Winter sports standards on and around the ski slopes

Winter sports standards on and around the ski slopes

Just a few more weeks to go before the winter sports season kicks off again. Alpine skiers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers will again enjoy a great holiday in the numerous European ski resorts. Standards contribute to the safety and comfort of these ski holidays.

An ideal winter-sports day

Today the Smith family got up early. After a hearty breakfast in their apartment in the Swiss Alps, they jumped into their car and headed for the valley station of their skiing resort. It has been snowing a lot over the past few days, but thanks to the work of the snow ploughs (NBN EN 15583), the roads are all clear and they advance smoothly between the walls of snow. The slopes are looking fabulous!

From the valley station the family take the cableway (NBN EN 12929 and NBN EN 13223) to reach the higher slopes. When they arrive at the top there is not a cloud in the sky; the intense sunlight is reflected on the snow white slopes, so they all put on their ski goggles (NBN EN 174). On this December day it is bitterly cold, well below freezing point. But they are well protected against the cold with their gloves (NBN EN 511) and ski suits (NBN EN 342).

Mom and the daughter of six put on their skis and step onto a conveyor belt (NBN EN 15700) that takes them comfortably to the start of a gentle green slope, where Nathalie is able to put her first skiing lessons into practice. Dad and ten year old Stephen take a number of ski lifts to reach some of the more challenging slopes. At the top they spot the snowmobile of the rescue crew on standby to assist injured skiers. The crew all wear a special helmet (NBN EN 13781). Dad buckles his ski boots and checks his ski bindings (ISO 9462 and ISO 8061), while Stephen straps into his snowboard bindings (ISO 14573). They both put on their ski helmets (NBN EN 1077) and spent the whole morning exploring different blue and red slopes.

At noon the family comes together on a large terrace for a drink and a snack. A local DJ gets everyone in the mood, under a bright blue sky. Life is good!

Suddenly they hear the roar of a helicopter overhead: it is an air ambulance (NBN EN 13718), probably summoned to transport an injured skier quickly to hospital. Maybe it might be wise to avoid the steep black slopes today?

In the afternoon they return to the slopes. Later on, while little Nathalie is enjoying a hot chocolate with dad in the cosy après-ski bar, mum and Stephen take the ski lift one last time for a final descent. Time flies… In the evening they reflect on a great day while enjoying a Swiss fondue. As night falls, they notice through the windows the bright lights of the snow groomers (NBN EN 15059) as they prepare the slopes for another perfect day.

The following standards contributed to this fine skiing day

  • NBN EN 174 Personal eye-protection – Ski goggles for downhill skiing
  • NBN EN 342 Protective clothing - Ensembles and garments for protection against cold
  • NBN EN 511 Protective gloves against cold
  • NBN EN 1077 Helmets for alpine skiers and snowboarders
  • NBN EN 12929 Safety requirements for cableway installations designed to carry persons – General requirements – Part 1: Requirements for all installations
  • NBN EN 13223 Safety requirements for cableway installations designed to carry persons – Drive systems and other mechanical equipment
  • NBN EN 13718 Medical vehicles and their equipment – Air ambulances
  • NBN EN 13781 Protective helmets for drivers and passengers of snowmobiles and bobsleighs
  • NBN EN 15059 Snow grooming equipment – Safety requirements
  • NBN EN 15583 Winter maintenance equipment – Snow ploughs
  • NBN EN 15700 Safety for conveyor belts for winter sport or leisure use
  • ISO 8061 Alpine ski-bindings – Selection of release torque values
  • ISO 9462 Alpine ski-bindings – Requirements and test methods
  • ISO 14573 Snowboard strap bindings for soft boots – Requirements and test methods

Did you know that standards play such a part on and around the ski slopes? And there are many more…

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