11 DEC 2014 - BY JOSEPH TYSON
Skiing is incredibly fun, thrilling and addictive but due to the speeds and conditions involved there are some risks to bear in mind.
That being said, if you look after yourself and ski safely, the chances of serious injury are actually very low. Still, just because you have taken out a ski insurance policy, it doesn't mean you want to have to use it!
Always follow the rules and you should have no issues out on the slopes!
Ski slopes are colour coded by their level of difficulty: green is for beginners, blue is easy/intermediate, red is medium or advanced intermediate and black is difficult or advanced.
You should only ever ski a run that is equal to your ability. Do not feel pressured into taking a black run after two or three blues. You need to be ready to handle the difference between the grades, and there is a marked one.
First and foremost, the code suggests that lessons are a must to all novices and also that anyone hitting the slopes should ski in control. However, there are a few other points to follow from the code of responsibility also.
These points are as true for beginners as they are for experts, so you should be following them regardless of ability. If you are skiing downhill, you must give way to other skiers below you as you overtake them, look uphill and give way when entering a trail and never stop on a trail where it merges with another or where you cannot be seen by other skiers.
It goes without saying really, but you should never take to the slopes if you are under the influence of drugs of alcohol.
As well as the obvious points that you are much less in control of your body and your faculties, skiing while drunk can put other people at serious risk, including yourself.
This can also include the morning after a big night. Apres ski drinking is a big part of ski holidays and there is nothing wrong with that. A few drinks trading stories from the slopes is all part of the fun. Please remember its always best to fully recover before strapping on your skis the next day.
Resort wardens cannot patrol the entire ski area 24/7 and so there are usually numerous signs stating where you can go and where is off limits - obey these at all times.
Restricted areas will not be maintained like the slopes and therefore could contain dangerous terrain. Also, if you stray beyond the limits of the designated ski area, you are less likely to be discovered quickly if you do have an accident.
Stick to the rules and do what the signs are telling you.
At high altitude, the weather can be unpredictable. Always check the conditions before going out so you know what to expect. This is doubly important as the level of snow can affect your time on the slopes.
Ski lifts can be awkward for those who have never used them. Before you head out, you should be fully aware of what you have to do and how to ride one safely. This means loading, riding and unloading safely.
Follow the instruction of the team operating the lift and never get off before you have reached the designated area.
Staying safe on the slopes is down to you. As the Skier's Responsibility Code says: "Safety on the slopes is everyone's responsibility. Ski safely-not only for yourself, but for others as well."
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