All sports entail risks, and in order to avoid accidents on the slopes the FIS (International Ski Federation) established a set of rules dictating the ideal pattern of conduct for skiers and snowboarders. All skiers and snowboarders are responsible for their own behavior and must consider their own and other people's safety when on the slopes. In order to guarantee safe skiing, skiers and snowboarders are thus obliged to know the FIS Rules and to follow them. Failure to adhere to these rules can lead to liability in the case of any accident in which they may be involved.
Below is the list of the ten rules of conduct established by the FIS. A similar set of rules was established also for cross-country skiing.
1. Respect for others
A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.
2. 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.
3. Choice of route
A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he 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 leaves enough space for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.
5. 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 to avoid endangering himself or others.
6. 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.
7. Climbing and descending on foot
A skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.
8. 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.
Other rules and some useful advice
The managing and controlling authorities of the ski areas are responsible for the laying out, maintaining, signing and protecting of the marked runs, and for the organization of a permanent rescue service for the care of the injured.
It is compulsory for all children under 14 to wear a homologated helmet. Non-compliance can lead to a fine of 30 to 150 euros and the confiscation of non-homologated helmets.
Who practice ski mountaineering must always have with them an avalanche transceiver, to allow a quick and efficient rescue.
Special information for snowboarders:
it is essential to look carefully to right and left when changing direction, especially when starting a turn heelside - glance behind;
the front leg must be firmly tethered to the board by a safety strap.
Skiing or snowboarding off-piste:
always take with you an avalanche transceiver;
don't ever go freeriding on your own, but in groups of minimum 3 people: this means if one person gets injured there is somebody with them while the other goes for help. Be aware that a larger group will stress the snowpack more;
do always tell someone where you are going and for how long you plan to be gone;
only ski/board off-piste with a qualified mountain guide who knows the area well.