Alpine Safety

The Environment In the mountains you will encounter a harsh environment. If you are downhill skiing or boarding there may be many people around you. If you are out on the tracks or bushwalking there may be no people around you. Here is some information to make your stay in the mountains safe and enjoyable, both for yourself and for those around you.


Regardless of how you enjoy your snow sport, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are inherent risks in all snow recreational activities that common sense, protective equipment and personal awareness can reduce. These risks include rapid changes in the weather, visibility and surface conditions, as well as natural and artificial hazards such as rocks, trees, stumps, vehicles, lift towers, snow fences and snowmaking equipment.


1. Know your ability and always stay in control and be able to stop and avoid other people or objects. It is your responsibility to stay in control on the ground and in the air.

2. Take lessons from professional instructors to learn and progress.

3. Use appropriate protective equipment to minimise the risk of injury.

4. Before using any lift you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely and always use the restraining devices.

5. Observe and obey all signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails or runs.

6. Give way to people below and beside you on the hill. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

7. Do not stop where you are not clearly visible from above. Look uphill and give way to others when entering/exiting a trail or starting downhill.

8. Always ensure your equipment is in good condition and use suitable restraining devices to avoid runaway skiing/boarding equipment.

9. Do not ski, board, ride a lift or undertake any other alpine activity if your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

10. If you are involved in, or witness an accident or collision, alert Ski Patrol, remain at the scene and identify yourself to the Ski Patrol.



Cross Country Track Etiquette

While the cross country trails are usually uncrowded there are times and places where you may encounter possibly dangerous conditions. The XC etiquette is a few simple rules to ensure that everybody can enjoy skiing the trails safely.

  • Do not walk or snowshoe on the trail. You will make holes that may trip a skier. Walk beside the trail. If you must cross a ski trail then do so as lightly as possible. Please do not step on the set tracks (those two deep groves to the side of the trail), step over them. Perisher has built some specialised snowshoe trails that will allow walkers and snowshoers to mingle safely with skiers.
  • Move off the trail before you take a rest. If you stop and mingle in the middle of the trail it can be bedlam trying to get clear when a skier suddenly races around the corner.
  • Ski to the left on groomed trails, just like you drive on the left of the road. An exception is when you are using the set tracks to negotiate a downhill stretch, which is covered by the following point.
  • Downhill skiers have right of way. If you are skiing uphill always give way to other skiers coming down the hill. It is easy for you to stop and step off the trail. It might be almost impossible for the downhill skier.
  • On the other hand, before you tackle a downhill slope have a look to see if there are any skaters coming up the hill, and wait for them to pass. A skater can stop their uphill progress rapidly but it takes an enormous amount of effort to start again.
  • Pass or overtake other skiers at a safe distance. Remember, they, or you, may trip and push a pole out for balance.
  • Call out ‘track’ to your friends if you spot a skier coming in either direction in a hurry, so both you and your friends may allow the faster skier to pass safely.
  • If you are going fast and encounter slower skiers then you, in turn, should politely call ‘track’ to alert to other skiers that you are coming through.
  • Racers always have right of way. If there is a race in progress be very careful to look around for the racers, generally anyone wearing a race bib, and let them pass safely. When they are racing they are in a very big hurry.
  • Unlike the downhill trails the XC trails are not patrolled. Always ski with at least one companion.


Keeping Your Body Safe

The sun is harsh up here in the mountains.

You will be between one and a half and two kilometres or more above sea level. You will need:

  • Sunglasses. It’s bright in the summer. It’s even brighter in the winter, with all that white snow laying around. Don’t you or your children ever leave the lodge without eye protection. In winter wrap round sunnies or goggles are a must.
  • Sunscreen. Lots of it. In summer it’s bright and in winter it’s much worse. Even on a cloudy day you will get burnt without protection.

It is dry.

The mountain atmosphere is very dry, most especially in winter. It may look wet with all that snow but in fact the relative humidity is usually very close to zero. All the water is in the snow laying around on the ground.

You will need at least a litre of water with you if you go out for a ski, especially a cross country ski. If you intend to bushwalk or to ski, say, to Charlotte Pass then take a couple of litres. And don’t be tempted to eat the snow. It may taste nice at first but it is full of ammonia (and the odd bit of wombat wee and groomer transmission oil) and will give you a very good tummy ache.

It is, or can be, cold.

Even on the most sunny and beautiful of days a storm can blow up in minutes in summer or winter. Before you venture out of the lodge for a bushwalk or a XC ski ensure that you have adequate clothing for a cold change, snack food and water.


Keeping Everybody Safe.

Don’t go out there alone.

There may be nobody else where you intend to go. If you fall over and hurt yourself you will need a companion to assist you and another one or two to go for help. Take your friends with you.

More importantly, if you do go out there alone and fall down hurt you will be subject to a search and rescue mission by somebody. Those who are searching for you will be putting their own welfare at risk.

When you and your friends go out tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to be back. Give them your phone numbers.

Take your charged phone with you. Most areas around the resorts and many areas round the mountains, even Mount Kosciuszko, have phone reception. However, don’t rely on it. Many areas are without phone service, especially in the valleys, and that is where you will most likely fall down. Be prepared to fend for yourselves, at least for a while.

Remember, always, people can and do die up here in the mountains. Be careful. Be safe.

Do not ski/snowboard alone.

Do not walk alone.

Enjoy yourself, with your friends. Safely.