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Stay safe in Verbier with these ski patrol tips


Verbier 4Vallées in Switzerland features 410 kilometers of runs and is known as one of the top resorts in the world for freeriding, ensuring excitement, freedom, and adventure for its visitors. With so much to offer, Verbier’s ski patrol prioritizes safety and the education of visitors to create a better mountain experience for all.

33 ski patrollers work throughout the entire winter season in Verbier to make sure everyone returns home safely at the end of the day. While ski patrollers are essential for responding to emergencies, skiers and snowboarders have an individual responsibility to ensure not only their safety but the safety of others. Practicing awareness, following safety recommendations, and respecting signs contribute to a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone on the mountain.

At Verbier and other resorts, off-piste skiing can be an incredible experience, but it comes with risks. We asked Kali, a ski patroller in Verbier, for some practical tips to keep in mind.

Ski patroller in Verbier

Kali’s advice

My name is Kali, and I am a ski patroller in Verbier. I love my job because it combines both passion and safety, two topics that I would like to discuss with you. Having spent my childhood in the Alps, I am passionate about our mountains and the various activities they offer, especially freeriding.

Like you, I am excited when the first snowflakes arrive, and all I can think about is hitting the slopes. However, before venturing into off-piste terrain, it's crucial to remember these five steps:

1. Check avalanche conditions and stay informed:

It’s important to always check the daily avalanche bulletin before heading out. The bulletin is a reliable tool that all mountain professionals use to gather information about the snowpack stability, avalanche danger, and current snow conditions. 
Kali’s extra tip: Download the app “White Risk” on your phone, to get daily updates to help plan your day. You can also ask the local ski patrol for information about the avalanche danger.

2. Carry the essential safety gear and know how to use it:

When venturing off marked slopes, it's essential to always carry the three most important avalanche safety tools: a transceiver, shovel, and probe. All members of your party should have them and know how to use them. The avalanche transceiver is a transmitter (for safety) and receiver (for rescue) that must be switched on and have a sufficient battery level. 
It is also important to consider additional safety equipment such as an avalanche airbag pack and RECCO reflectors, as well as wearing a helmet and carrying a fully charged phone and a first aid kit.

Kali’s extra tip: Download the "EchoSOS" app to be in direct contact with the resort’s emergency services or cantonal rescuers in case of an emergency.

3. Regularly train to refresh your knowledge:

Carrying rescue and safety equipment is not sufficient; it's crucial to also know how to use it. Personally, I train once or twice at the beginning of each winter to refresh search procedures because every minute counts, and you don’t want to hesitate in the event of an accident. 

Kali’s extra tip: You can practice your skills any day at the DVA Park in Verbier, located at Les Ruinettes.

4. Ski in a group with other people:

Ski with people who are experienced or consider hiring a professional guide or ski instructor. They can guide you based on your level of skiing and current conditions, ensuring a good experience.

Kali’s extra tip: check the website of the Verbier mountain guides office.

5. Know your limits:

Make sure your skills and knowledge match your ambitions.  
Kali’s extra tip: If uncertain, try one of the 7 ungroomed, signposted itineraries for safe fun on the resort.

On the slopes, our main role is to ensure the safety of skiers and snowboarders and maintain proper placement of signage. In addition, we conduct patrols and inform visitors of any potential risks on the slopes, such as changes in snow conditions (hard snow, wet snow, ice, or bumps). Additionally, skiers need to control their speed, especially during peak season or holidays. 

In the event of an accident on the slopes, it is important to secure the area by placing skis in a cross or positioning someone uphill of the victim to alert approaching skiers and prevent another accident. The next step is to call the emergency services of the resort and stay with the victim while waiting for the patrollers.

Kali’s extra tip: Ride with responsibility! The International Ski Federation (FIS) has defined 10 rules so everyone can enjoy snow sports on the slopes safely. Check out the rules here, and always adapt your behaviors according to the situation.

I hope these practical tips will help you make the most of this beautiful winter season. Don't hesitate to stop by the Verbier Ski Patroller’s first aid station for any information or assistance!