SAFETY ON THE SLOPES: PlanetSki Facebook Post


Recently we posted an article about the rising number of accidents with a major hospital reporting it was struggling to cope. The response has been phenomenal. UPDATED

Injured skier crossed skis on slopesWe’ve had hundreds of replies & reaction from PlanetSKI readers of injuries, near misses and bad behaviour on the slopes to our recent stories.

Many want action taken, either to educate or punish those skiers and snowboarders who allegedly commit offences and have anti-social behaviour.

Here is our original story where Dr Jean-Jacques Banihachémi from The Hôpital Sud de Grenoble in France claimed the number of injures on the slopes was at “catastrophic” levels:

Rise in injuries on the piste

    We stress that Dr Banihachémi is talking about all injuries, not just ones involving collisions.

    We have been flooded with responses from readers over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page. 

    The article continues with many examples from skiers all of which can be seen in the above link to the article or summed up as "a perfect storm" .  They can be summarised under the following:

    • Skiers/boarders going too fast or out of control
    • Very little Ski Patrol/Ski Police presence
    • More netting required in key areas
    • Overcrowded slopes
    • Ignorance of the code exemplified by groups of boarders sitting in the middle of the piste, sometimes below a brow in the slope
    • Alcohol consumption

     What is the cause?

    Summarised as follows: 

    • When the conditions are not good e.g. snow and ice, a skier/boarder can often have a poor assessment of their skill in relation to the conditions
    • Poor safety teaching and enforcement
    • Equipment such as helmets and carver skis often add to the skier/boarder's assessment of their skill resulting in a false sense of security or even invincibility

     What can be done about it? 

    Suggestions were:

    • Withdraw the lift pass of reckless skiers/boarders
    • Control the number of people on the slopes either with technology or licensing 
    • More Ski Patrol/Ski Police presence
    • Greater publicity of the FIS Code including a copy given out with the lift pass
    • Litigation against those causing an accident (ref current case re Gwyneth Paltrow)
    So as a reminder to all here is a reminder of the Code:


    1. Respect for others

    A ski­er or snow­board­er must be­have in such a way that he or she does not en­dan­ger or prej­u­dice others.

    2. Con­trol of speed and ski­ing or snow­board­ing

    Ev­ery ski­er or snow­board­er must move in con­trol. He must adapt the 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 not to 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.

    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

    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 and clear the slope 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 slope.

    8. Re­spect for signs and markings

    Skiers and snow­board­ers must re­spect all signs and mark­ings.

    9. Assistance

    At accidents, ev­ery ski­er or snow­board­er is du­ty bound to as­sist.

    10. Identification

    Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and ad­dress­es following an accident.

    There are some mentions of Piste X in the comments:

     You can see the Piste X Code video by clicking on the following link: 

    We leave the last word to regular PlanetSKI reader, BASI Trainer & Snoworks coach, Lee Townend.

    In the infamous words of Pirelli tyres – “Speed is nothing without control”.

    And there are many that don’t adhere to such approaches on firm & busy pistes.

    The subject is clearly of huge interest.

    Many thanks to PlanetSki for raising this very important issue.




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