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. For more information visit Canada West Ski Areas Association’s website.

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. Your legal responsibility as a user of the ski area premises and facilities or participant in activities at the ski area is explained in the following notice, which you will see posted at the ski area.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing, snowboarding, and cross country skiing (nordic) involves various risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to the following:

  • boarding, riding and disembarking ski lifts
  • changing weather conditions
  • avalanches
  • exposed rock, earth, ice, and other natural objects
  • trees, tree wells, tree stumps and forest deadfall
  • the condition of snow or ice on or beneath the surface
  • variations in the terrain may create blind spots or areas of reduced visibility
  • variations in the surface or sub-surface including changes due to man-made or 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 or cut-banks
  • collision with lift towers, fences, snow making equipment, snow grooming equipment, snowcats, snowmobiles or other vehicles, equipment or structures
  • encounters with domestic and wild animals including dogs and bears
  • collision with other persons
  • loss of balance or control; slips, trips and falls
  • accidents during snow school lessons
  • negligent first aid
  • failure to act safely or within one’s own ability or to stay within designated areas
  • negligence of other persons
  • and NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OPERATOR and its directors, officers, employees, instructors, agents, representatives, volunteers, independent contractors, subcontractors, sponsors, successors and assign

Alpine Responsibility Code

The Alpine Responsibility Code provides the basic rules of conduct and must be followed by all using the terrain, and is consistent across all Ski Areas of Western Canada.

  1. Always stay in control. You must be able to stop, or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right-of-way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. Do not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
  4. Before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. If you are involved in or witness a collision/accident you must remain at the scene and identify yourself to the Ski Patrol.
  6. Always use proper devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  7. Observe and obey all posted signs and warnings.
  8. Keep off closed trails and obey area closures.
  9. You must not use lifts or terrain if your ability is impaired through the use of alcohol or drugs.
  10. You must have sufficient physical dexterity, ability, and knowledge to safely load, ride, and unload lifts. If in doubt, ask the lift attendant.

Also, be aware of the Cross Country Responsibility Code and Mountain Bike Responsibility Code.

Learn more about the Alpine Responsibility Code in this Video.

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.”

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.

Speed and Collision Safety

Ride Another Day

Complementing the Responsibility Code, #RideAnotherDay promotes three actions every skier and rider can take to help keep themselves and those around safer on the slopes. These three actions 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.

View this moving video about the impact speed had on the Johnson Family.

Using Terrain Parks

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.