8 Ski Rules You Should Follow on Your Next Skiing Trip

Written by EJ Ray

February 28, 2023
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Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports, but both have some risks. Make your next skiing trip amazing by keeping these 8 ski rules in mind when you hit the slopes.

Skiing and snowboarding are considered risky sports. And it’s for a reason—you are hurtling down the mountain driven by gravity, which is dangerous. Mentioning the dangers of skiing isn’t meant to scare you away from your ski vacation. Instead, it’s intended to inform you of the sport’s possible hazards so you can be prepared for them. By taking ski lessons and following these 8 ski rules while on the slopes, you can ensure you have an amazing—and safe—time on your next skiing trip.

Understanding Safety for Your Next Skiing Trip

Accidents are an inherent part of learning skiing and snowboarding, and you should know that even the most experienced skiers and snowboarders may collide as they test their skills on new slopes. However, colliding with other hill users or having them crash into you is avoidable.

Man freeride skier running downhill on sunny Alps slope.

Skiing is a great sport if you follow some basic safety ski rules. Photo by Jag_cz via iStock by Getty Images

The most dangerous incidents reported on the slopes have been caused by someone riding out of control—often because they’ve gone on a higher level of ski run than they were prepared for. To keep you safe, the FIS—Fédération Internationale de Ski—has set skiing guidelines that every mountain user should follow. Here are the basic guidelines you need to follow on your skiing trip.

Ski Rule #1: Wear the Right Gear

This is the most basic thing you should do—you need to have the right outfit for the sport. As a rule, you should have a ski jacket, which should be waterproof and insulated to keep you warm and dry on the slopes. You also need ski pants, and like ski jackets, they should be waterproof and warm. For the best outcome, ensure they are high quality such as these ski wear: https://arcteryx.com/us/en/c/mens?sub-cat=goretexpro.

skiing gear

Ensure you have the right winter gear for skiing and snowboarding. Photo by LuckyBusiness via iStock by Getty Images

To drain sweat and moisture away from the body so you are comfortable and dry, you need base layers, often long-sleeve thermal shirts and leggings. It’s also wise to have neck warmers to keep your neck warm and sheltered from the cold.

Other clothing items you need during your expedition include ski socks, ski boots, ski gloves, a helmet, a ski backpack, and goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from snow glare, wind, and cold.

Ski Rule #2: Have Regard for Others

Reserve the age-old skiers vs. snowboarders banter for lighthearted teasing over a post-ski drink. On the slopes, you should be friendly and encouraging to every rider, regardless of their chosen sport, skill level, or equipment.

Skiing has an entrenched sense of elitism, particularly when seen from the outside, and you can easily feel like you are better than everyone. You should avoid looking down on others and ensure everyone feels welcome on the mountain.

You may provide advice when needed and merited to help other skiers improve and remain safe, but avoid being a self-proclaimed expert; no one likes that person.

Female skier and male snowboarder are standing on background of snowcapped mountain at sunset time. Ski resort concept

Remember you are sharing the slopes with others. Photo by molchanovdmitry via iStock by Getty Images

Ski Rule #3: Help Other Skiers

Similar to respecting other skiers, if you observe someone in trouble, you should check on them to ensure they’re alright. If they are struggling, you may offer help, but be prepared for them to decline. If they do this, respect their decision and move on.

But, if another skier is injured, you must help and notify the ski patrol. You shouldn’t call for help and leave. Instead, stay until the ski patrol comes and offers the needed support.

Skier helping his wife after accident during ski trip

Help other skiers on the slopes. Photo by shironosov via iStock by Getty Images

Ski Rule #4: Plan Your Route

On empty slopes, you can make turns anywhere you choose; however, other skiers may alter your path on crowded slopes. You should always ski with a goal in mind and do everything possible to accommodate other mountain skiers.

Note that the downhill skier has the right of way, but that does not mean you should abruptly cross the groomer to halt at the edge. Even if you have the right of way, work to prevent a collision.

Ski Rule #5: Heed Signs and Markings

The mountain signs exist for a purpose, and you should respect them. The slow signs keep lift lines safe or warn of a narrow stretch or sharp turn. The snow on the other side of the “run closed” sign may seem attractive, but lower down, it changes to rocks, forcing you to return to the lift line on foot.

The mountain isn’t attempting to trick you, so stick to runs you’re comfortable with and obey all signs and markings.

Ski Slope Sign near Winterberg Sauerland, Germany

Obey all signs and markings on the slopes. Photo by atosan via iStock by Getty Images

Ski Rule #6: Be Cautious When Moving on Foot

If you must walk up or down the mountain, do it at the slope’s edge and ensure you are always visible. Avoid waving your skis around in a manner that may catch a passing skier.

woman skiing down by winter slope mountains on background

Be cautious when walking with your skiis or snowboard. Photo by Vera_Petrunina via iStock by Getty Images

Ski Rule #7: Avoid Sudden Stops

It’s normal to need a break or a moment to regroup with skiing companions, but you shouldn’t stop in the middle of the groomer. Stopping abruptly increases your chances of causing an accident. If you stop on the landing of a jump, a skier or snowboarder can crash into you without even realizing you are there. You don’t want this to happen to you, do you?

To stay on the safe side, avoid making an abrupt stop. If you must stop, ensure you can see and be seen by skiers approaching from all directions. If you have fallen, get to the side of the slope as soon as possible before remounting your skis and continuing.

Ski Rule #8: Give Enough Room When Overtaking

As you get more comfortable on the slopes, you will move quicker than other skiers and snowboarders. This implies you will be forced to execute the dreaded overtake.

Skiers are unpredictable, particularly if they are surprised by a quick pass. Whenever possible, give them notice by announcing that you’ll be passing them on the other side, particularly on thinner or less steep ski courses.

view of skiers climb the ski lift up the hill with snow covered mountains. Ski chairlift climb above the ski slope

Allow plenty of room when overtaking other skiers. Photo by kvv515kvv via iStock by Getty Images

In some cases, they won’t hear you, and to avoid startling them or, even worse, colliding with them, provide sufficient space for them to make turns. Be extra careful when skiing on beginner slopes, and do not race down these slopes at full speed.

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Preparing for Your Next Skiing Trip

These are some of the guidelines you should follow on the next skiing and snowboarding trip. Remember that skiing, like driving, can be dangerous, so always be cautious and treat everyone respectfully. Don’t try to show off your skills at a ski resort regardless of your expertise level. And most importantly, don’t look down on others. You are all there to grow your skills and have a good time. Now that you know some of the rules, check out Wander With Wonder for more great ski articles and some of our favorite winter destinations.

Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports, but both have some risks. Make your next skiing trip amazing by keeping these 8 ski rules in mind when you hit the slopes.

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8 Ski Rules You Should Follow on Your Next Skiing Trip

Written by EJ Ray

EJ Ray is a traveler at heart. It is part of her soul and she loves to share her travels through her words. She has traveled the world, seeking great food, wine, and experiences. EJ was born in the Eastern US but has lived across the country and in Europe and Mexico. She also took to the road for a while, exploring from her RV. EJ always seeks the next great sip, bite, and adventure.

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