1 Mar '19 in Holiday Guides
On Piste Safety (a Guide for First Time Skiers and Boarders)
In our last blog post, we looked at how to read a piste map. While it’s great (and pretty much essential) to be able to do that before you hit the slopes, the reality of being on the mountain is quite different and can be very daunting for a first-time skier or boarder. It’s also vital to understand the basics of on-piste safety so you know how to be safe on the slopes.
How to Stay Safe on the Pistes
Skiing and boarding carry obvious risks, and injuries do happen. The best thing you can do is ensure you know how to stay safe – and for that reason, the FIS (Federation International de Ski) has released what is basically a highway code for the slopes.
FIS Rules of Conduct for On Piste Safety
The FIS’ ten basic rules will help you stay safe on the mountain, and will help you identify other skiers and boarders who may be putting you at risk so you can avoid them. It’s pretty much common sense, but they are good guidelines to know and follow.
- Be sensible – don’t behave in a way that will put others in harm’s way
- Make sure you ski or board the pistes that match your ability level so you stay in control and can adapt your speed to suit you and the terrain, weather and number of people on the slope
- If you’re overtaking someone, do so in a way that doesn’t endanger those ahead of you
- Make sure you give people enough space when you’re overtaking them
- Always check around you – in every direction, not forgetting uphill! – when you set off
- Unless essential, don’t stop anywhere too narrow or with restricted visibility
- If you’re on foot, stay to the side of the slope
- Obey all signs – don’t ignore them, they are there for your safety
- If you see an accident, stop and help if you can
- Even if you’re not responsible for an accident, swap names and contact details
Aside from the FIS rules of conduct, there are other precautions you can take for your personal safety:
- Wear a helmet and body armour
- Take your phone so you can stay in touch with your group
- Watch out for ice – and if you’re a beginner try not to turn if you hit some, just ski on to the next patch of powder where you can turn more safely
- Don’t exaggerate your ski or boarding ability to anyone
- Try and stay aware of your immediate surroundings at all times
We know this feels a little scary to someone who’s never been skiing before, but it’s all essential knowledge that will help you stay safe and uninjured on what we think are the most awesome holidays you can go on. And once you’re on the slopes, just be mindful…and have fun!
If you’re a newbie to skiing or boarding and need some help in booking your first ski holiday, contact us for a chat today.