Through this guide we want you to become familiar with the basic safety rules. We would also like to provide you with some useful advice so that the lovers of the white sport can continue enjoying it safely. This guide should become indispensable to all those who are less used to spending a day in a snow ski resort. Like the majority of the sport or leisure activities that are practiced in the mountain, both alpine ski and snowboard are disciplines that entail risks. These risks do not only depend on the level of ski of each individual but mostly on the individual behavior once on the slopes. We hope that with this guide you become familiar with the rules, the basic security advice and that you follow them for your own as well as others safety. Enjoy the snow, ski safely.
Fit for a day on the slopes Get equipped for a great day in the snow Some more sound advice then…off to ski! Discovering the snow The 10 FIS rules of conduct on the slopes Rules for the use of lifts Signalling and beacons Off-piste skiing and ski-mountaineering Snowparks What to do in case of an accident
Snow Skiing requires a minimum level of fitness. For this reason, before starting the season it is advisable to strengthen the body, especially the muscles in the inferior parts of the body and those of the back. Likewise, it’s very important that in order to avoid accidents you do some warm up exercises before snow skiing or snowboarding. Try also to remember that the first descent on the slopes should be a test run.
- Once you have finished your day on the slopes dedicate some time to stretch your body.
- A good and balanced breakfast will guarantee a great snow skiing/snowboarding day.
- If you like to get the latest weather reports in advance you can find information at www.meteo.ad
- Get equipped for a great day in the snow
Snow Skiing, Ski equipment
It is essential that you get the correct equipment. First of all, it is important that you check it thoroughly by a professional in any specialized shop. Check your equipment at the beginning of every season. Make sure that the soles and the edges of the skis are in good condition and regulate the ski’s bindings according to your weight and ski level.
Whether you are an experienced skier or just a beginner, do not ignore such an important part of your safety as the helmet.
Remember that before jumping into buying any helmet you should make sure that it is an EU approved one, which has passed the EN1077 certification standards specific for ski and snowboard helmets.
Optimal clothing for the practice of winter sports should be functional, hardwearing, waterproof, comfortable and thermal. It should keep you warm in spite of the low temperatures. With the right equipment you will gain comfort and confidence that will contribute to improving your level of learning.
To all snowboarders and especially those who are beginners in this sport we strongly recommend that you wear gloves equipped with wrist guards. We also advise you to use a spine shield or body armour for both skiers and snowboarders but particularly for those planning to use the snowparks and half-pipes.
Sunglasses and goggles
Even in a cloudy day the UV rays are always present. For this reason please ensure that your sunglasses have a special filter lens for high mountain sports.
On the slopes you should look after your skin. To protect it is not just a recommendation but also a necessity. Always apply a sunscreen lotion whether it is sunny or cloudy.
Prepare your itinerary
Once you reach the ski resorts and before you start snow skiing, ask for the resort map to familiarise yourself with the ski area. The ski area map should help you choose the trails that will be suitable to your ski ability as well as to localise the different ski lifts, restaurants, bars and other services. Carrying the map will help you to find your way around during your day on the slopes.
Don’t forget to take a break: rest and drink fluids
It is important to drink fluids, small amounts but regularly. Hydrate correctly with hot drinks and your body will be grateful! Learn to know your limits and if you start to feel tired, stop and rest for a little while.
Learn and improve: take some lessons
The best way of becoming a good skier is to follow the advice of sport professionals. All the resorts have qualified instructors who teach classes for your level, which will help you to keep improving. The resort’s ski school professionals are the only ones authorized to teach in Andorra’s ski areas. Some more sound advice then… off to ski!
For yours and others safety:
- Always respect the signalling and marking of buoys on the ski runs.
- If you practices snowshoe or ski-mountaineering within the resort you should always do this on the laterals of the ski trails in order not to put other skiers or snowboarders in danger.
- Sport is synonym of health and therefore is not compatible with the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Taking alcohol or other substances, which can alter consciousness, are highly dangerous and entail an enormous risk to you as well as other users of the resort.
- Take insurance. For your own peace of mind it is highly recommended to arrange ski insurance. You can purchase it before your trip or once inside the ski resort.
Once children have contact with the snow, a magical world full of new activities and sensations will be opened for them to discover.
The ski resorts are aware that in order to have an unforgettable day in the snow it is necessary to take safety into account. For this reason we would like to advise you on the following:
Always wear a helmet To minimize the impact of a fall, a helmet is a must with kids. It is important that if you rent or buy a helmet you check it complies with the EU regulations EN1077. Also we recommend the use of the spine Armour or shield.
Adjust the bindings
Kid’s ski bindings should be adjusted with precision according to their weight and height. Ensure also that the ski’s length is the correct one for the child.
Beware of the cold
Children are more sensitive and vulnerable to the cold temperatures. For this reason it is very important that they are equipped with thermal clothing.
Discovering the snow
In the mountains, protect them from the sun In the slopes the snow can refl ect up to 85% of the sun’s UV rays, for this reason it is very important that children wear sunglasses or goggles with a suitable mountain sports fi lter. Remember to re-apply a high factor sunscreen lotion several times on the day as well as lip balm.
Learning to ski
The ski resorts have Snow Gardens where we help kids to become familiar with the snow at their own pace. In such a safe environment the little ones start interacting with the sport and will rapidly grow in confidence. It is a great way of facilitating a correct technique and an interest in ski from the beginning.
Likewise the resort’s Ski Schools also offer child lessons so that whatever their age they can continue with their learning process. Have fun in the snow!
Going downhill on a sled with friends and family will bring to kids new experiences, sensations and great moments of fun. Take some time to fi nd out which areas are fi t for sledding to guarantee their safety. Remember that it is banned to sled down the ski runs.
Eat well to ski better!
Make sure kids have a healthy and well-balanced breakfast first thing in the morning. Stretch together before you start skiing. These are good habits that will help them to reach a great fitness level in the future.
Learn, play and respect the rules with children
To teach them from when they are very small the rules of conduct in the ski runs will guarantee a good practice of the winter sports to future skiers. When you are skiing with kids don’t forget that you are their main role model. You can use elwire lights for safety for your children.
The 10 FIS rules of conduct on the slopes
Like any other sporting activity the practice of any variety of winter sports bring about risks and responsibilities. The International Ski Federation (FIS) has proposed 10 norms of conduct that all ski resort users should comply with to avoid accidents on the slopes. Both skiers and snowboarders should be familiar with these rules, put them into practise and observe them.
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 whilst skiing or snowboarding. A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of snow 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.
4. Overtaking: A skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder from above or below or from the right or 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 so 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.
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.
Every person that causes an accident because of infringement of these rules can be held responsible in front of the law.
In Andorra, there’s a law regarding ski resorts and transport by cable that regulates the safety on the slopes. This law can be brought about by abusive or fraudulent behaviour.
Rules for the use of lifts
All the lifts have specific user regulations and signalling that has to be respected, the same as any of the instructions the lift’s staff may give you. Before taking any of the lifts, it is very important to know which ski runs they lead to and their degree of difficulty.
Undo the ski pole’s wrist straps and hold them with one hand then take the drag lift’s pole with the free hand.
It is forbidden to do slalom whilst on the drag lift’s path. Don’t let go of the lift’s pole until you arrive at the end of the drag lift otherwise you could make it derail and injure other skiers on their way up. Don’t take the lift’s poles on the cable path. If you fall let go of the pole and move away from the lift’s path as fast as you possibly can.
Once at the end of the drag lift let go of the pole where it’s signposted and leave the arrival area as quickly as possible.
- If you take the chairlift with a backpack always put it in front of you.
- Bring the safety bar down once leaving the boarding area.
- Do not swing the chair lift.
- Lift the safety bar up when approaching the arrival area.
Children shorter than 1.25m high, should always use the chairlift accompanied by an adult.
- When using the gondolas, for obvious safety reasons it is important not to swing the cabin, not to lean on the doors nor to attempt to open them (the doors open and close automatically).
- Inside the cabin it is forbidden to smoke, to lean on the exterior or to throw anything out of the window.
- Only enter and exit them in the signposted places.
- Walking is not allowed nor is sitting on the belt during the journey.
What you ought to know
- In case any of the lifts stop you should keep calm and wait for it to re-start or follow the staff directions issued.
- In order to use the resort’s lifts you should own a ski pass. You should show it to any member of staff when asked to do so.
- The resort may decide to suspend the transport in case of bad weather, adverse atmospheric conditions or other circumstances out of the control of the ski resort, which may make it impossible to run the lifts safely.
Signalling and beacons
The ski patrol team is in charge of signposting and setting the limits of the skiable area. For the safety of skiers and snowboarders they should always respect the signaling and beacons of the resort’s ski runs.
Ski trail difficulty ratings Easy trail Beginner skiers. Intermediate trail For intermediate skiers. Difficult trail Advanced skiers. Very difficult trail Very experienced skiers. Most common signs Pista Tancada SLOW RALENTIR Danger ahead Junction of a slope with a drag ski lift Trail closed. Access forbidden Junction of slopes Reduce speed Warning
- Remember you choose to ski off-piste at your own risk.
- Off-piste skiing and ski-mountaineering
- Off-piste ski is practiced in a ski resort but in non-signposted areas usually located alongside signposted trails.
- Ski-mountaineering takes place beyond the ski runs. For this activity it is crucial to have an Arva®, a shovel and a transmitter.
- In both cases the skier is solely responsible for their own safety and has to be aware of all eventual risks.
To practice either off-piste skiing or ski-mountaineering it is absolutely necessary to have a good level of ski technique and a wide knowledge of the possible risks in the mountain. Before practicing these sports you should check the snow conditions and the risk of avalanche. Ask for information at the ski resort or check the avalanche estimation board at www.meteo.ad
Risk of avalanche signs
Low and limited risk of avalanche. Level 1 and 2 A very strong risk of avalanche. Level 5 Moderate to strong risk of avalanche. Level 3 and 4 The ski resort’s boundaries.
- When in a snowpark there are two things you need to know: your limits and to respect your surroundings.
- Before starting to use a snowpark, you should familiarise yourself with the facility. All the snowparks have basic rules and should be used in a specific way for them to be safe. You should know and follow these rules to guarantee your own safety and those of others.
- Snowparks are exclusively for those that want to practise freestyle. You should only use equipment specifically designed for this sport regardless if it’s ski or snowboard. Likewise for safety reasons, Snowblade or Big Foot aren’t allowed in snowparks
- Always obey the signalling and the snowpark’s user rules.
- Listen and follow the advice given by the staff in charge of the snowpark.
- Wear a helmet and other protective gear like wrist guards and spine armour.
- Respect other users. Wait for your turn and leave a safe distance between you and other users.
- It is important to have a good physical fitness level and awareness to avoid having accidents. Don’t try to ride or jump beyond what you are physically or mentally capable of.
- Before every jump make sure that the area you are going to land in is clear.
- Before you start, do warm up exercises with easy jumps. In order to do somersault you should always prepare thoroughly.
- Respect the stopping areas.
- If you fall over try to leave the area as soon as you can.
- Choose the trail and obstacles according to your level.
- The use of the snowpark features such as rails, jibs and jumps are designed for only one person alone each time. Each snowboarder should choose the itinerary of the obstacles according to their level.
Levels of difficulty. Intermediate High Expert
If you witness an accident, don’t hesitate, stop! Remember that knowing what to do is as important as helping.
- Help the injured. Any individual that witnesses or is involved in an accident has a duty to call for help and to assist. If necessary they should put themselves at the disposition of the emergency patrol. To help an injured skier or snowboarder is morally the right thing to do.
- Shield the place of the accident to create a safe area around the injured. Signpost the area by propping up a pair of skis in an X shape
- Raise the alert by warning the closest ski resort staff.
- Report what has happened and where the injured ski or snowboarder is located (mention the trail’s name, the possible points of orientation, in which stretch the accident happened) also who and how many people were involved in the accident.
- Don’t leave the injured person alone; wait until the emergency patrol arrives.
- Don’t move the injured.