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Safety On The Mountain

Skiing, snowboarding and other activities that take place at ski areas involve the risk of injury. The information below 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 below.

Exclusion of Liability – Assumption of Risks

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, its associated companies and subsidiaries, and their directors, officers, employees, instructors, guides, agents, representatives, sponsors, independent contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, hosts, partners, volunteers, successors, and assigns.

Alpine skiing, snowboarding, tubing, cycling, snowshoeing, hiking, sightseeing, and all other forms of travelling on natural or artificial snow or ice; participation in lessons, clinics, sessions, or tours; and all other activities conducted on and off the Operator’s premises involve many risks, dangers, and hazards. These risks, dangers, and hazards include but are not limited to:

  • using, getting on or off, falling from, or component failure of chairlifts, gondolas, or surface lifts;
  • changing or inclement weather conditions.
  • avalanches including in-bounds avalanches.
  • snow immersion.
  • rock, earth, ice, and other natural objects.
  • trees, tree wells, stumps, branches, and forest deadfall.
  • the condition of snow or ice on or beneath the surface.
  • changes or variations in the terrain which may create blind spots or areas of reduced visibility;
  • changes or variations in the surface or subsurface including changes due to 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, cut-banks, or constructed obstacles and features;
  • collision with natural objects, lift towers, fences, snow making equipment, surface lifts, other lift equipment or structures, other persons, snow grooming equipment, snowcats, snowmobiles, other vehicles, structures or buildings.
  • tours or travel within or beyond the area boundaries.
  • loss of balance or control.
  • slips, trips, or falls.
  • negligent rescue or first aid.
  • failure to act safely, within one’s own ability, or to stay within designated areas.
  • encounters with domestic and wild animals including dogs and bears.
  • negligence of other persons.
  • NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OPERATOR, which includes failure on the part of the Operator to take reasonable steps to safeguard or protect from the risks, dangers and hazards listed above and other risks, dangers and hazards.

Alpine Ski/Snowboard Boot Binding Systems

The ski boot/binding system for alpine skiing may not release during every fall or may release unexpectedly. The ski boot/binding system is no guarantee that the skier will not be injured.

The snowboard boot/binding system is not designed or intended to release and will not release under normal circumstances. Given the snowboard boot binding system is a non-system, the system will not reduce the risk of injury during a fall and will increase the risk of not surviving an avalanche.

Helmets

A helmet designed for recreational snow sports may reduce the risk of some types of head injuries. Helmets are strongly recommended. In some ski area programs (for example snow school lessons involving minors) helmets are mandatory. Helmets for skiing and snowboarding are light, comfortable and have achieved wide-spread acceptance. Please note however that helmets have limitations and that serious head injury can still occur even  when a helmet is worn. Wearing a helmet is no guarantee of safety.

Alpine Responsibility Code

There are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decide to use the slopes, always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe outdoor experience:

  • 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 or 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 closed areas.
  • You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through use of alcohol and drugs.
  • You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to safety load, ride and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant.

KNOW THE CODE - Be Safety Conscious - It is Your Responsibility!

Lift Safety

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.

Important!  Alpine Responsibility Code #9 states “You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through the use of alcohol or drugs.”

Get prepared and be ready!

  • 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.

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.”

Loading the lift

  • 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.

Unloading

  • 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:

  • Weather
    • 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.
  • Ski with a buddy.
    • 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.
  • Helmets – it is highly recommended to wear a helmet while 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. 
  • Don’t over do it. 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.
  • Snowcats and snowmobiles may be encountered during operating hours. Give these vehicles plenty of space.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
    • 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.
    • Always be aware of other skiers and snowboarders. Look uphill before you commence downhill, and yield to other skiers and snowboarders.

Avalanche Control Areas

The Lake Louise Ski Resort is located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and contains large amounts of steep, alpine terrain. Certain weather events (snowfall, temperature, wind) can create dangerous avalanche conditions in these areas, which may be closed at any time in periods of elevated hazard or when avalanche control work is being performed. Entry into closed areas is prohibited, and will result in suspension of lift privileges.

Ski Resort Boundary

Outside the Lake Louise Ski Resort boundary lies the backcountry of Banff National Park. Traveling in these areas is hazardous, and those leaving the Ski Resort boundary do so at their own risk and must be prepared to travel on their own terms. The backcountry is not patrolled and receives no avalanche control, and includes other hazards such as cliffs, rocks, trees, and becoming lost. Backcountry travelers must rely on themselves in case of emergency, as rescue may take considerable time to come to your aid. Please contact any Banff National Park information centre for more information on backcountry travel.

Note: If you are re-entering the Ski Resort boundary after hours, please be aware there may be grooming equipment and winch cats operating on the ski runs.

Closed runs

Skiing and snowboarding in closed runs and areas is strictly prohibited.  Runs are closed for several reasons: trees have fallen onto the run, ditches or holes have rendered the run unsafe, a race or other events are taking place, Terrain Parks are not yet ready to open, or perhaps machinery is operating.  Observe and obey all posted signs and warnings. Ignoring these messages may put you at greater risk. Those who violate closures may lose lift privileges.

Marking, Flagging, Fencing

There are a number of different signs and markers to indicate conditions, boundaries and warnings on the Ski Area Premise.

All poles, flags, fencing, signage and padding on equipment or objects or other forms of marking devices are used by the ski area to inform you of the presence or location of a potential obstacle or hazard. These markers are no guarantee of your safety and will not protect you from injury. It is part of your responsibility under the Alpine Responsibility Code to avoid all obstacles or hazards, including those that are so marked. Inbound terrain includes natural hazards including cliffs and cornices. Ski with caution, unmarked objects and hazards may exist.

Relative trail difficulty

The designation of run difficulty is set by each ski area individually. Skiers and riders should be advised that a Green Circle, Blue Square or Black Diamond trails are not necessarily the same as a similarly rated trail at another area. Skiers and riders should work their way up, beginning with the easiest trails, no matter what their ability level may be, until they are familiar with the trails at each ski area.

Walking in ski areas

Walking in ski areas should not be overlooked as a risk, with potential for serious injuries.  There are many wet, icy, slippery surfaces through the ski area premise.  Slips, trips and falls are common and all users should take precautions at all times when travelling throughout a ski area.  Ski boots and many types of other footwear do not provide good traction, and extra caution should be used when walking.

Speed and Collision Safety

Ride Another Day

Actions every skier and rider can take to help keep themselves and those around safer on the slopes are:

Be Ready

Be ready to slow down or avoid objects or other people at any time. Ski and ride in such a way that you are always able to control yourself regardless of conditions and avoid others and objects you may encounter on the run, groomed or otherwise.

Stay Alert 

Stay alert to what’s going on around you, especially other skiers and riders. Being aware of those around and changing conditions will help you have a fun and safe day on the hill.

Plan Ahead

Ease up at blind spots, check uphill when merging onto trails, and give other skiers plenty of room when passing. Look out for spots on the run where traffic merges or you can’t see what’s coming next. If you are unfamiliar with a run, take it easy the first time down it and make note of places where you’ll want to slow down, such as cat tracks and rollers. Also, give other skiers and riders lots or room, especially if you are passing them. There’s plenty of space out there, so there’s no need to crowd each other.

By doing these three things every run, you’ll be helping keep the slopes safe and enjoyable, for you and everyone else.

Slow Zone

Slow Zone banners and signs mark an area or areas of the ski hill where trails converge, base areas and where skiing fast poses a risk of injury or collision.  Green runs are also generally considered to be slow zones.  Please approach these areas slowly and with extreme caution.  Not only is there higher traffic volumes in these areas, but they are often frequented by young children, beginners and seniors.  Jumps and hits are not allowed in Slow Zones.

Failure to ski slowly and in control in the slow zones may result in lift privileges being revoked.

How fast is too fast?

Many people have a hard time remembering what it was like to be a beginner skier or snowboarder, and having to worry about whether there is enough space to attempt a turn. So first off, think about giving people some space. Next, remember that you must always be in control whether you are on an expert run or in a Slow Zone. This is the first point of the Alpine Responsibility Code. If you are in the air, you have no control over your speed or direction. The speed expected is relevant to how many people are on the run. When there are more people on the run the 10% Rule is in effect. You may pass people at a speed approximately 10% faster than the flow of other skier traffic on the run.

Using Terrain Parks

Terrain Park Rules

Be Park Smart

When riding in Terrain Parks, there are a number of specific etiquette and safety practices that all users should follow.

The basics of terrain park safety are outlined in the Smart Style – Park Smart Terrain Safety Program.

  • START SMALL. Work your way up. Build your skills.
  • MAKE A PLAN. Every feature. Every time.
  • ALWAYS LOOK before you drop.
  • RESPECT the features and others.
  • TAKE IT EASY. Know your limits. Land on your feet.
  • Before you drop in:
  • Read the entrance signs – each entrance is marked with a unique sign stating park terrain difficulty levels. Please follow within your ability and always be in control.
  • Take a warm up run – it is recommended that you take a ride through the park and check it out so you can get a visual of what to expect and the confidence to succeed.
  • Progression – to progress through jumps and features gradually increase the challenge and difficulty. Don’t attempt maneuvers that are beyond your ability.
  • Start small – if you’re new to riding terrain parks, we recommend that you start small with beginner features and get the basics down and work your way up. If you are having trouble, take a lesson.
  • Helmets are highly recommended.

Practice Park Etiquette

  • Don’t stop or sit on landings and knuckles – if you need to stop and take a break for a moment do not sit where people cannot see you.
  • Keep landings clear – never stop to take a break in a landing, bottom of roller or anywhere that you are not visible to riders uphill from you. Clear the landing area to avoid collisions.
  • Do not ride through landings. When not using features, stay off to the side of the trail, out of the way.
  • Use features in the manner in which they are intended. Don’t jump off the sides of the takeoffs. Save the takeoff lips for the people who want to ride the feature correctly. Practice riding on small jumps or rollers instead.
  • Do not snake – be courteous of your fellow park riders, call your drops and give people a decent amount of time and space when waiting to ride a feature to avoid cutting people off.
  • Slow down when exiting the terrain park.

Closed means closed – know when to avoid terrain and features

  • If you see a rope line, fencing, signs or bamboo across a takeofft it is up for a reason.  Please do not remove and do not ride those features. If you have any questions or concerns find one of the Park staff.
  • Let the Park staff do their job – if you see Park staff working on a feature, please skip that feature and come back when they are done.
  • If there are boards or skis in front of a jump, the jump is closed so go around the feature.

HAVE AN EMERGENCY?

In the event of an on-hill emergency please call Patrol Dispatch at 1-403-522-1311.

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