SELECTING A RESORT
When planning your trip, select an alpine resort which caters for your needs. Each of the ski resorts offers a variety of facilities and ski runs, from beginner to advanced. Each of the resorts also operates an information service. Visit the resort websites to make a comparison between price, size, terrain and facilities.
Snowboards can be ridden on most slopes in any snow conditions. However, resorts are still monitoring the sport and, although accepted, restrictions may be placed upon snowboarders if resort rules are not observed. Almost all alpine resorts in Australia allow snowboarding, although some have restrictions so check with the resort authorities before buying a lift ticket.
SAFETY ON THE SLOPES
In Australia, most on-slope accidents occur on sunny days when people ski and ride faster or when the slopes and trails are more crowded.
It is strongly recommend that any person trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time should do so under the supervision of an experienced instructor. Not only will this speed up your learning of the sport but it will give you a good idea of which areas are suited to your skill level.
You can reduce the risk of injury by:
- Skiing and riding in control.
- Watching for other skiers and boarders.
- Staying on slopes and trails that are within your ability.
Most resorts have standardised trail markers which are colour-coded to indicate the degree of difficulty. Free maps of runs and trails are also available from resort information offices. If new to the resort, start easy and work up to your level of ability.
Do not try to ski or ride on a slope that is beyond your ability as you will endanger yourself and other snow area users.
Be careful in the morning and the late afternoon as the snow may be frozen. Do not assume that you will be able to ski or ride as well as you could the previous afternoon and always adjust your skiing and riding to the conditions.
- Don’t remove skis/board on icy slopes
- If lost, stay where you are
- Be alert on ski lifts
- Take ski/snowboarding lessons
- Bindings must be fitted with retention devices
- Always ski/board in control
There are two types of lifts: aerial (chairlifts, gondolas, cable cars) and surface or drag lifts (pomas, T-bars, rope tows). If you are unsure how to use these lifts ask the lift attendant.
When riding lifts, remember the following:
- Swinging or bouncing on the lift is dangerous.
- Always unload smoothly and ski or slide away from the unloading area.
- Always use the safety bar on chairlifts.
- Never drop litter from lifts (or anywhere else).
- If an aerial lift breaks down while you are on it, don’t jump off but wait for the lift attendants to evacuate you safely, with assistance from the Ski Patrol.
Icy conditions provide extra hazards to skiers and boarders. To ensure your safety on icy slopes take special note of the following:
- Icy conditions are more likely in the morning and late afternoon.
- Be aware of changing weather and snow conditions. The degree of difficulty of any slope is greatly increased when ice-covered.
- Choose runs that suit your ability, observe all slope signs and don’t let a friend talk you into skiing or boarding a run you don’t think you can handle.
- If a friend is in danger or difficulty, don’t take unnecessary risks to rescue them. Seek Ski Patrol assistance.
- Skis and boards should be especially tuned to handle ice.
If you do fall on an icy slope, use the following techniques to arrest your sliding on the snow:
- Edge your skis/board into the ice to regain control of your speed.
- Grasping your ski pole above its basket, thrust the point of the ski pole into the ice.
Icy conditions are particularly hazardous for snowboarders. Novice snowboarders should avoid boarding in icy conditions.
Do not ski, board or walk on frozen lakes, dams or creeks. Normal conditions in Australia will not guarantee a uniform ice coverage that will support the weight of a person.