The Danger of Collisions on the Piste. The Latest Risk Warnings for Skiers and Snowboarders

DANGERS ON THE PISTE. Why backcountry skiers would rather risk avalanche than the danger of injury on the pistes with the holiday hordes and the out-of-control freaks

Flags warnings of Piste Collision Risk have been created with Risks from 1-5 according to the number of skiers or snowboarders and the twat factor...

Risk of Collisions on the Piste

Risk LevelPiste SafetyFlagCollision Risk
1-Low Pistes are generally very stable ie it's not school half-term or holidays, the sun's not shining and only locals are out. Collisions are unlikely except when studipity is applied on a very few extremely narrow or icy slopes. Any spontaneous collisions will be minor bumps. Hands shaken, no harm done. In general, safe conditions.
2-Moderate On some more popular slopes the piste is only moderately stable eg on Sunday afternoons when kids are not in lessons and parents inbibe too much at lunchtime. Elsewhere it is very stable. Collisions may be triggered when heavy (fat) punters are applied, with slob collisions especially on a few generally identified steep or narrow slopes. Expect red faces, some swearing. Large spontaneous pile ups are not expected.
3-Considerable On many more crowded slopes the piste is only moderately or weakly safe because last-one-down's-a-wanker. Yes it's the holidays! Collisions may be triggered on many pistes even if only light out-of-control stupidity is applied. Blood wagons likely. Collison Risk antenna has been switched off because it's 'only' Risk 3. On some pistes, medium or even fairly large spontaneous collisions may occur.
4-High On most crowded slopes the piste is not very safe at all mainly because it's the holidays, the sun's out, jackets are flying and poles helicoptering. The out-of-control freaks have arrived! Collisions are likely to be triggered on many pistes and even at lift queues. Blood wagons inevitable. Also legal actions. On some pistes, many medium or sometimes large spontaneous collisions are likely.
4-Very High Incoming! From left, right, uphill, downhill. The pistes are generally unsafe because it's Jerry* Christmas and New Year's Mayhem - also Twat Friday at the end of a week's skiing during the holidays. Even on beginner pistes, many large spontaneous collisions are likely to occur. In fact, expect carnage as fists fly, children cry, hospital A&E departments overflow. Best advice, head for the backcountry hills.


*Jerry - American for clueless twat, Also gaper / joey. Entertaining to watch, see Jerry of the Day, but a high risk to encounter.


'A growing body of research suggests that people unconsciously use simple rules of thumb, or heuristics, to navigate the routine complexities of modern life.' It was in 2018 that Luke Owit of the Pisteurs' Acadamy adapted Ian McCammon's internationally recognised observation with regards to avalanches to suggest the heuristic traps that also occur in recreational piste accidents.

But unlike avalanches, NO piste collisons are accidents of nature, they are ALL accidents of stupidity / lack of control / twatness.

The common traps are:

'I'm a good skier or snowboarder, I won't have a collision.'

The trap: Optimism.

Never underestimate the Jerry's ability to collide on the pistes. However good you are, you can still be a victim. It just takes one punter with Twat-itude.

'It's only Piste Collision Risk 3 today, I'll be safe'

The trap: Complacence.

Most Piste Collisions occur when you think it's safe. Just because it's a Saturday, change-over day, Piste Collision Risk 3 ie Moderate doesn't mean there's NO risk. So beware Twaturdays and also,low vis which may mean fewer punters BUT, also, you won't see the Jerry hurtling your way (note the 'hurt' in hurtling?).

'I've skied this piste loads and never seen any collisions.'

The trap: Familiarity.

Just because it hasn't happened, doesn't mean it won't. For instance, most pistes go downhill so you wouldn't expect to see a Jerry skiing uphill towards you. Right? Well, watch the video, below:


When you're on the piste these are the Jerry Jones 5 RED Flags, warnings of possible collisons, to look out for:

1st Red Flag: Hordes out for the holidays.

2nd Red Flag: Moguls forming and an icy patch - or two.

3rd Red Flag: Groups of whooping teenagers. On blades.

4th Red Flag: Groups of whooping Russians. On Vladivar.

5th Red Flag: Signs of recent carnage. Children crying. Men punching each other. Bloody noses. Blood wagons.



  1. Always wear a brain bucket AKA helmet at all times, also padding to soften collision impact.
  2. Stay on the outside of the piste making narrow turns to avoid piste-roving punters.
  3. Always stand at the side of the piste or below 'slow down' markers. Better still, just keep going telling friends you'll see them at the bottom.
  4. Never be exposed in lift queues to the downhill Jerrys; put a few large Germans between you and that icy patch just before the lift.
  5. It's ALWAYS the uphill skier's or snowboarder's fault if a collison occurs which means you need eyes in the back of your head to see them. Wing mirrors may help.
  6. Never see a snaking line of ski school kids and think 'if I go fast enough I can ski / board through them'.
  7. On really busy punter days avoid the pistes altogether. It's why God created skins for skis and splitboards.

For Piste Collision Awareness courses contact: