Don’t worry if you didn’t get the headline, it is just part of the new French government campaign to make skiers and boarders aware of the dangers on the slopes this winter.
The campaign, run by the Ministry of Sports, has seen 250 signs fixed on lifts and 10,000 handouts distributed in 55 ski stations. According to the Minister the messages “are simple and understandable by all”, which begs the question why they have to translate “Priorité au skieur aval” to “skieur situé en dessous” in their own press release. Of course this is not to be confused with skieur situé en dessus. Hmmm, still puzzled? Well over 50% of French people we questionned couldn’t explain the differences.
So, given that 50,812 people were injured in French ski resorts in the 2002/03 season, figures that are pretty much static and that this is the 8th season the government has run the campaign it would seem that the Minister is in need of some plain French, not to mention English for the 3 million non-francophone tourists.
Kill your speed, not a skier
Basically the message is a simple and important one, here are some translations for people who are not members of the Academie Française:
Maîtrisez votre vitesse - Control your speed
Priorité au skieur aval - Give way to the skier below
Le port du casque - wear a helmet, particularly young skiers
A number of insurers, including the popular Carte Neige have terms in the contract to restrict pay-out if the skier or boarder has ignored local restrictions or safety rules.
Last year the SNOSM, part of the French Ecole Nationale du Ski et d’Alpinisme, recorded 46 deaths in ski domains. 25 due to injuries, including 1 walker and 1 sledger. There was one injury for every 11,300 lift journeys. 17 people were killed off-piste, 9 through avalanches and 1 to hypothermia. 3 deaths were caused by collisions. So let’s all be careful out there this season.