The FIS rules apply to all skiers (and snowboarders, but hereby referred to as skier, with a section of extra rules for snowboarders and instructors). The skier is obliged to be familiar with them and to respect them. If he/she fails to do so, his/her behaviour could expose him/her to civil and criminal liability in the event of an accident. They are used as the basis for assessing liability in legal cases involving skiing accidents and injuries.
A skier must behave in such a way that he does not endanger or prejudice others.
Commentary: Skiers are responsible not only for their own behaviour but also for any defective equipment. This also applies to those using newly developed equipment.
2: Control of Speed and Skiing
A skier must ski in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of skiing to his personal ability and to the prevailing conditions of terrain, snow and weather as well as the density of traffic.
Commentary: Collisions usually happen because skiers are travelling too fast, out of control or have failed to see others. A skier must be able to stop turn and move within the ability of his own vision. In crowded areas or places where visibility is reduced, skiers must ski slowly, especially at the edge of a steep slope, at the bottom of a piste and within areas surrounding ski lifts.
A skier coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers ahead.
Commentary: Skiing is a free activity sport where everyone may ski as and where they please, provided that they abide by these rules and adapt their skiing to their own personal ability and to the prevailing conditions on the mountain. The skier in front has priority. The skier skiing behind another in the same direction must keep sufficient distance between himself and the other skier so as to leave the preceding skier enough space to make all his movements freely.
A skier may overtake another skier above or below and to the right or the left, provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.
Commentary: A skier who overtakes another is wholly responsible for completing that manoeuvre in such a way as to cause no difficulty to the skier being overtaken. This responsibility rests with him until the overtaking manoeuvre has been completed. This rule applies even when overtaking a stationary skier.
A skier entering a marked run or starting again after stopping must look up and down the run to make sure he can do so without endangering himself or others.
Commentary: Experience proves that joining a piste or starting to ski again after stopping are the sources of accidents. It is absolutely essential that a skier finding himself in this situation enters the piste safely and without causing an obstruction or danger to himself or others. When he has started skiing properly again – even slowly – he has the benefit of rule 3 as against faster skiers coming from above or behind.
Unless absolutely necessary, a skier must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where the visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier must move clear of the piste as soon as possible.
Commentary: Except on wide pistes, stops must be made at the side of the piste. One must not stop in narrow places or where it is difficult to be seen from above.
7: Climbing and Descending on Foot
Both a skier climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.
Commentary: Moving against the general direction poses unexpected obstacles for the skiers. Footprints damage the piste and can cause danger to skiers.
8: Respect for Signals and Markings
A skier must respect all signs and markings.
Commentary: The degree of difficulty of a piste is indicated as black, red, blue or green. A skier is free to choose whichever piste he wants. The pistes are also marked with other signs showing direction or giving warnings of danger or closure. A sign closing a piste, like one denoting danger, must be strictly observed. Skiers should be aware that warning signs are posted in their own interest.
At accidents, every skier is duty-bound to assist.
Commentary: It is a cardinal principle for all sportsmen that they should render assistance following an accident, independent of any legal obligation to do so. Immediate first-aid should be given, the appropriate authorities alerted and the place of the accident marked to warn other skiers. FIS hopes that a hit-and-run offence in skiing will incur a criminal conviction similar to a hit-and-run offence on the road and those equivalent penalties will be imposed by all countries where such legislation is not already in force.
Every skier or witness, whether a responsible party or not, must exchange names and addresses following an accident.
Commentary: Witnesses are of great importance in establishing a full and proper report of an accident, and therefore everybody must consider that it is his duty as a responsible person to provide information as a witness. Reports of the rescue service and of the police as well as photographs are of considerable assistance in determining civil and criminal liability.
Additional Rules for Snowboarders
I cannot find a FIS reference for these
2: Always place your board face-down on the snow when it is not in use.
3: Always look around when turning especially on your blind side.
4: Do not assume because you can ski you can snowboard, take lessons.
Not actual rules but should still be observed
1: Falling while on a lift: if you fall off a drag lift, move off the track as quickly as possible to avoid obstructing the path of following skiers.
2: Getting off lifts: after leaving a lift, immediately move well out of the exit area before stopping or gathering into a group.
Additional Rules for Instructors
1: The ski schools, instructors and guides must teach pupils how to ski safely, which means teaching the technique of skiing and the rules of conduct for skiers.
2: The ski schools are responsible for placing their pupils into different classes according to their standard of skiing.
3: The ski schools, instructors and guides must never allow their pupils to take any risk beyond their capability especially taking into account the snow and weather conditions.
4: The instructors must remind their pupils that during instruction they have no particular priority on the piste and that they should at all times respect the rules of conduct of skiers.