity to prevent dehydration.

Environmental considerations

When environmental conditions may pose a risk to student safety (e.g. thunderstorms [lightning] or student(s) with asthma, triggered by air quality), teachers must take into consideration their board/school’s protocols and procedures related to:

  • environmental conditions (consult Appendices F-1 to F-6: Lightning Protocol, Sample Air Quality Index, Sample Temperature, Tornado, Ultra Violet Index, and Wind Velocity Preparedness Guides]); and
  • snow conditions (e.g. snow/ice storms) and visibility.

Students must receive instruction on safety procedures related to environmental conditions and be made aware of ways to protect themselves (e.g. frostbite, hypothermia).

The school board’s weather procedures are the minimum standards at all times. In situations where a higher standard of care is presented (e.g., outside activity providers, facility/program coordinators), the higher standard of care must be followed.

Coaches, marshals and participants must be watchful for frostbite and hypothermia.

Consult sport regulations regarding minimum and maximum temperatures.


In-the-area supervision is required for all sites.

Duties of supervisors must be clearly outlined.

Coaching Qualifications

The head coach must demonstrate knowledge of the sport, skills and strategies to the principal or designate.

All coaches must be familiar with and implement where applicable the criteria outlined in Appendix P – Coaching Expectations.

First Aid

An individual who takes responsibility for providing first aid to injured athletes through the entirety of a practice and/or competition must follow the school board’s concussion protocol and the school’s First Aid Emergency Response (consult Appendix E - Sample First Aid Plan and Sample First Aid Emergency Response).

Also see Fundamentals of Safety section to view complete safety requirements.