It's a great day to be on the ski slopes today but one young Ottawa teen has a message for those heading out:  lock up your equipment.

The 13-year-old had his brand new skis stolen during a school ski trip; part of a rash of thefts.  It happened last Thursday at Camp Fortune.

If there was one thing Nicolas Riscalas wanted for Christmas, it was a brand new pair of skis.  But, clearly he's not the only one who liked the look of them; they were stolen his third time out with them.

Ricalas has the ski boots and the ski suit and, up until last Thursday, he had the skis.

“They were brand new. Blue, 160 Salomons, really nice,” he says wistfully.

The skis were also an expensive Christmas present that were supposed to last him years.

‘‘We were happy he could get skis that would last him a long time,” says his mother, Belinda Kent.

Instead, they disappeared his third time out last Thursday on a ski trip with his school.

“I came out from the ski shack and couldn’t find my skis,” says Riscalas, “I was thinking, this has got to be a prank or something.  Or someone took them by mistake.  I couldn't believe they were stolen."

Camp Fortune sent out a warning recently to its members, saying people are dressing as skiers in order to snatch and grab.

“The worst day I heard of was 10 (pairs stolen)", says Erin Boucher with Camp Fortune. “Unfortunately, we're close to the city, so people can drive in, snatch and grab. So, really we want to educate people to please lock your skis and take care of your equipment because unfortunately it does happen.”

The thefts aren't unique to Camp Fortune. In fact a few years ago, police in the area launched a campaign urging people to lock up their skis and snowboards, just as they would any other valuable piece of equipment.

Ski keys run about $25 bucks and most ski hills are equipped with racks to allow skiers to lock their skis, which is exactly what Susan Goodwin and her husband Don were doing today at Camp Fortune, “We were told by a memo from Camp Fortune that there had been thefts,” says Susan, “so we brought our locks so they're locked up.

Failing that, you can try Steve Layton’s trick, separating the skis.

“You put one here and one there,” says Layton, showing two ski racks a few feet apart from each other, “and turn them so they're not quite as easily found.”

Clearly not everyone is heeding that advice.

Denyse Geronazzo never locks her skis, until she was informed today about the recent thefts, “No, I never do,” she says, “But I might now.”

Nicolas will, too; that is if he ever finds his skis.  If he does, he's got a message for the person who stole them.

“Please bring them back,” he says, “and please stop.”

Some ski hills have security cameras.  Camp Fortune used to but said it didn't really help identify thieves bundled up in goggles and toques.