On the Piste
After you’ve had a play at the indoor snowdomes or dry slopes in the UK, pack your bags and head out to experience the Piste in a Resort. It is here you will learn the necessary skills in a safe and specifically designed environment. On arrival you will be confronted with many new things such as different kinds of ski lifts, pistes, lodges and of course a lot of fellow snowboarders. This section will teach you all about the different kinds of things that you will find in a snow resort and the guidelines that you will need to follow.
Trail Maps, Signs & Terms On the Pistes
Learning How to Read a Trail Map and the Different Kinds of Symbols and Signs you might encounter is very important for planning your Skiing or Snowboarding Trip. In this section you will learn the Basic Symbols used in snow resorts worldwide. Getting a Trail Map is essential Before you Head Out and Hit the Slopes. Remember, larger resorts can get pretty complicated and confusing. To make sure that you don't get stuck or lost in a resort and are able to find your way back before the lifts close, secure a Trail Map. Most Snow Resorts will give you a Trail Map as you purchase your day pass. If you loose your map, head back and get a new one!
The International Trail Marking System uses:
Green Circle - Easiest Runs
Blue Square - Intermediate Runs
Black Diamond - Difficult Runs
Double Black Diamond - Very difficult Runs
These symbols mean pretty much the same as the green, blue, red and black color system.
Still, be very careful! Between different countries and different resorts there can be various interpretations on the definition of beginner, intermediate and hard. No matter how experienced you are, it is always wise to work yourself up by starting at the easier runs and then slowly making your way to more difficult slopes. When in doubt ask people with more experience in the resort for details on the slopes.
Lifts On the Pistes - Different Types of Ski and Snow Resort Lifts
Snow resorts use Different Kinds of Lifts to get you to the top of the slopes. In this section we will look at the Variety of Lifts that are used and how you can use them. For Snowboarders who finds Ski Lifts a bit troublesome, read our special instructions.
Imagine how unpleasant your Skiing or Snowboarding experience would be if you had to walk up the slope after every run. You would easily get tired and probably quit altogether. This is why Snow Resorts have lifts to help you to the start of a run again. There are Different Types of Lifts for various purposes. In this section we will look at some of the Most Common Types of Lifts and how they should be used by both Skiers and Snowboarders.
Surface Lifts are used for shorter distances and on gentler slopes. They are the first Kind of Lifts that you will encounter when you start learning how to ski or snowboard. Skiers can keep both Skis attached; snowboarders keep their front foot attached and have their back foot loose. There are Different Kinds of Surface Lifts but they all work pretty similarly:
Rope Tows - They are the simplest Surface Lifts and consist of a loop of rope with knots that move around and around. When your turn comes up, move into position and let the rope run through your hands loosely. As a knot approaches grab the rope. Make sure to lean a bit backward so you won't flip forward as you grab the rope. Now just keep hold of the rope as it moves you up.
J- and T-Bars - This is a Rotating Lift where there are wires running above the slope. Attached to the cable are many bars that you can grab. The bars are called either J- or T-Bars depending on its shape. With J-Bars you can grab the bar and place it behind you. In this way you don't have to use your hands to hold onto the bar - you can just let the bar push you forward. T-Bars are quite similar to the J-Bars. Only it is designed to hold two people at the same time. Even though J- and T-Bars look a bit like chairs, make sure not to lean on them too much or you will fall.
Poma Lifts - This Type of Surface Lift is similar to J- and T-Bars but they work with a platter that you place between your legs
You will need to skate into position with your front foot attached. Hold the rope, bar or platter in a way that keeps the pull coming from your front. Keep your Snowboard pointing in the same direction and put your weight on your front foot. You will notice how longer surface Lift Rides can be very tiring...
Chairlifts are the Most Common Lifts in many Snow Resorts. Skiers can keep both skis attached when riding Chairlifts. Snowboarders, on the other hand, should keep their front foot attached and have their back foot loose.
To Ride On a Chairlift - Stand in line in front of the Chairlift. A simple gate system makes sure that only the designated number of people gets on at a time. This is usually between 2-8 persons per chairlift.
As the gate opens, skate forward and wait for the Chairlift to come from behind while looking back. Make sure you have some skating skills before you try this.You will be swooped into the chairs, and once you're lifted off, you and the other people in the Chairlift should lower a bar that will support your feet and will keep you from falling out. Now you can rest and enjoy the ride.
Riding Off a Chairlift - Getting out of the Chairlift is quite similar to riding on it - only in reverse. As you approach the exit platform, Lift the top bar together with the others in your Chairlift and get ready to unload the Chairlift. Put your Snowboard to the snow, and let it glide over the landing platform. Stand up with your rear foot placed on the stomp pad between your bindings, and while keeping your balance, slide away from the landing platform. Always make sure to move a safe distance away from the landing platform. This will keep other people from bumping against you when you exit the Lift. TIP: Keep your weight on your front foot when exiting the Chairlift. Keep the tip pointing up to avoid it from digging into the landing platform and make sure to break as soon as possible. Avoid picking up speed with only one foot in your bindings.
These are the largest, most comfortable Lifts. Snowboards are removed and either taken inside the cabin or attached to the outside of the cabin in special brackets. These Lifts come in many sizes from small cabins to large gondolas that can carry entire crowds up the mountain. Stepping in and out of these is as easy as getting in and out of a normal Lift. Just make sure to know in advance if you are supposed to take your gear with you or leave it outside.
On the Pistes Etiquette, Guidelines, & Rules
You will generally be sharing the slopes with many other enthusiasts during your Snowboarding outings. With this, Guidelines have been designed to keep the pistes safe for beginners and experts alike. Read, understand and apply these Rules.
Although Snowboarding and/or Skiing can be pretty individual sports, you need to remember that in most occasions you will be sharing the slopes and pistes with other enthusiasts. To avoid Crashes and Injuries and to increase general piste safety, some Common Rules have been designed. Learn, understand and follow the following Piste Etiquettes and apply them at all times. Be a good ambassador of the Sport!
Ski or Snowboard under control and make sure you have enough control to be able to stop or avoid objects at will when needed. You can push your boundaries, but know your limits.
If you are overtaking another snowboarder or skier, it is your responsibility to avoid hitting them. Take any abrupt movement of slower going people into account and make sure you have a clear picture of your surrounding skiers or riders at all times.
Do not stop, sit down or rest in the middle of the piste. If you plan to do any of them, make sure you are out of the general traffic and that other people can clearly see you.
When you are starting your run, give way to other piste users. Check your back and blind spot before entering your descend.
Always use Supporting Gear that will prevent your gear from sliding down the slope and potentially hitting other people.
Stick to the Rules and Piste Etiquettes set out by the caretakers of the Snow Resort. Follow All Signs and do not enter closed trails.
Make sure to have a clear picture of the weather, Snow Conditions and the routes in the snow resort. Let those aspects dictate your Snowboarding.
Do not make Jumps if you cannot see the landing site. Never ride hard into an unknown area.
If you are in any way involved in an accident, stay by the accident scene and offer any assistance. Get notification of the accident to the resort patrol.
Never go Off Piste alone and stay in close contact with the people you are going off slope with.
Basically be considerate and careful at all times.