Contrary to roads and motorised vehicles, there is no need to get a license if you want to hit the winter slopes with a pair of skis or a board. Still, that does not mean that there are no rules or guidelines that one should be aware of before racing down the mountains.

For one, it is a general safety issue. Winter sports are known to be dangerous and, unsurprisingly, the sight of broken limbs and torn ligaments is not a rare one during the annual season. For another, people usually take to the mountains to enjoy themselves and have fun rather than developing or cultivating slope rage.

What follows is both a small introduction for newcomers and a friendly reminder for all you veterans out there. Regardless of your preferred equipment (skis obviously being cooler than snowboards), if you find yourself lucky enough to embark on winter holidays despite Covid-19, use this quick read to freshen up on the basics!

Chairlifts and cable cars

Queuing for the lift should be an easy task. Do consider the size of your group and how many people actually fit on each carriage before sliding into the entry zone. Do check if everyone is ready and don't be that person making it to the front of the queue and then blocking access for everyone else until the very last of your friends has made it.

Even more critical than getting on the lift is getting off: do remember to get out of the way as soon as your board(s) hit the ground. Think of those silly bus passengers that get off and then remain in front of the open door not knowing where to go, often making it impossible for others to properly exit the vehicle.

Ski lifts provide a similar situation, the only difference being that there is literally no way to stop once it is your turn. So, do think about the endless cycle of people making it to the mountain top and make sure the arrival zone is free at all times.

Visualising the slope

Now that you have made it to the mountain top, time to have a look down and visualise how you want to master the slope in front of you. Do consider your skills and how able you are to deal with steep declines, icy stretches, or deep snow. Once you identify a side that is to your liking, do make sure to get there and stick to it!

Don't rush this process, as you may end up being stuck in a certain spot and forced to cross over the entire slope just to get yourself out of a messy situation. This can easily endanger everyone else, so do make sure to choose an accomplishable path before heading down.

The same principle applies to areas that are suitable to take a break. Don't go for the spontaneous breather in the middle of the slope, or worse, right behind a bump where others cannot possibly spot you. Regardless of how tired you are, do make sure to find a safe area to avoid unnecessary collisions.

Staying focused

Despite being a pastime for most, one should never underestimate the amount of focus still needed to get down the slopes safely. Just like being on the road, there are certain things that don't mix well with winter slopes.

I will not be a party killer and tell you to not drink alcohol altogether. As already mentioned, skiing and snowboarding are there to be enjoyed, but there is still more than enough time to get properly pissed once the slopes have closed. So, do make sure to not have one too many before making it down the final home stretch, if not for your own sake, then for the one of all others around you.

Listening to music while skiing (of which I am guilty as charged) can also become a distraction. However, since one is allowed to listen to music while driving a car or riding a motorcycle, there is little reason to abstain from this additional pleasure when going down the mountains. Nevertheless, do make sure to keep the volume at bay so that you can still hear the warning signals from snowcats or people around you.

And finally, for the love of God, don't use your phone while going down the hills! Nothing against taking a picture when you are standing safely somewhere, but there really is no need to film yourself or others while skiing.