Students expand Snowsmart program at Whistler Secondary. 

Fourteen Whistler Secondary students have signed up to spread the news of the Snowsmart program.

"You want to be able to do all the things you love but you need to know how to do it safely and you need to make sure that you take the right risks," said Grade 9 student Melissa Smith one of the school representatives.

The Howe Sound School District is the first in Canada to adopt the program, which is aimed at reducing the incidence of predictable and preventable sports-related injuries.

The program is definitely a match with the school as it is hard not to walk down the corridors these days without running into a student or staff member with a cast.

Nadine Crowe, a skiercross athlete, has broken her ankle, dislocated her shoulder three times, broken fingers and wrists, and even fractured her neck.

And while the Grade 9 student believes mountain users need to learn more about the program she also believes it has wider appeal.

"It is not just about the mountains," she said. "It is about decision making everywhere you go."

Grade 11 student Caitlin Rempel is hoping the group can spread the program throughout the resort.

"I think we want to extend it to the community as well," she said. "I think the whole concept is a really good idea because it is more about doing things in a way so that you won’t hurt yourself or others, rather than saying you can’t do things at all."

The Snowsmart program has two components: a peer portion with students like Smith, Crowe, and Rempel, and a classroom component.

In class the program is made up of a number of lessons that fit into the regular science and physical education classes for Grade 7 and 10.

The program is based on Smartrisk, the Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. The five key messages, which transcend both programs, are: Buckle Up, Look First, Wear the Gear, Get Trained and Drive Sober.

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