My 8 year old has been tanking it down the pistes recently and with the Alps at their busiest in February (the pistes are burgeoning with holiday makers) her speed makes me cringe. We've had another chat today about the rules of the piste, knowing her limits and the consequences of hitting someone at 30mph.
Whilst I am proud she is turning into a fabulous skier, the ignorance of having never crashed at high speed means her confident has grown ten fold. Dodging the tourists at breakneck speed while straight lining the home run has now become an adrenaline game of cat and mouse. And accordingly to my other half (as I'm now out of action on the slopes) she's developed an annoyance when someone overtakes her on the piste and follows in hot pursuit intent on trying to snake past them. And this is on Les Grands Montets, the highest and burliest mountain in the Chamonix valley where only the experienced ride. Lesson 1 - lose the attitude.
So a reality check for my 8 year old and a much needed deliberation and re-visitation on piste conduct. Do your kids have spacial awareness whilst skiing? Do they know the rules of the piste?
The International Ski Federation (FIS) have a set of written rules called the 'Rules of Conduct' that apply to all pistes users - regardless of whether they're on skis, a snowboard, tele skis - whatever! If your kids are hooning it down the slopes make sure you make them understand these rules to keep them and everyone around them safe on the slopes.
FIS Rules of Conduct:
1. Respect for other skiers and snowboarders
A skier or snowboarder must behave in such a way that he or she does not endanger or prejudice others.
2. Control of speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding
Every skier or snowboarder must move in control. He or she must adapt the speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding to 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 or her route in such a way not to 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 enough space is left for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.
Our 8 year old blasts around the mountain so fast now it's like she's on rails. Time to teach her spacial awareness and the piste do's and don'ts! Here's her ragging it around her local mountain Les Grands Montets in Argèntiere.
5. Entering, starting and moving upwards
When entering marked run: Skiers or snowboarders, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes, must look up and down the slopes before moving so as not to endanger themselves or others.
Unless absolutely necessary, skiers or snowboarders must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. If a fall should occur here, it is essential to 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 slopes.
8. Respect for signs
Skiers and snowboarders must respect all signs and markings.
In the case of an accident, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.
Following any accident, every skier and snowboarder, whether a responsible party or witness, must exchange names and addresses.
The Family Freestylers are us - the Nixon family, who relish travel adventures both near & far