Safety on- and off-piste
THE 10 RULES OF BEHAVIOUR ON THE SLOPES
The 10 rules of behaviour on the slopes (Source: French ministry for young people and sports: Ministere Jeunesse et Sports).
Respect for others
All users of the slopes should behave in such as way as not to endanger or harm others either with their behaviour or their equipment
Appropriate speed and behaviour
All users of the slopes should adapt their speed and behaviour to their personal abilities as well as to the general terrain and weather conditions, the state of the snow, and the density of traffic.
Choice of direction when uphill of others
Anyone who is uphill and in a position to select a trajectory must make this choice so as to preserve the safety of anyone further downhill.
Overtaking may take place uphill or downhill, to the left or to the right, but must always take place at a great enough distance to allow for any possible movements by the person being overtaken.
At an intersection of pistes or when setting off
After stopping, or at an intersection of pistes, all users should check uphill and downhill to ensure that it is safe to set off without endangering themselves or others.
All users should avoid stopping in narrow or low-visibility areas. In the event of a fall, the user should exit the piste as soon as possible.
Ascending and descending on foot
Anyone who is forced to ascend or descend the slope on foot should do so at the edge of the piste, taking care that neither their person nor their equipment pose a danger to others.
Respect for information, beacons and signage
All users should note the information regarding weather conditions and regarding the state of the pistes and the snow. Beacons and signage should be respected.
Any person witnessing or involved in an accident should offer assistance, in particular by raising the alarm. Should it be required, and when requested by safety personnel, all users should make themselves available.
Anyone witnessing or involved in an accident, whether responsible for it or not, is required to make his or her identity known.
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER, AVALANCHE POLE, AND SPADE
As well as the traditional tubes of sunscreen, sunglasses, map, compass or GPS device, there are other items of safety equipment that shouldn't be forgotten. For freeride or freestyle snowboarding, it is worth keeping an avalanche transceiver (or avalanche beacon), a spade and an avalanche pole with you at all times.
Also known as an avalanche beacon, this a wave transmitter and receiver worn by each snowboarder. It remains on its transmit setting at all times during snowboarding. If there is an avalanche, witnesses can immediately start the search for victims by switching their device to the receive setting. If you have never used an avalanche transceiver, contact a mountain professional, who will be able to advise you how to use it.
Transceivers can point out a victim's location, but cannot indicate how deeply the victim is under the snow. An avalanche pole will allow the user to identify the precise location and depth of the avalanche victim.
This is an efficient tool for digging out the victim as quickly as possible.
These three items will help you to be found if you are caught in an avalanche, or to search for a victim.