A guide to skiing etiquette

Skiing is one of the most fun and exhilarating activities going. However, skiing is not really a free for all, there a few DOs & DONTs to observe to make sure everyone gets home in one piece. And a few rules to follow to make sure you don’t get up everyones noses due to some social faux pas or irresponsible behaviour that can and often does occur on the slopes. If you’ve found yourself getting a tad irate with fellow skiers more times than you care to mention, you may feel vindicated to know there are others who share your personal pet peeves. Beware, flouting the following rules is a slippery slope, pun intended. 

Do take a lesson or two

If this is your first ski trip, please, for the love of Ada, book a couple of lessons. Teaching yourself to ski or picking up a few pointers from your mates increases the risk of injury to yourself and other skiers. Lessons will help you get to grips with skiing a lot quicker and will teach you the essential skill of actually stopping in time. Not dying will also help improve your lifelong enjoyment of the sport and not wiping out a rack full of ski’s will herald your arrival at the mountain restaurant with at least a modicum of dignity.

Stub it out

You may be outside but when you’re packed together on a lift its not cool to light up a cigarette, unless of course you hand them around. But have a little thought for non-smokers: you’re suspended 50 metres above the ground and there’s no escape. In the presence of a smoker ski-lifters have two choices, they can cough and splutter their way up the mountain, or they can leap off prematurely and free fall to certain doom. Smoking really does kill.

Know your limits

There’s nothing wrong with challenging yourself but skiing above your skill level is one of the quickest ways to endanger yourself and others. Not being able to make the turns will result in a certain fall and down a particularly steep section that will be a few falls too many the best outcome is you’ll get wet and tired very quickly, worst case scenario is a lift to the hospital and the end of your fun for this year. Remember too; trail designations are unique to each ski area, so follow the guidelines closely.

You speaka da lingo?

There’s nothing wrong with spitting a bit of skiing lingo from time to time innit. But over-compensating or getting your slang terms mixed up especially in a loud and obnoxious voice will mark you out as a bit of a plonker. Avoid!

Lift etiquette

The British, by and large, are very good at observing queue etiquette and nothing raises the hackles more than queue jumpers. Cutting in line or holding up the queue because you want to avoid sharing a lift with strangers will result in scornful looks from your fellow skiers or maybe even a shower of snowballs. Chill out, we all want to get to the top asap. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t share a chairlift with your bessie, they’ll be there at the top waiting for you, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Alight the lift in a quick and fair manner.

Don’t be a ski snob

An overly negative or condescending attitude towards the difficulty of the slopes will attract only eye rolls and exasperated sighs from those around you. Especially if it was you in the queue telling your mate in a loud voice that you ‘totally shredded the gnar on that sick jump, man’.

Give right of way

The skier in front of you has right of way. It’s your responsibility to react to them and avoid collision. Regardless of who cut off who, the person at the back is always responsible. By the same token, if you’re getting slow and are aware of an approaching skier, DO NOT make erratic movements to avoid them. Maintain a predictable pattern and let them pass.

Help others

Every skier ‘yard sales’ at some point. For those unfamiliar with the term, a yard sale is when a skier wipes out so spectacularly that they leave skis, poles, hats, googles and dentures scattered across the slopes. If You encounter a yard sale, be a good Samaritan, either make a serious offer for the job lot or stop to enquire if they are ok or perhaps need help.

Do keep your speed under control

No one likes it when a speed demon comes hurtling down a beginner course close to the speed of sound, except for said skier, you can tell from the manic grin that he/she sports as they hurtle by. But, seriously, it’s not big and it’s not clever. Have fun but take your need for speed to a more appropriate trail and slow things down when you overtake slower skiers.

Do not stop in the middle of a slope

The Middle of the slope is no place for a picnic or a fag break.  If You need to stop, make sure you pull up at the side in an area where you can be clearly seen.

Do have fun

It’s all quite simple really. The usual common sense and good manners go a long way. I know some people can be quite selfish and for some reason get overly giddy as soon as they hit the slopes. They are accidents waiting to happen, don’t join their club.

Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland.

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Comments (2)

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  1. The lesson is key Danny. I’ve not skied once in my life; would be a fool to hit slopes without taking 1-2 lessons to get comfortable on skis. Otherwise I’d put myself and others at risk, at worst, and at best, I’d give someone a funny video to share on YouTube.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Ryan

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