Tips and rules of behaviour
Ski touring is booming. There are also more and more people on the ski slopes, both during the day and at night. They do so for the pleasure of the sport in the winter environment, but also increasingly for training purposes for races. During the day, the “oncoming traffic” of ski tourers on the way up and piste users on the way down can lead to conflicts and accidents. At night there are further dangers. The ski area is closed off after the facilities have closed. During this period, the runs are prepared for the next day. The grooming machines are often connected to steel cables stretched over several hundred metres. These cables are barely visible and can be death traps for night-time slope users. In addition, specialists may also trigger avalanches at night to protect the ski area. Outside of the operating hours of the facilities, all users of the slopes are exposed to the danger of death.
The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC), the Swiss Cableways and the BPA – Accident Prevention Bureau have jointly developed tips and rules of conduct for ski tourers. The aim is to enable all snow sports enthusiasts to enjoy their hobby without conflict and without accidents.
The five rules
1. The ski runs are closed and therefore barred outside the operating hours of the transport facilities. Ski tourers must also respect the operating hours. Danger of death! Only explicitly open runs may be used for ski touring outside operating hours.
2. During operating hours the FIS rules apply to all users of snow sports slopes. In particular, ski tourers on the slopes must observe the following rules:
- Climb only on the edge of the piste
- Ski tourers on the slopes must observe the following rules in particular: – Climb only on the edge of the slope
- do not cross at places where visibility conditions are unfavourable
- be particularly careful around mounds, in narrow passages, on steep slopes and in the presence of ice
- respect the skiing activity; it has priority.
3. The instructions of the slope and rescue services must be followed. If the lift companies charge a fee for the use of the snow sports slopes, this must be paid accordingly.
4. If special conditions require it, the lift company concerned may prohibit ski touring on its snow sports slopes.
5. Quiet zones for wildlife and protected areas must be respected at all times. Forest areas must be avoided at dusk and at night (especially with headlamps). The following rule applies to all users of the slopes, including ski tourers: ascents and descents are made at their own risk and responsibility.
Anyone wishing to use the slopes outside of operating hours must first find out about the options available. On its website, the SAC offers www.sacas.ch/randonneesurpistes a list of training offers on the ski touring slopes; this list is published for information purposes and is not exhaustive. In all cases, the current conditions of use of the local ski area operators apply. www.remontees-mecaniques.ch / www.sac-cas.ch / www.bpa.ch