Skiing is one of the world’s most popular winter sports. What was once seen as a luxurious pursuit for the elite has been democratised over the years by inexpensive equipment, snow cannon and a proliferation of resorts in countries as diverse as Australia, Japan, Bulgaria and Scotland.
Despite dire predictions of worsening snow records caused by global warming, more people take up skiing every year, which is great news for the sport as a whole, but does carry with it some problems. The most obvious of these is overcrowding.
In-demand resorts can often be swamped, especially during peak season, and busy pistes can be dangerous. This is why encouraging skiers and boarders alike to follow a common code of etiquette while on the slopes has never been more important.
Some of the following rules broadly correspond with those set by the International Federation of Skiing, while others are more informal and relate to simple courtesy. But they’re worth keeping in mind to ensure you have a hassle-free, fun skiing holiday, and that you don’t prove a danger to yourself or others.
Heed the dress code
A big part of being safe on the mountain is bringing the right equipment with you. That doesn’t just concern your skis or board, bindings and boots of course. You need to dress for the weather conditions, with warm, layered clothing.
It makes sense to always have a charged phone in a secure pocket, bottled water, a form of identification and a helmet. 25 years ago, they were a novelty. Today it’s rare to see anyone skiing without one.
More experienced skiers relish the challenge and plush snow that you often find off-piste, but leaving the piste carries its own set of dangers. At the bare minimum you ought to leave room in your backpack for an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and a probe, and if you don’t know the route, you should be skiing as part of a group or with a guide.