Staying safe on piste is hugely important, not just for yourself, but also for your fellow slope users. Adhering to the local rules, respecting the conditions and taking note of the terrain around you are great places to start.
In addition, the International Ski Federation (FIS) has developed ‘Rules of Conduct’ that apply to all who use the pistes – regardless of what equipment they’re using. This ‘highway code’ for the snow helps everyone to stay safe on the slopes, and should be followed at all times.
1. Respect for others
A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he or she does not endanger or prejudice others.
2. Control of speed and skiing or snowboarding
Every skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt the speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding to his personal ability and to the prevailing conditions of terrain, snow and weather as well as to the density of traffic.
3. Choice of route
A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way not to endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead
A skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder above or below and to the right or to the left provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.
5. Entering, starting and moving upwards
A skier or snowboarder entering a marked run, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes must look up and down the slopes that he can do so without endangering himself or others.
Unless absolutely necessary, a skier or snowboarder must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move and clear the slope as soon as possible.
7. Climbing and descending on foot
A skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the slope.
8. Respect for signs and markings
Skiers and snowboarders must respect all signs and markings.
At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.
Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.
As their name implies, these lifts take you uphill on the surface of the snow and aren’t too long. Magic carpets are usually found in beginner areas and are like the travelators found in long airport corridors, they are slow moving and easy to get on and off, making them easy for those just starting. Drag or Poma lifts and T-Bars can be found in most resorts and are a little tougher to use, especially for snowboarders, as they require you to balance and keep your edges from catching.
These are lifts that you sit on, without removing your skis or boards, and they travel above the ground at a faster speed than surface lifts. Older lifts can be a little tricky to get on and off as they don’t slow down at each end. More modern lifts either have a rolling carpet to help you get on or the chair detaches from the cable to slow down at the bottom. Some lifts even have heated seats, wifi and weather covers for added comfort. They range in size from old 1-seaters (common in Japan) to fast new 8-seaters.
Gondolas or Cable Cars:
These require you to remove your skis or board and can transport large numbers of skiers up the mountain quickly. Like chairlifts they range in size and efficiency, some resorts still have older 2-man yoghurt pots and others have double-decker trams capable of carrying over 200 people.
Funiculars are mountain railways that are capable of climbing steep gradients, usually using two trams in counterweight to each other. Most can carry several hundred passengers up and down the mountain. Many travel from resort level up to the top of the mountain through tunnels to protect them from snow and ice.
Assisting in case of an accident
Alert the rescue services
Establish the facts of the accident
In order to stay safe on the mountain, remember the following key points: