Going up only at the edge of the piste and one behind the other or only crossing the piste quickly in easily visible places and with sufficient distance should be a matter of course for piste tourers as well as observing warnings and closures. In order to guarantee a conflict-free coexistence of all winter sports enthusiasts on the slopes, the state of Tyrol has developed a guidance system for piste tours together with the cable car industry. More and more ski areas rely on this guidance system and offer their own ascent routes for piste tourers.
“Our initiative is taking effect. There are now eleven ski areas in Tyrol in which the piste tour guidance system is used and makes an important contribution to the disentanglement of ascending ski mountaineers and descending skiers, ”says a delighted Sportlandesrat LHStv Josef Geisler. The nationwide uniformly designed signs mark the optimal and safest ascent lane in the area. The orange signs not only show the route, but also provide information about the difficulty, distance and altitude of a tour.
The guidance system was developed five years ago as part of the “Safe & Fair piste tours” campaign. The Patscherkofel, the Rosshütte ski area in Seefeld and the Pitztal Glacier were pioneers and were the first to implement the system. The number of ski areas that rely on visitor management has now grown to eleven and in the greater Innsbruck area includes the Patscherkofel and the Rosshütte as well as the Mutterer Alm and Axamer Lizum. In the Imst district, the piste tour guidance system is used on the Pitztal Glacier and the Hochzeiger. The St. Johann mountain railways are in the Kitzbühel district, and Hochfügen has recently been included in the Schwaz district. This winter there are additional offers on the Bichlalm and Gaisberg in Kitzbühel as well as on the Glungezer. The preparatory work is currently in progress.
In most of the ski areas, ski tourers can choose from various ascent routes of varying degrees of difficulty. In Axamer Lizum, a new route has been signposted this year along the Herrenabfahrt, the Kitzbühel cable cars start with three ascent routes on the Bichlalm and on the Gaisberg. Interested ski area operators are supported by experts in the planning and implementation of routes and signage.
In total, more than 20 ascent routes will be signposted in the eleven participating ski areas this winter. “The state of Tyrol has supported the signposting through the program 'Bergwelt Tirol - Experience Together' together with the respective tourism associations with more than 50,000 euros. Our common goal is safe and fair cooperation on the slopes. However, guidance systems alone are not enough, ”said LHStv Josef Geisler once again referring to compliance with the recommendations for piste touring based on the FIS rules of conduct and to mutual consideration.
Tirol-Werbung managing director Florian Phleps also points out: “More and more people are on touring skis, and ski touring in particular has been experiencing a sustained upward trend among locals and day visitors from neighboring regions for years. This year Corona has reinforced this trend again. However, certain rules are required in order to ensure that we are as conflict-free as possible on the slopes. The motto must be: direct and equalize. I am therefore pleased that a growing number of ski areas are relying on the guidance system. At the same time, I appeal to athletes to observe rules of conduct and recommendations. This means that piste touring can still be practiced safely and properly. "
Correct behavior when crossing the slopes is the subject of the current video clip of the awareness campaign of “Bergwelt Tirol - experience together”. If slope crossings are necessary, they should be done quickly and with a lot of distance from one another. Flat sections and clear places should be used for crossings. There is a risk of collision with crests and curves.