We are each responsible for our own conduct on the mountains. The FIS - Federation International du Ski, the international governing body for snowsports, has drawn up a list of 10 comprehensive rules to follow to help keep us all safe when skiing, for use both on piste and off. Be aware, that skiing in contravention of these rules may invalidate your travel insurance if an accident were to occur as a result. As well as this formal list, there are several good tips it can be useful to follow.


FIS Rules for the Conduct of Skiers

These ten rules set out the principle of safe skiing for everybody on the mountain. It is important you follow all these rules at all times. Many insurance policies may not grant claims and resorts may pull your lift pass if found to be in violation of these rules.

Fundamentally, however, they act to provide safety and security for everybody on the hill, regardless of your purpose for being there.

  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. They must adapt the speed and man­n­er of ski­ing or snow­board­ing to their per­so­n­al abil­i­ty and to the pre­vail­ing con­di­tions of ter­rain, snow and weather as well as to the den­si­ty of traff­ic.
  3. Choice of route - The downhill skier has priority, as they cannot see behind them. A ski­er or snow­board­er com­ing from be­hind must choose their route in such a way so as not to en­dan­ger skiers or snow­board­ers ahead
  4. Overtaking - A ski­er or snow­board­er may over­take another ski­er or snow­board­er above or be­low and to the right or to the left pro­vid­ed that they 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 to ensure that they can do so without en­dan­gering themselves or others.
  6. Stopping - Un­less ab­so­lute­ly ne­ces­sary, a skier or snow­board­er must never stop in narrow places or where visibility is restricted, such as on a blind corner or below the lip of a crest or jump. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move and clear the slope as soon as pos­si­ble – if possible, someone should provide a clear warning in a visible part of the piste to divert traffic around the location.
  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, including, but not limited to, “piste closed” warnings – many resorts may pull your pass if found in breach of this.
  9. Assistance - At accidents, ev­ery ski­er or snow­board­er is du­ty bound to as­sist – provide first aid, divert skiers around the site, contact ski patrol.
  10. Identification - Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and ad­dress­es following an accident.


Accidents

In case of an accident, there are several tasks that need doing straight away:

  • Secure the slope – clear equipment from the piste, and place people or crossed skis/board/poles in a clearly visible point up hill to warn of the obstruction
  • Provide First Aid – Check the airway is clear, check the victim is breathing, cover and apply pressure to wounds, provide CPR, and provide warmth.
  • Take a note of the location of the accident, using the piste name/number and any identifying features nearby, such as a numbered piste marker, lift stanchion or snow cannon, as well as number of people and injuries sustained.
  • Alert rescue services – call Ski Patrol – the number is usually on a piste map – or contact them via a lift station – if part of a group, send the two strongest skiers to the nearest lift station.
  • Establish the facts – including details of people involved, snow and weather conditions, place and circumstances of the accident and any markings or signs nearby.


Additional Safety Precautions

Whilst not part of the FIS Code of Conduct, the following are highly recommended to provide further safety:

  •           Boarders should always use a leash and place their board top-down on the snow when not in use, to prevent boards running away
  •       Always use a lift safely – clear out of the way quickly if you have fallen off a drag lift, clear the landing zone quickly of any chairlift, assist young children on and off chair lifts
  •       Ski within your ability – never assume you can ski or board and take lessons where appropriate.