Piste etiquette for the fast, furious & fragile

Snow angel

Looking at a pisted run in full-swing can be daunting. Lawlessness rules, with cowboy skiers and boarders seeking the racing line no matter which ski school snakes into their path. The wobbly and inexperienced sway in their wake, some fall, while others cling to their instructor who bellows obscenities that echo across the mountainside.

Beginners aren’t blame-free either. Somehow, the middle of a narrow run seems like a perfect place for a quick breather, or, even better, the middle of a narrow run underneath a dip, so no-one can see you on their approach.

What is needed, it seems, is a little reminder of piste etiquette.

One: Give priority to the person in front

Yes, it is annoying when you’re stuck behind the snow sport equivalent of James May. However, this does not mean that you zoom past with inches to spare. Try to wait until there is a bit of room, and anticipate that someone could unexpectedly change direction.

Two: Offer help

It’s always nice to ask someone if they’re OK or need help. Most of the time, people will be fine, but it is worth asking just in case.

Three: Take a break safely

If you’re knackered, try to find a wide area to take a rest, and don’t do it in the middle of a narrow run. This way, you won’t have unsuspecting people hurtle into you.

Four: Look up

If you’re joining a run, or you’re setting off after a rest, glance up the slope. This means you won’t career into the path of other skiers or boarders.

Five: Respect learners

This is a point close to my beginner skier’s heart. Yes we’re slow, but please give us a wide berth. Once one ski schooler is down, the whole group go down like dominoes.

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