Questions Regarding Ice, Ski and Snow

Answers to questions of ice climbing, skiing, backcountry skiing and snow matters.

What are the FIS-rules?

The FIS-rules for the conduct of skiers and snowboarders (FIS = International ski federation) describe the appropriate behavior for alpine skiing on piste. They so literally are the international traffic rules for piste. These rules also apply for backcountry skiing slopes, when they are applicable.

These rules apply for all people entering the piste no matter if by food, snowboard, big food, Skwal, short carver, snow bike and others. “Skier” only functions as a synonym here.

1. Respect for others
A skier must behave in such a way that he does no endanger or prejudice others.

2. Control of speed and skiing
A skier must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of skiing to his 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 coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers ahead.

4. Overtaking
A skier may overtake another skier above or below and to the right or the left provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.

5. Entering, starting and moving upwards
A skier entering a marked run, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes must look up and down the slopes that he can do so without endangering himself or others.

6. Stopping on the piste
Unless absolutely necessary, a skier must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier must move clear of the piste as soon as possible.

7. Climbing and descending on foot
A skier either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.

8. Respect for signs and markings
A skier must respect all signs and markings.

9. Assistance
At accidents, every skier is duty bound to assist.

10. Identification
Every skier and witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.


What is the meaning of the European avalanche warning scale?

The European avalanche warning scale is 5 step scale which is used to classify the potential danger of avalanches.

Important to know is that one step further is not done with the same measure, every step is exponential bigger than the one before.

The avalanche warnings are part of the avalanche situation reports of the particular avalanche warning services in the alpine region published regional. The appraisal must always be checked before starting a tour or a free ride, because the risk of danger can change very fast influenced by diverse conditions.  These abilities to check the risk of avalanches and the reading of the avalanche warning scale is part of a fundamental qualification.



1 (low)
An avalanche is only in cases of high additional load on some few extreme steep slopes possible. Spontaneous avalanches are not expected.
2 (moderate)
An avalanche is possible in cases of high additional load on the listed steep slopes. Large avalanches are not expected.
3 (considerable)
An avalanche is possible in cases of low additional load especially on the listed steep slopes.  Spontaneous some moderate avalanches and also a few large ones are expected.
 4 (high)
An avalanche is possible in cases of low additional load especially on the listed steep slopes.  Spontaneous many regular avalanches and also some larger ones are expected.
5 (very high)
Numerous big avalanches also in moderate steep terrain are expected. This warning excludes a safe running of the affected ski areas.


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