Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports, but both have some risks. Make your next skiing trip amazing by keeping these 8 ski rules in mind when you hit the slopes.
Skiing and snowboarding are considered risky sports. And it’s for a reason—you are hurtling down the mountain driven by gravity, which is dangerous. Mentioning the dangers of skiing isn’t meant to scare you away from your ski vacation. Instead, it’s intended to inform you of the sport’s possible hazards so you can be prepared for them. By following these 8 ski rules while on the slopes, you can ensure you have an amazing—and safe—time on your next skiing trip.
Understanding Safety for Your Next Skiing Trip
Accidents are an inherent part of learning skiing and snowboarding, and you should know that even the most experienced skiers and snowboarders may collide as they test their skills on new slopes. What is avoidable, however, is colliding with other hill users or having them crash into you.
The most dangerous incidents reported on the slopes have been caused by someone riding out of control—often because they’ve gone on a higher level of ski run than they were prepared for. To keep you safe, the FIS—Fédération Internationale de Ski—has set skiing guidelines that every mountain user should follow. Here are the basic guidelines you need to follow on your skiing trip.
Ski Rule #1: Wear the Right Gear
This is the most basic thing you should do—you need to have the right outfit for the sport. As a rule, you should have a ski jacket, which should be waterproof and insulated to keep you warm and dry on the slopes. You also need ski pants, and like ski jackets, they should be waterproof and warm. For the best outcome, ensure they are high quality such as these ski wear: https://arcteryx.com/us/en/c/mens?sub-cat=goretexpro.
To drain sweat and moisture away from the body so you are comfortable and dry, you need base layers, often long-sleeve thermal shirts and leggings. It’s also wise to have neck warmers to keep your neck warm and sheltered from the cold.
Other clothing items you need during your expedition include ski socks, ski boots, ski gloves, a helmet, a ski backpack, and goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from snow glare, wind, and cold.
Ski Rule #2: Have Regard for Others
Reserve the age-old skiers vs. snowboarders banter for lighthearted teasing over a post-ski drink. On the slopes, you should be friendly and encouraging to every rider, regardless of their chosen sport, skill level, or equipment.
Skiing has an entrenched sense of elitism, particularly when seen from the outside, and you can easily feel like you are better than everyone. You should avoid looking down on others and ensure everyone feels welcome on the mountain.
You may provide advice when needed and merited to help other skiers improve and remain safe, but avoid being a self-proclaimed expert; no one likes that person.
Ski Rule #3: Help Other Skiers
Similar to respecting other skiers, if you observe someone in trouble, you should check on them to ensure they’re alright. If they are struggling, you may offer help, but be prepared for them to decline. If they do this, respect their decision and move on.
But, if another skier is injured, you must help and notify the ski patrol. You shouldn’t call for help and leave. Instead, stay until the ski patrol comes and offers the needed support.
Ski Rule #4: Plan Your Route
On empty slopes, you can make turns anywhere you choose; however, other skiers may alter your path on crowded slopes. You should always ski with a goal in mind and do everything possible to accommodate other mountain skiers.
Note that the downhill skier has the right of way, but that does not mean you should abruptly cross the groomer to halt at the edge. Even if you have the right of way, work to prevent a collision.
Ski Rule #5: Heed Signs and Markings
The mountain signs exist for a purpose, and you should respect them. The slow signs keep lift lines safe or warn of a narrow stretch or sharp turn. The snow on the other side of the “run closed” sign may seem attractive, but lower down, it changes to rocks, forcing you to return to the lift line on foot.
The mountain isn’t attempting to trick you, so stick to runs you’re comfortable with and obey all signs and markings.
Ski Rule #6: Be Cautious When Moving on Foot
If you must walk up or down the mountain, do it at the slope’s edge and ensure you are always visible. Avoid waving your skis around in a manner that may catch a passing skier.
Ski Rule #7: Avoid Sudden Stops
It’s normal to need a break or a moment to regroup with skiing companions, but you shouldn’t stop in the middle of the groomer. Stopping abruptly increases your chances of causing an accident. If you stop on the landing of a jump, a skier or snowboarder can crash into you without even realizing you are there. You don’t want this to happen to you, do you?
To stay on the safe side, avoid making an abrupt stop. If you must stop, ensure you can see and be seen by skiers approaching from all directions. If you have fallen, get to the side of the slope as soon as possible before remounting your skis and continuing.
Ski Rule #8: Give Enough Room When Overtaking
As you get more comfortable on the slopes, you will move quicker than other skiers and snowboarders. This implies you will be forced to execute the dreaded overtake.
Skiers are unpredictable, particularly if they are surprised by a quick pass. Whenever possible, give them notice by announcing that you’ll be passing them on the other side, particularly on thinner or less steep ski courses.
In some cases, they won’t hear you, and to avoid startling them or, even worse, colliding with them, provide sufficient space for them to make turns. Be extra careful when skiing on beginner slopes, and do not race down these slopes at full speed.
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Preparing for Your Next Skiing Trip
These are some of the guidelines you should follow on the next skiing and snowboarding trip. Remember that skiing, like driving, can be dangerous, so always be cautious and treat everyone respectfully. Don’t try to show off your skills at a ski resort regardless of your expertise level. And most importantly, don’t look down on others. You are all there to grow your skills and have a good time. Now that you know some of the rules, check out Wander With Wonder for more great ski articles and some of our favorite winter destinations.