Skiing and snowboarding are perfectly safe sports, and they see fewer injuries per head than other sports and physical activity such as squash, cricket, keep-fit, tennis and rugby. It’s all about being sensible here – but you can still have plenty of fun! For those who are embarking on their first budget snow holidays this year, it’s a good idea to read up a little bit on how you can keep yourself, and others, safe on the slopes.
We’ve got some handy tips for you so you can be as clued up as possible before heading for the chairlift and those dreamy runs that await your tracks!
When you’re on-piste, the most important thing to take into consideration is the surroundings; this includes the natural ones and the human ones. Give yourself a nice distance from other people in case you need to stop quickly; we’ve all been there when someone’s stacked it on a run, and you have to act fast!
When you’re enjoying the slopes on-piste, it’s really important to stick to the rules of the 'Skiway Code.' You can find out about those here:
The markers that are set out on the mountain, form the runs that you should stick to, unless you know how to cope with off-piste conditions, and have the right safety kit with you. You’ll see the sticks or posts on each piste, and they’re sure to be well marked, so if the snow comes down hard – also known as a white-out, you can pick them out and stay on the right route. Stick to riding between the piste markers, and you’ll be safe to ski and board to your heart’s content!
One of the first things you should do when you arrive in resort if you’ve not been before is to read the piste map carefully. This will give you the best idea of where’s good for you to ski or snowboard, helping you to avoid any unwanted trips down an icy black run that’ll ensure you come a cropper!
Runs are graded for difficulty and will be colour-coded, so you can see what’s best for your level.
We’ve listed the difficulty rating so that you’ll know what to look for when you get your resort map:
· Green runs are the easiest
· Followed by blue
· Next is red
· Then black
It’s worth knowing that grading can vary between resorts – so some places might grade their runs as a green, but if they were in another resort, they would be classed as reds. So, if you’re new to the slopes, go steady, don't go honing down pistes you don’t know, and then, once you know what to expect you can enjoy them more when you head over to them again.
There is specially-trained staff out constantly working on the mountain to ensure that everyone in the resort is safe. This includes the teams who are out checking against avalanche danger; if there is a danger, the pistes that are affected are kept closed until the avalanche has been artificially triggered, or the snow has stabilised naturally. So, what we’re saying here is, don't venture under the barriers of a closed piste, it’s super dumb, and there’s no point.
Hopefully, this has given you plenty of info to work with so that you can stay safe and have an awesome time in the mountains! Got any tips you think people ought to know? Share them in the comments on our social media channels!
Video courtesy of Snowsport England/YouTube.