Skiing, snowboarding and other activities that take place at ski areas involve the risk of injury. The information contained in the Safety and Risk Awareness section of this website is intended to inform you of the risks, dangers and hazards that you may encounter at a ski area and help you to stay safe while enjoying these activities. Whether you are a participant in these activities or a parent or guardian of a minor participant, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the Safety and Risk Awareness information on this website.
The use of ski area premises and facilities and participation in activities at ski areas involves various risks, dangers and hazards. It is a condition of your use of the premises and facilities and your participation in these activities that you assume all risk of personal injury, death or property loss resulting from any cause whatsoever, including negligence, breach of contract, or breach of any duty of care on the part of the ski area operator. Your legal responsibility as a user of the ski area premises and facilities or participant in activities at the ski area is explained in the following notice, which you will see posted at the ski area.
Exclusion Of Liability – Assumption of Risks
Skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing (nordic) involves various risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to the following:
- boarding, riding and disembarking ski lifts;
- changing weather conditions;
- exposed rock, earth, ice, and other natural objects;
- trees, tree wells, tree stumps and forest deadfall;
- the condition of snow or ice on or beneath the surface;
- variations in the terrain which may create blind spots or areas of reduced visibility;
- variations in the surface or sub-surface, including changes due to man-made or artificial snow;
- variable and difficult conditions;
- streams, creeks, and exposed holes in the snow pack above streams or creeks;
- cliffs; crevasses;
- snowcat roads, road-banks or cut-banks;
- collision with lift towers, fences, snow making equipment, snow grooming equipment, snowcats, snowmobiles or other vehicles, equipment or structures;
- encounters with domestic and wild animals including dogs and bears;
- collision with other persons;
- loss of balance or control; slips, trips and falls;
- accidents during snow school lessons;
- negligent first aid;
- failure to act safely or within one’s own ability or to stay within designated areas;
- negligence of other persons; and NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OPERATOR and its directors, officers, employees, instructors, agents, representatives, volunteers, independent contractors, subcontractors, sponsors, successors and assigns.
Alpine Responsibility Code
The Alpine Responsibility Code provides the basic rules of conduct and must be followed by all using the terrain, and is consistent across all Ski Areas of Western Canada.
- Always stay in control. You must be able to stop, or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right-of-way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- Do not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
- Before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- If you are involved in or witness a collision/accident you must remain at the scene and identify yourself to the Ski Patrol.
- Always use proper devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe and obey all posted signs and warnings.
- Keep off closed trails and obey area closures.
- You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through the use of alcohol or drugs.
- You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability, and knowledge to safely load, ride, and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant.
Also, be aware of the Cross Country Responsibility Code.
To travel uphill at ski areas, skiers and snowboarders use a variety of ski lifts. Users should be familiar with the use of lifts for their own safety and the safety of others.
There are many signs on and around ski lifts. Each is important in its own right, informing you about the process for loading, riding, and unloading the chair. Pay attention to and obey these signs when riding a chairlift. If you are unfamiliar with a lift or have questions, please ask a lift attendant for assistance and directions. Ski and snowboard lessons are also great ways to learn about using the ski lifts.
Please keep in mind that Alpine Responsibility Code #9 states “You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through the use of alcohol or drugs.”
TIPS FOR RIDING SKI LIFTS
Remember the Alpine Responsibility Code #10. “You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability, and knowledge to safely load, ride, and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant.”
- If unfamiliar with a lifts operation, first watch others and learn, or ask for assistance.
- Slow down before approaching the entrance to a lift.
- Obey all posted instructions.
- Ensure your lift ticket is available for ticket checkers. For RFID enabled tickets ensure your ticket is in a pocket without other cards or electronics, so it can be read by the RFID gates.
- Remove pole straps from wrists, hold poles with tips forward.
- Secure loose items – make sure you don’t have anything that can catch on the carrier (chair, tbar, conveyor etc) like loose clothing, zippers, strings and hair.
- Remove audio headsets before reaching the lift-loading and unloading platform.
- If carrying a backpack, remove it and hold on your lap while on the lift. Infant front carriers and child backpack carriers are not permitted on ski lifts (with the exception of some gondolas that also provide sightseeing).
- To speed up everyone’s ride, group up before reaching the final cue.
- When riding a lift with small children, help them load and unload as well as lower and raise the bar.
- It is OK to miss a chair and wait for the next one.
- Load and unload only at designated areas.
- Be polite and courteous at the loading area.
- In preparation to load, move up to the marked line and look back to watch for the approaching chair.
- Grab onto the side or back of the chair and scooch yourself towards the back. If you’re skiing with kids, you may need to help pull them up onto the chair.
- Always lower the restraining bar immediately after loading the chair. Let the other riders on the chair know that you’re lowering the bar to avoid any head collisions.
- Swinging, bouncing or otherwise abusing lift equipment can be dangerous. If alone, sit in the middle of the chair.
- If lift stops, never attempt to jump off.
- Make certain no loose clothing is caught in the lift before unloading.
- Lift the bar when you reach the unloading area (always wait to see the “Raise the bar” sign).
- Keep your tips up and when you reach the “Unload Here” sign, stand up and slide down the ramp.
- Move quickly away from the unloading area. If you happen to fall or leave something behind, keep your head down (to avoid getting hit by the carrier) and clear out of the way as soon as you are able. The lift operators are able to assist you.
Surface lifts such as tbars, platters, conveyors and rope tows follow many of the same guidelines as above. Also note:
- Stay standing for the entire ride. Never sit down.
- Only unload in the designated unloading area – do not get off the lift prior to the “Unload Here” sign.
- If you fall, clear the track quickly.
Know Before You Go!
In addition to the Alpine Responsibility Code, here are some additional tips to keep you safe and enjoy your day on the slopes:
- Plan ahead for variations in weather. Dress appropriately and have properly tuned gear. Warmth and visibility are key safety components.
- UV rays are reflected from the snow surface. Always wear sunscreen, and goggles or sunglasses, even on cloudy days.
- Cold temperatures increase the likelihood of frostbite. Dress warm, bring extra layers and keep an eye on exposed skin. Go inside immediately if skin begins to turn white.
- Take note of the conditions. When the snow surface is hard and fast, it is easy to ski/ride at high speed, increasing the risk for serious injury if you fall and slide. Be aware of changing snow surface conditions
- Keep hydrated and carry a snack with you to keep you fueled
- Be aware of fatigue, many visitors are on vacation and might not be conditioned to ski/board long days. Warm up in the morning and stretch it out, then tone it down in the afternoon.
- Identify meeting points with your group in case you become separated. All group members should know where to meet should separation occur.
- Carry a whistle and be particularly cautious when skiing/riding in the trees. Tree wells are a real risk. See more on Tree Well Safety at www.deepsnowsafety.org
- It is strongly recommended to wear helmets for skiing and riding.
- Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. See more on snow sports helmets at http://www.myhelmet.ca/.
- Snowcats and snowmobiles may be encountered during operating hours. Give these vehicles plenty of space.
- Be mindful of where you stop on the hill, for your safety and the safety of other skiers and snowboarders. When resting, move over to the side of the run. Never stop under a roller, jump, cat track, or on a blind corner, as uphill skiers will not be able to see you.
- When skiing and snowboarding, be aware of other skiers and snowboarders. Look uphill before you commence downhill, and yield to other skiers and snowboarders.