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Safety First
First make sure that your wintersports travel insurance policy covers you off-piste, and always adhere to the following off-piste safety rules:

• Always let someone know where you are going and what time you plan to return.

• Unless you know the area like the back of your hand, always employ a qualified mountain guide.

• Never leave the patrolled ski area on your own; it is safer to ride in groups of three or more persons.

• Never blindly follow someone else's tracks, they may lead in the wrong direction or even off a cliff!

• Always carry the essential off-piste kit: avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, map and compass.

When exploring off-piste in glacial areas you should also carry a climbing rope and harness, ice screws, carabiners and rope ascenders/foot slings. However, these items are only effective if you know how to use them properly.

Many resorts run avalanche awareness and safety equipment training courses. The golden rule is Get Wise, or Get Lost!


Yellow flag
Risk levels 1 to 2
Low to moderate probability of avalanche.
Chequered yellow/black flag
Risk levels 3 to 4
Moderate to high probability of avalanche.
Black flag
Risk level 5
Absolute risk of large avalanche.
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Health & Safety tab
Off-Piste & Avalanche Risks
Snowsports Accident Cover
Accident rescue services are not automatically included with standard lift pass or instruction packages:  it is your responsibility to make sure that you are adequately covered by your travel insurance policy, or to purchase a supplemental piste-rescue upgrade from the lift pass office in resort.
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