Whether skiing or snowboarding, the sense of freedom is amazing, but there are however certain rules that need to be respected in order to enjoy it without danger. Just like driving, to ensure the safety of everyone concerned, there’s a ski-slope code!
Is this your first time skiing? Don’t worry, MySkirent has prepared a short recap on the classification of pistes, what the different signs mean, the major rules of conduct and some tips to help you get your bearings.
For your safety
It’s an army of ants that gets busy every night so that you can make the most of the ski domain during the day. Every day, after the last skiers have descended and before the first have gotten up, the pisteurs roam the entirety of the domain to ensure that you avoid all danger. Don’t be surprised if early in the morning a ‘rumbling’ wakes you up: while the snow grooming vehicles are working flat out, the pisteurs sometimes set-off preventative avalanches.
How to get your bearings?
Before you take off, you need to get your bearings. All paths do not lead back to the resort!
To guide you:
The map of the pistes: It’s important to always keep one with you, you can get them at the tourist office or at the various ski-pass offices. The maps are easy to read, and you’ll find the names and colour codes of the different pistes, the direction of the slopes, all the ski-lifts and also the shelters and mountain restaurants. The pictograms indicate the type of ski-lift: cable-car, chair-lift, drag-lift…
The boarding zone for ski-lifts: Take a good look at the signs, you’ll find the name of the pistes that the lift leads to and indications concerning their opening times. Sometimes they may also provide you with information about the condition of the snow or the different liaisons you can make when you arrive up there.
– The round, coloured signs also tell you the name of the piste you’re on (in France, the numbers marked in descending order as you go down, enable you to measure the length of the piste).
– The pistes are delimited by poles of the same colour from top to bottom. In misty weather, they’ll help you stay on track and follow the right path!
– Possible dangers identified by the rescue-team pisteurs, such as pylons and rocks, are indicated and protected.
– Slope boarders considered as extremely dangerous are barred by safety-nets.
You have no sense of orientation?
MySkirent tip: Ski connected!
Most ski resorts have developed their own mobile app that can be really useful. You’ll have real-time access to weather conditions, the map of the pistes…
If you’ve never had a sense of orientation: You’re definitely going to like the SkiMaps app. Accessible anywhere, with or without an internet connexion, it provides a multitude of ski domain maps and allows its user to orientate themselves on the slopes thanks to their smartphone’s GPS.
You’ll find the best mobile apps for skiing in our next release.
So, all these colours, what do they mean?
This green blue red black yellow colour-scape isn’t there for decorative purposes, it tells you the pistes’ level of difficulty.
The level of difficulty is assessed depending on the incline, the length, the breadth, exposure to the sun and the wind (a slope that’s often icy is more difficult).
Green: very easy (used only in France, Norway and Sweden)
Double black: extremely difficult (45 degrees that’s 100%)
Many resorts offer non-groomed pistes that afford sensations close to off-piste skiing. They have their own specific signs.
In France they’re indicated by a system specific to each resort
In Austria there are two types of sign, a red lozenge for routes of moderate difficulty and red with a black border for those considered difficult.
In Spain, Italy and Switzerland yellow is used.
Are you ready? Have you earned your ski licence?
The International Ski Federation has identified 10 rules of conduct for Alpine skiing and snowboarding:
1. Respect for others : A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.
2. Control of speed and skiing or snowboarding : A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his 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 that he does not 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 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.
6. Stopping on the piste : 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 clear of the piste 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 piste.
8. Respect for signs and markings : A skier or snowboarder must respect all signs and markings.
9. Assistance : At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.
10. Identification : Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.