As soon as skiing resorts put their lift systems into operation, also ski tourers start to be seen on the slopes. Countries, regions and skiing resorts handle this circumstance in very different ways. While in Bavaria, Germany, ski tourers can use all of the pistes for their tours within operating hours, there are different regulations in Austria. In Italy, however, ski touring on pistes is forbidden - this is controlled regularly by the local police operating on ski slopes. However, the individual skiing resorts can lift the ban and make their own regulations. More and more often, they implement this approach.
Apart from the legal framework, the German (DAV), Austrian (ÖAV) and South Tyrolian Alpine Association (AVS) laid down rules for ski touring on pistes. The lists contain 10 rules and hardly differ from each other. We present you the version of the German Alpine Association, because it is the most comprehensive one:
- Ascents and descents are made at one’s own risk and responsibility.
- Ascents should only be made on the outside edge of the piste (FIS-Rule Nr. 7), in single file - not next to each other. Pay attention to ski operations.
- Take particular care ahead of mountain crests, narrow sections, steep slopes and freezing conditions. When crossing the piste, do it one after another and keep distance between the person in front of you. Don’t cross the pistes in areas of poor visibility.
- Don’t enter closed pistes. Observe local sign posts and route specifications.
- For safety reasons, pistes are closed during piste preparation work. Especially when cable winches are used, there is a potential risk of death or serious injury.
- Only use the outer edge of freshly prepared pistes. A working headlight and reflective clothing should be worn during night hours.
- Pay attention to Alpine dangers, in particular to avalanche risk. Don’t do ski tours in areas where avalanche dispersion blasting can be expected.
- Ski touring should only be undertaken when there is sufficient snow. Avoid damaging plant life and topsoil.
- Show consideration towards wildlife. Animals are most sensitive at dusk and during night hours. Do not take dogs on the ski slopes.
- Respect the car parking rules and fees. Travel environmentally friendly.
For the descent, ski tourers have to follow the 10 FIS rules like all the other skiers and snowboarders.
- Respect for others
A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.
- Control of speed and skiing or snowboarding
A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of 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.
- Choice of route
A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he or she does not endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead.
A skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder above or below and to the right or to the left, provided that he or she leaves enough space for the overtake skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.
- 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 that he or she can do so without endangering himself or others.
- 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.
- Climbing and descending on foot
A skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.
- Respect for signs and markings
A skier or snowboarder must respect all signs and markings.
At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.
Every skier or snowboarder and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.
We wish you a wonderful and accident-free winter on the slopes and off-piste!