Alpine Safety Code


Skiing is a wonderful sport. It involves many people sliding in different directions on a slippery surface. There are some universally recognized rules to maximize the enjoyment and minimize the risks of injuries through the interaction of all those skiers. These basics rules are often printed on lift tickets. Part of the education of skiers involves understanding those basic rules that can be called Alpine (skier or boarder) safety code. They are often referred to as Responsibility Code or Etiquette.


I don’t think that the word etiquette is a strong enough word. Often we associate etiquette to how we should use our knife in a restaurant. It is often just a matter of preference if we put it on the side of the plate between usage or not. However the safety rule goes much further. The safety rule means that we don’t want to harm our neighbour. We should not plant our knife in our neighbour’s body.


Those rules are presented in a variety of ways and often with different emphasis, however the main rule that is always present and is considered the most important:

 People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

It is easy to understand that the skier ahead of you does not have some rear view mirror and that she/he should concentrate on looking where he/she is going for his own safety and the safety of the skiers below. The skier from behind sees the whole situation and can take the necessary corrections even if it involves changing his/her desired path or speed.


I recently lived a difficult experience that left me with sore knees and a sore spot on my left ankle. I finally was well enough to gently try my aching body parts. I did not even make it to Mother Load. While doing gentle turns on the slope towards the chair once passed Main Run, I was hit with such violence that I was suddenly airborne without skis. The projectile that hit me was further down the hill. He was a mature person, with a season’s pass. He was polite enough to say his name when asked (however I won’t divulge it not to embarrass him). The scariest part is that this mature person could not realize that it was HIS responsibility to avoid me. He was finding all kinds of mitigating factors anyway as he said our skis barely clipped.


The factors: I was doing gentle turns at a relatively low speed. It was not a bullet attacking him at an angle. I was well below him. I was very visible. I have a very bright green jacket so that my wife who is legally blind can follow me more easily. There was probably nobody else on the slope around us.


The intensity of the contact: I weight 185 pounds and I was projected down the hill right out of my bindings. Through my jacket and two sweaters the skin was scraped off my left forearm near the elbow for a length of about 10 cm. The impact continued to my ribcage with the result that I won’t be able to sleep on that side for quite a while and my movement is limited. I feel very fortunate that my left forearm absorbed much of the impact (probably his ski pole) otherwise I might have had a perforated lung. Imagine the same impact on a much lighter young kid.


What is the scariest is that this skier never learned anything from that experience. Many parents are thinking twice about hockey because of the physical dangers. I know many people who are thinking twice about skiing because of the numerous skiers like the one who did hit me.




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Thanks for your article Paul.You have garnered the most votes I've ever seen on any topic so that's great. The skier who hit you is totally at fault and liable for all your injuries.  I would highly recommend you take cannabis oil, the phoenix tears   type  as researched by Rick Simpson   and watch the youtube video "Run from the Cure"

Why so many thumbs down???

Is it because I dared to talk about what is currently not talked about "Prostate Cancer"?

Is it because I want to start a prostate cancer support group?

Is it because I dared to imply that totally freely you could make a donation towards prostate cancer?

Is it because I created a logical link between the last two most important events in my life?

Is it because I imply that my life expectations might be limited?

When I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer I immediately went to the Trail Library to get some information on Prostate Cancer: Not a single book on prostate cancer.

I have already founded two non profit societies in my community. What do you think would be the best way for me to increase awareness about prostate cancer without more people being annoyed by my tentative communications? (more thumbs down than thumbs up).

I just want to help. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that would guide me ina more efficient direction.

Thanks for the feedback

Paul Picard


From skiing to incurable cancer and movember moustache

Yes what a string of events!!!

Just after facing and accepting the possibility of imminent death, spending a minus 12 night in the woods with wet clothing, I am bowled over on a splendid sunny day by the only other skier on that beginner slope. I was not aware at the moment that this was just the beginning of a string of events.

Because I had been rescued by helicopter by our excellent search and rescue team, I had to see my family doctor for a routine medical checkup. This included a blood test. Fortunately for me my doctor did put a checkmark for PSA test (prostate specific antigen… the best marker in the blood for potential problems with the prostate)

This did set up a process where I quickly learned that I had an incurable prostate cancer that had already heavily metastasised to most bones of my body. For those who know a little bit about this topic, my PSA was 560 (anything over 5 might indicate some problems) when I started my treatments and there were 30+ bone metastases. The reports never bothered to count them they just used the term “innumerable”.

I am doing fine. I am receiving various drugs that currently keep me alive with a good quality of life.

That ski accident when I was bowled over under ideal conditions made me very fearful about skiing again knowing that I had numerous little pack man eating up my bones.

Currently I am very thankful that there are some new drugs and treatments that extend my life with very good quality of life.

I am aware that I will probably have a limited number of November, I registered to the Movember movement where I will grow a mustache in November to raise some funds for men’s health.

More than the actual positive effects of each of those contributions, my main goal is to increase the awareness (which I definitely did not have) about how serious is the problem of Prostate Cancer. This is the deadliest cancer in men after lung cancer.

You can donate to my Movember page at :

I would also like to start a  prostate cancer support group for the Trail/Rossland area. I would invite all local people dealin with prostate cancer to contact me for a coffee. Since my number of years are definitely limited one of my goals would be to put in place some volunteers who could keep this going once I am not there.

Regards, Paul Picard