Here at the Piste X Code we’ve always believed that improving on-piste safety begins with education; learning the rules of the slopes as you take your first tentative turns on the piste means that you can enjoy them in a safe way. Ski schools were – and continue to be – hugely supportive of the Piste X Code and its here, in your beginner ski lesson, that we can really make a difference.
A collection of ski schools in Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz will award our Piste X Code ‘Monty the Yeti’ pin badge to children after their ski lessons this winter. Piste safety is an integral part of the lessons delivered by ski schools and these badges recognise that the children in their lessons have been introduced to the principles of safe on-piste behaviour. There won’t be a ‘test’ to achieve the badge, but we hope that seeing a Monty the Yeti pin badge attached to their children’s ski jackets or helmets will encourage parents to observe the rules of the piste too.
At LGS – Les Gets Snowsports, the team have provided lots of support for this campaign, helping us to determine the logistics involved in its implementation.
“Our hope is that piste safety becomes second nature and that’s more likely to happen if the principles are taught from an early age… a bit like learning how to cross a busy road as a pedestrian. Children are good learners and if the fundamental safety ideas are introduced by instructors and parents, we’ll succeed in significantly reducing the number of injuries on the slopes. Perhaps children may even end up educating the grown-ups!”
Alex at Follow Me To Ski supports our pin badge campaign as he believes it’s a great way to instil the principles of safe skiing to children.
“Everyone loves a badge and whatever it is, it’s usually worn with pride. I’m sure that any youngster learning about keeping themselves safe whilst enjoying the mountain would feel very knowledgeable. By wearing Monty the yeti and helping others to be safe, I know kids will be bursting with greatness.”
BASS Morzine and Les Gets were one of the first ski schools to support our new initiative and we’re hugely grateful for their support.
“Safety is an integral part of our teaching at BASS. We believe that learning how to be a safe and responsible mountain user is just as important as the technical part of learning to ski or snowboard. Our process, as with all of our coaching, is to explain not just what do, but why we do it. With beginners, for example, we make sure to mention that gloves don’t only keep our hands warm, they protect us from the sharp metal ski edges. Not only do we take action that keep learners safe, we explain those actions so we’d always mention to look up the slope before setting off, move to the side of the slope after stopping, etc.
It’s easy to help children understand and follow the safety rules. It’s all part of the learning process so we make each subject age appropriate so that it’s easy to understand and put into action. At ski lifts, we take extra care to explain and remind everyone what to do to get on and off safely. Most importantly, we share what we’ve taught with parents which makes skiing around the mountain as a family group more enjoyable and easier to manage.”
The team Avoriaz Alpine Ski School are also enthusiastic supporters of the Piste X Code and we’re delighted that they’ll offer our pin badges to their kids lessons this winter.
“Avoriaz Alpine Ski School is proud to be a Piste X Code ambassador and part of the journey to promote on-piste safety awareness for all ages. The pin badge initiative will help our younger skiers value the importance of the on-piste safety elements that we provide in all of our lessons and know that they are part of a wider movement to help make the slopes safer for everyone.”
The support of PDS Snowsports will help us create awareness for the Piste X Code across the Portes du Soleil and into Switzerland this winter.
“In beginner areas we often see eager parents, who have been skiing for years, trying to teach their little bundles of joy to ski or snowboard; however it soon turns into a bundle of nightmares! What should be an amazing experience ends up with tears and stressed out parents. Having a qualified and experienced instructor will always lay strong foundations when introducing a child to snowsports. They’ll discover a fun environment with techniques that deliver results quickly and efficiently. Great instructors will use the best teaching style required using fun and game based learning while allowing the child to make great progression.
Children are without a doubt the fastest learners when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Harnessing the energy they have into developing their skills and techniques is key to making sure your winter holiday is as stress-free as possible while also ensuring that they want to ski again in the future.”
At The Snow Tribe the team agree that piste safety is a fundamental part of learning to ski.
“Kids often believe being a good skier means being a fast skier, so their primary objective is to be speedy when they first start lessons. We aim to shift that mindset by slowing things down through encouraging a focus on technique and control while having lots of fun at the same time!
The key for us is teaching kids to respect their fellow skiers within our small groups. We want them to learn the fundamentals of safe skiing with us so that they will observe the same boundaries once outside the ski school environment. The Piste X Code helps keep the principles of safe skiing front of mind once the lesson is over.
Just as important as time on the pistes are the chairlift chats- kids don’t tend to see danger so it’s a great opportunity to observe other skiers and explain what makes a good, safe skier. “
At The Snow Institute, Sally and her team approach the concept of piste safety with the youngest skiers.
“It’s all about introducing piste safety at the right time in the right way, so that it makes sense and is done in a fun way so that they will remember. By explaining the basics while you show them in your daily actions as an instructor but also by allowing them to make the decisions and taking responsibility themselves during the week. I will use other skiers as a visual and point out correct and incorrect piste safety, then ask them what they think. By including them in the decisions and asking them, they are more likely to remember and be safer skiers!