Vorarlberg offers an astonishing variety of options for off-piste skiing in a small area. When enjoying this diversity, it is important to know and follow the rules for skiing away from the protected slopes. You must pay particular attention to the risk of avalanches. There are some things you have to bear in mind when flying down the slopes to stay safe. Here are the most important tips for safe and accident-free days of skiing fun in the Alps.
- Off-piste adventures are only advisable in suitable weather and snow conditions, and accompanied by local experts. Tip: Attend one of the free-riding camps offered by the various Alpine organisations beforehand.
- You can hire emergency equipment in many places. Basic equipment includes an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel. A ski helmet, an avalanche airbag and back protectors are highly recommended.
- Always heed the current avalanche forecast!
- The “Respect your Limits” campaign appeals to winter sports enthusiasts to act responsibly in the back-country. Skiing through forests in winter can damage trees and disturb animals.
On the slopes:
- Ski helmet: Ski and snowboard helmets are now so modern, lightweight and comfortable that buying them for children and their adult role models is a no-brainer and highly recommended. Important: The helmet has to fit right. It must not be too tight or loose, and should be comfortable to wear, even with ski goggles or sunglasses.
- The Vorarlberg Slope Quality Mark stands for quality in the ski resorts that bear it. It denotes information and safety standards in the organised skiing areas, i.e. the marked slopes and ski routes. Wherever you see the official mark for tested slope quality, experts from an independent committee have assessed the ski resort based on the guidelines of the State of Vorarlberg.
- LED displays for safe disembarking from cable cars and lifts: No more rushed lifting the bar – The LED information on the lift supports and when entering the mountain station shows our guests how long they should leave the bar closed, “Close bar” and when the right time to “Lift bar” is, along with “Red-Green” light bars. This makes disembarking even safer.
If you get into danger or experience a mountain emergency in spite of this
Vorarlberg Alpine emergency number: 144
- Send the Alpine emergency signal (visible and audible signs, 6x per minute, one minute break, repeat until answered)
- or dial the emergency numbers: 140 (Alpine emergencies for all of Austria), 144 (Alpine emergencies in Vorarlberg) or
- 112 (Europe-wide emergency call): if you have no mobile phone signal at your location, switch off your mobile phone and dial 112 or tap the SOS button instead of your PIN code when switching it on again. The Europe-wide emergency call 112 can be used free of charge and even without a SIM card. It is also treated as an “SOS” and prioritised in the mobile phone network.
- Answer the questions accurately when reporting an accident: WHO is calling? WHERE exactly is the accident? WHAT has happened? HOW MANY people need help?
Coverage of mountain rescue costs:
For a fee of € 28, the Austrian Mountain Rescue Service provides insurance to cover any search and rescue costs of terrestrial or air rescue for the customer, spouse/life partner and any children up to the age of 18.
Other important information:
FIS Ski Slope Rules
Please observe the 10 ski slope rules whenever you are skiing on a slope:
1. Respect for other skiers: Every skier is responsible for ensuring that they do not endanger or harm others.
2. Control of speed and manner of skiing: Every skier must react to the conditions and their environment. They must control their speed and manner of skiing in accordance with their abilities and the terrain, snow, weather and traffic conditions.
3. Choice of route: Skiers approaching from the rear must choose their route so as not to endanger the skiers ahead.
4. Overtaking: Skiers can be overtaken from above or below, right or left, provided that he leaves enough space to give the skier enough freedom of movement.
5. Entering and starting: All skiers entering a marked ski slope or starting again after a stop must look up and down to ensure that they can do so without endangering themselves and others.
6. Stopping: Unless absolutely necessary, a skier must avoid stopping on the slope in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move and clear of the slope as soon as possible.
7. Ascending and descending on foot: Skiers ascending or descending by foot must keep to the side of the slope.
8. Respect for signs and markings: The skiers must respect all signs and markings.
9. Offering assistance: In the event of accidents, all skiers are obliged to provide assistance.
10. Duty to identify yourself: In the event of an accident, all skiers, whether witnesses, involved, responsible or not, must give their personal details.