The Mountains are an inherently dangerous place.
No matter all the safety precautions that a modern resort now offers it is still a dangerous place. Even within pistes in a resort where you are fairly close to shelter and first aid, it is important to always be prepared for quick changing weather.
There is 1 degree celsius of temperature drop for every 200 metres you ascend in altitude. So a warm valley does not mean it is warm up the mountain.
Wind chill is another factor to take into consideration. Wind is very powerful in whisking heat away from your body. Make sure you are wearing a decent windproof jacket to keep the wind off your body.
Chair Lifts can also be the coldest place on the mountain. Due to the fact that you are not moving and the possibility of one breaking down for a bit, Your temperature can quickly drop.
Here are my top tips for the mountain.
- Make sure you eat and especially drink enough throughout the day. Even on a cold day you will still lose water through sweat, combined with the moisture loss from you breath you can quickly become dehydrated without knowing it. Either take a bag with a drink or stop in at restaurants to stay hydrated.
- Wear a Strong Sun Cream that will protect you from the UV light. The damage is doubled from the light reflecting off the snow and you can get burned very quickly very badly. There is 80% more radiation than in a green valley. Even on cloudy days the UV still gets through so make sure you wear a decent sun protector or keep your skin covered.
- Always be prepared for bad weather. The weather changes much quicker in the mountains than it does in open land and in the space of a lift que can change from bluebird to colds snow. Make sure you are wearing appropriate layers and keep yourself warm.
- Look out for everyone, The weaker riders will working harder to compensate and will get tired quicker, look out for every one and never leave a man behind! unless it’s at the pub, then he’ll be fine.
Safety on the Piste
While on the Piste there is no lanes or order to where people ride, everyone just has to respect the rules of the mountain and look out for each other.
Here are my Top safety tips for riding on the mountain.
- Much like you would a car, always look around before you start to move off. Look up and down the mountain to check you are clear to go.
- Try to anticipate the actions of other skiers and snowboarders. As you ride the mountain more and more you will become better at guessing what people will do next, until then, just stay clear of everybody.
- It is the uphill rider’s responsibility to get out of the way of a downhill rider as they have a better view normally. Make sure you are not going into the path of anyone down hill of you and you will be fine. However this doesn’t mean you should not look up before changing direction.
- Always stop at the side of the piste where people can see you. Stopping at the side will make it easier for people to avoid you, if you are in a group then stay as a group rather than spreading out. Never Stop below a roller or a rise in the piste where you cannot be seen, you will probably be hit. Never stop in front of good looking side hits and features or you may get in the way of the local shredders. Avoid stopping in narrow places
- Stay in control and while pushing your comfort zone, do it in a safe way.
- If there is an accident, Help the person, find out what happened and send two people to go get Ski Patrol which can be contacted at any lift station. Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Pay attention to signs and be sure to check out the rules for the mountains you are riding to see if their are any unusual restrictions in that resort.
Remember to just stay alert on the mountain, have fun and you will be fine!