I have recently returned from a long weekend in the Three Valleys, thankfully with all limbs and joints operating as they ought to. My first skiing experience was in 2006 and this year has definitely presented the most challenging conditions I have encountered. Little snowfall (or “Few Snow” as the signs charmingly declare at the top of some runs), warm conditions and use of articificial snow to boost what nature has provided has led to thin cover, ice at higher levels and bumps and slush lower down. That said, hats off to those runing the resorts because many runs remain in remarkable condition considering.
Inevitably there are those unluckier than me, who are returning home with the assistance of crutches and plaster casts. Much of the time accidents occur because of “operator error” or sheer bad luck. Collisions do occur however and claims can arise out of them. Without even getting started on the helmet debate, an issue for another time, it is worth noting that rules for the slopes do exist and they can be of assistance when considering a claim arising out of a ski accident. These are put in place by the FIS (International Ski Federation) and can be found online at:
And for your perusal, here they are:
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.
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.
At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.
Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.