The 10 safety commandments on the mountain December 04 2015, 1 Comment

Safety is boring! 

Safety is boring. Nevertheless our mindsets should be "safety first, when we ski"

When working as a ski instructor I am often surprised how many skiers – also experienced skiers, who don’t fully know (or simply ignore) the official international traffic rules on the mountain.

Personally I have experienced being hit hard from behind by other skiers 4-5 times. Luckily, in all cases the other skier was the one who got hurt most (especially their pride).

'Suddenly a small kid was in front of me and I hit him.
Luckily nothing seriously happened – but is was my fault indeed.
I have never forgotten how bad I felt afterwards.' 

Admittedly, I have been one of those negligent jerks once myself. I was in a hurry for a ski lesson and tried to tighten my boots while skiing. Suddenly a small kid was in front of me and I hit him. Luckily nothing seriously happened – but is was my fault indeed.

So please remind your friends and not least your kids about these 10 official rules so that we can all ski safely together on the mountain.

The 10 Commandments on the mountain

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.
[Personal Comment: Please take ski lessons if you don’t understand this]

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.
[Personal Comment: if you are an insecure skier and hate when faster (but not necessarily better skiers) rush close by you, because they don’t follow rule 2 & 3, then try to make rhythmic turns no matter how scared you are by getting hit.

Keeping a steady rhythm helps the skiers coming from behind to easier gauge your path so that they can pass you with a higher safety margin.]

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. [Personal Comment: this rule is extremely important. Especially kids have a big problem living up to this rule]

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.
[Personal Comment: if you are in a big group take the lead and make sure that everyone gets out of the way when stopping].

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.
[Personal Comment: if the fallen skier cannot be moved make sure to plant a pair of crossed skis 5-10 meters above the fallen skier. This way you avoid other skiers crashing into the fallen skier. Also it is a very good idea to enter the phone number to the local rescue team into your phone before going skiing. This way you can call them straight away without any delays]

10. Identification
Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.
[Personal Comment: make sure that you are insured. no matter how well you follow these 10 rules you may still accidentally cause an accident of someone else and have to pay for any injuries]

BONUS INFO: Ski areas to be aware of
There are two European resorts in particular where I have experienced that too many skiers utterly neglect these rules. The worst place by far I have experienced is in Argentiére (Chamonix, France). Too many unskilled speed freaks. A place where I would never take my children.

The other place, I am sorry to say, is Hemsedal in Norway - a place I almost regard as my 2nd home. Especially in the weekends a lot of speed addicted Norwegians straightline down the busy black and red slopes. Even though most are excellent skiers their safety margin is in my opinion way too small and they create an atmosphere of anxiety amongst other skiers. Otherwise both resorts offer great skiing.   

I wish you a happy and safe skiing season. And just in case, remember to wear a helmet and back protection.

Big smile greetings,

Henrik Kryger Pallesen 
Founder of ANGEL FLOW