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Snowsports

FS120457

(Published Jan 2017 replacing Skiing FS120457 Nov 2011 and Snowboarding FS120458 Nov 2011)

What are snowsports?

Snowsports include:

Skiing - all snowsports on two skis or blades.

  • Downhill skiing (also known as alpine skiing) is the most common form of recreational skiing and uses alpine, telemark or touring skiing equipment.
  • Cross country skiing (also known as langlauf or nordic skiing) is the travel over snowy terrain, including flat and uphill terrain. It uses different equipment and techniques to downhill skiing.
  • Ski touring is a form of skiing across open country, walking uphill on skis as well as skiing downhill. Typically ski touring takes place off-piste.

Snowboarding - all snowsports on a single board (including splitboards).

Snowsports can take place on natural or artificial slopes, flat snow covered terrain or in specialist snowparks.

Note: Permits are not required for skiing and snowboarding activities on artificial slopes or nursery slopes.

Note: other winter sports are listed; these activities when taking place On Piste and Off Piste in Terrain 1 and Terrain 2 would fall within the management of the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme.

What is a snowsports permit?

The Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme is designed to ensure that only people with the relevant skills and experience lead adventurous activities for the young people. Therefore all activities classed as adventurous can only be led by someone holding the appropriate permit. Additionally young people (under 18) can take part in adventurous activities for themselves with personal activity permits.

A snowsports permit is required for all snowsports activities (as defined above), except those that take place on artificial slopes or nursery slopes.

Levels of permit

There are three types of permit available for snowsports. These are:

  • On Piste
  • Off Piste – Terrain 1
  • Off Piste – Terrain 2

Those wanting to gain an Off Piste Snowsports permit must first hold the relevant Terrain 1 or Terrain 2 Winter Hillwalking Permit. The skills assessed for the snowsports elements will be the same for both Terrain 1 and Terrain 2 and the assessor may not issue a permit to a higher level than held for winter hillwalking.  

Additionally, each of these permits can be further restricted (such as through geographical locations, type of activity/equipment, ski and/or snowboard run grade, etc.) to end up with an individual permit to the level of the competence and requirements of any person.

Types of permit

There are three types of permit available for snowsports. These are:

  • Personal – Allows a young person (under 18) to take part in skiing and/or snowboarding with others with a personal snowsports permit.
  • Leadership – Allows the permit holder to lead skiing and/or snowboarding for a single group.
  • Supervisory – Allows the permit holder to remotely supervise more than one skiing and/or snowboarding group.

Permit limitations

  • Personal – If you hold a personal snowsports permit you can go skiing and/or snowboarding with others who hold a personal snowsports permit. It does not allow you to go skiing and/or snowboarding with anyone not holding a snowsports permit.
  • Leadership – If you have a permit to lead snowsports then you can look after a maximum of 12 skiers or 8 snowboarders at a time, subject to any restrictions on your permit, and you need to remain with your group at all times. Where the group is mixed skiers and snowboarders then the maximum group size is 8; however where there are no more than 4 snowboarders in a mixed group, the group size can be increased to 12. For off piste activities the group must be no less than 4 people and no more than 8.
  • Supervisory – If you hold a permit to supervise snowsports then you can supervise up to three groups remotely. This should be from no further away than 3km. You should also ensure that adequate systems have been set up to monitor and communicate with the groups. You remain responsible for all the groups you are supervising, but designate someone with the appropriate skills to be the leader of each group.

Designations

When remotely supervising groups the holder of a snowsports supervisory permit needs to designate a leader for each group. This designation lasts only for the current activity while the permit holder is supervising.

People designated as group leaders should hold the skills and be responsible enough to lead a group safely in the environment in which they are. There is no problem with making young people group leaders if they are up to the role, and it can be used as a useful development tool. Consideration needs to be made as to where the supervisor is positioned and how they are contacted during these activities.

Further definitions

Permit exemptions – As described in POR rule 9.33, it is possible to get short term personal permit exemptions. These are designed for use while on snowsports holidays and getting instruction from professional instructors, to allow personal practice at a suitable level while away from the instructors (i.e. instruction every morning, personal practice every afternoon).

They can only be given for on piste - personal, not leading or supervising, and last for the length of the holiday (maximum of one week).

Exemption can only be given with agreement from both a snowsports instructor (minimum qualification BASI Level 2 Instructor in the appropriate discipline, equivalent or higher) and the young person’s responsible leader. It must limit the level to which the young person can ski or snowboard based on the technical input of the instructor and a personal suitability check by the Leader.

Snowparks – Also known as terrain parks; snowparks are areas which have been designed for skiers and snowboarders to do freestyle skiing/snowboarding which can include aerial flips and spins or sliding along rails.