... SO DO PISTES.  

The Mountain Rules

The Highway Code for Ski Slopes.

These guidelines have been developed by mountain safety professionals and experienced skiers to help keep everyone safe in ski resorts.

1. Get Good Gear

You are responsible for ensuring you use well-maintained equipment, including properly fitting boots and bindings. Also check the weather forecast and dress accordingly in layers, with the right eye wear for the conditions. Don't forget your helmet!

2. Be Prepared

Insurance is not compulsory in every country, but if you don't have it, you could end up with a hefty bill. Carry a charged phone and know the emergency numbers. Pop a piste map and a card in your pocket with an emergency contact on it (particularly for kids). It's also a good idea to carry some snacks and a bottle of water to stay hydrated.

3. Get Ski Fit 

 Ensure you're in good physical condition and warm up before you hit the slopes. Always start with a couple of easy runs before you set off at full pelt. Not only will your legs thank you for it later on, you'll also greatly reduce your risk of injury. 

4. Observe Piste Signs

You must respect signs and markings on and off the piste. Make sure you know what the signs mean, noting that they differ across countries and resorts.

5. Pre-Boarding Checks

Before boarding a ski lift, read the info signs to check what ski areas it leads to, the closing times, last piste check and current avalanche risk. Consider if everyone in your group can ski safely from the top, and adjust course if necessary.

6. Be Cool in Ski Lift Queues 

Queue nicely. Don't block the ski lift entrance, keep moving, and have your ski lift pass at the ready. When it's busy, fill up the lifts to reduce the wait time for everyone. Be aware you may be asked to accompany a ski school child to the top if you feel able to.

7. Injuries Occur on Ski Lifts 

Know how to use the different types of ski lift before you board for the first time. If you're unsure, ask one of the resort team to show you how. Do not rock the lifts, or reach out to touch trees or pylons.  On chair lifts you must close the bar as soon as you see the sign indicating you to do so. If the lift stops, stay calm and wait for it to start again.

8. Respect on the Mountain 

The spirit of the mountain is camaraderie, and to look out for each other. Share the mountain, and lend a hand to others in need. Note that you are liable if you endanger or harm those around you through your actions.

9. Always Stay in Control

Be aware of your surroundings, including other skiers and natural obstacles. You must adjust your speed to maintain control based on the conditions of the terrain, weather and traffic around you. You are expected to slow to a safe speed on crowded pistes. 

10. Skiers Below Have Priority 

The downhill skier always has priority. As the uphill skier, you are required to yield and give way to skiers, snowboarders and pedestrians  who are lower down the slope. 

11. Overtake Skiers Safely

Choose a route that allows you to pass others without startling them. Maintain a speed and distance that allows you to avoid a collision if others make an unexpected turn or fall in your path, including at the edges of the piste.

12. Think About Where You Stop

Take breaks throughout the day to catch your breath (and enjoy the views). But don't stop in the middle of a narrow slope, under a lip, or anywhere that isn't visible to oncoming skiers from above. The safest place to stop is at the edge or the end of the piste.

13. Check Your Blindspots

Just like you check over your shoulder before changing lanes when driving, look uphill and give way to other skiers when merging onto a piste, setting off from a stop, or changing direction in a way others may not anticipate. 

14. Walk On The Edge

If you need to ascend or descend a ski run on foot, use the edge of the piste. After a fall, clear the area as quickly as possible and make sure that neither you nor your equipment could pose a danger to others.

15. Raise The Alarm

Even if you're not involved, if there's an accident you are required to stop and protect the area, sound the alarm and assist the injured by following the instructions of the rescue team. Note: failing to assist an injured person or fleeing after causing an accident may result in prosecution, as on the road.

16. Bear Witness

If you see an accident, whether you are responsible or not, you must provide your contact details to the parties involved as you may be required to give a witness statement. 

17. Know Your Limits

Be aware that alcohol hits harder at altitude. Skiing or snowboarding while drunk is not only risky, you could face serious penalties if you cause an accident while under the influence. If you cannot descend the mountain safely, take a lift or bus back down, or ask for assistance from a member of the resort team.

18. Closed Means Closed

If a piste is closed it's closed for a reason, so take an alternative route. You must also leave the slopes when the ski lifts close at the end of the day, as being on the piste after hours endangers both yourself and the people working to prepare the slopes for the next day.

19. Mind Your Footprint

We come to the mountains to enjoy the great outdoors. Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but tracks. 

20. Back To Ski School

Whether you're a beginner, it's been a while, or you want to take it up a notch, book a lesson! People with better technique are not only safer, they also enjoy the sport more. 

21. Always make a Plan B

Before heading out, get to know the piste map. Plan your route based on the ability of the least proficient members of your party. Agree meeting spots throughout the day in case of separation and no signal. 

  Pistes have rules too  

Just like on the road, you risk criminal & civil proceedings if you cause an accident while not following the rules.

The Piste Code guidelines with a blue icon are the internationally-adopted standards which must be followed at all times by skiers & snowboarders. 


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