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How to avoid £17K of ski fines this season

You might expect to pay a fine for exceeding your baggage allowance, but what about being fined €2,000 for wearing your ski boots whilst on your ski holiday? It’s just one of the many things you could be fined for at a ski resort.

We’ve collated a list of international ski rules that could land you with a hefty fine this season. When converted to sterling and totalled, they added up to an eye-watering £17,000 worth of fines.

With 36% of ski enthusiasts intending to take a ski holiday this year (YouGov Profiles), we are keen to help you avoid fines and ski safely. Collating a variety of common and lesser-known rules, we found unusual rules in France, Italy, Canada, Austria, and the USA.

Ski fines from around the world

We compiled a list of unusual ski fines to help our community avoid unnecessary costs during their holiday. Each country and resort may have different restrictions for skiers and snowboarders so it’s important to familiarise yourself with rules and any fines associated with them.

USA

  • The Colorado Ski Safety Act states you can be fined up to $1,000 if caught on a lift or ski run while under the influence of alcohol. 
  • In Colorado you can be fined for giving someone else your ski pass. Violators can expect to pay $500 for “Deceptive Use of a Ski Facility”. 
  • In Steamboat Springs Colorado, skiers can be charged up to $500 per person if they need rescuing in the backcountry / off-piste. 
  • Leaving the scene of a ski or snowboard crash could land you with a $500 fine and community service in Colorado. 
  • In California you can be fined for jumping over a train on your snowboard. 
  • In New Jersey there is a governmental fine of $25 for ignoring the compulsory ski helmet rules.

Austria

  • The Mayor of Ischgl Ski Resort in Austria introduced a €2,000 fine for people walking around the resort in their ski boots. In Austria, it is considered a serious crime to give someone else your lift pass that could land you with thousands of euros in fines.

France

  • If you trigger an avalanche during your off-piste session in France, you could be fined up to €15,000 and imprisoned for up to a year. 
  • Skiers caught in French nature reserves like Plan de Tuèda above Méribel could be fined 135 euros. 
  • Skiers caught smoking at Les Gets can be fined since the 2022 smoking ban was introduced in an effort to clean up cigarette butts. 
  • Les pisteurs (Yellow jackets) in France have the right to confiscate your pass for anything from skiing dangerously to ignoring trail markings or not following ski etiquette.

Italy

  • Fines of €100-€150 can be imposed on those skiing without ski liability insurance in Italy
  • In Italy, a ski helmet is compulsory for children up to 18 years. Those not wearing a helmet risk a fine of €100 to €150. 
  • You could be fined for skiing off-piste in some of Italy’s nature conservation areas that are designed to protect wildlife and prevent avalanches. 
  • You can be fined and have your lift passes confiscated for skiing or boarding too fast in Italy.

Germany

Canada

  • In Whistler, Canada, if you are skiing too fast or dangerously, they can confiscate your lift pass or even make you go to a skiing speed awareness session.

Following common ski etiquette like sticking to recommended speeds and following trial route guidance should help you avoid most fines and ski safely. But the more unusual ones are worth keeping an eye out for. A good ski chalet host should also be able to answer any questions you have and help you stay safe on and off the slopes. Keep up to date with all the latest information from the slopes by reading the VIP SKI blog.

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