Varnost pri zimskih doživetjih na snegu

Safety in the snow

How can you stay safe during outdoor winter activities?

    Safe adventures in the snow

    Winter snow adventures are a delight, but they can also get us into trouble if we ignore safety precautions. How can you enjoy the snow safely?

    Slovenia is an Alpine country whose glacial valleys, plateaus and mountains are blanketed with snow in winter, offering many opportunities for snow activities. Fans of winter adventures rejoice in the newly fallen snow, leaving the shelter of their homes to rush towards new pleasures in the snow. But it’s easy to forget about safety when you’re having fun in the snow, with your heart rate speeding up and your body full of adrenaline, while you’re surrounded by the enchanting landscape.


    If you want to have fond memories of your outdoor winter activities, you should not underestimate nature and overestimate your abilities. All activities in nature should be undertaken carefully and responsibly, even more so in winter, when conditions are much more demanding.


    How can you stay safe…

    Turno smučanje v Sloveniji

    Ski touring
    Photo: Iztok Medja

    … when ski touring?

    Ski touring is becoming increasingly popular among winter sports enthusiasts, but you should keep in mind that skiing off-piste can be challenging, dangerous and risky, requiring special equipment as well as thorough preparations, knowledge and experience.


    Before climbing to the top of the slope from where you’ll ski, you should plan your tour in detail, using specialised guidebooks, maps and websites, and in particular, first-hand information from ski tourers who have already skied on these slopes. Remember to check the weather forecast, the thickness of the snow cover, and the snow avalanche danger level. Once you’re on the slopes, always be aware of the weather, as conditions in the mountains can change suddenly and you might experience wind gusts, low visibility, precipitation and dropping temperatures. Pay attention to the stability of the snow cover and avoid suspicious and potentially dangerous areas. If you have any doubts, dig a hole in the snow to see how the layers are composed. The level of danger is higher when there is an ice crust underneath fresh snow, or when the ice crust covers uncompacted snow.


    You need to be well prepared physically to ski tour, since both climbing and skiing take a lot of energy. Bring energy-rich foods and drinks to stave off fatigue and loss of concentration.


    In addition to touring skis, you’ll need equipment that could save your life if you get injured or caught in a snow avalanche. Standard equipment includes an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe, a first aid kit, a bivouac bag and a mobile phone for emergency calls, GPS navigation and other essential mobile apps. An avalanche airbag will also increase your odds of surviving an avalanche. It is important to learn how to use the equipment and to check if it works before setting off.


    Rather than alone, ski touring should be undertaken in a small group of up to six people, but it is important that skiers keep their distance from each other, as this reduces the load on the snow cover. You should also keep a distance of at least thirty meters from other skiers when going downhill and avoid falling, as this can also increase the pressure on the snow cover.

    Deskanje na snegu

    Photo: Aljaž Sedovšek

    … on groomed pistes?

    Are you a fan of alpine skiing or snowboarding, eager to ski on well-groomed slopes of fresh snow? While Slovenia boasts many fine ski resorts where safety is well taken care of and rescuers are always present, you alone can best ensure your own safety. Start training before the ski season starts, strengthening your body by exercising at home, in the gym or outdoors. Before you go skiing, make sure you have the right equipment and that it’s in good condition. We recommend that you wear a ski helmet, which is mandatory for children up to and including the age of 14. If you’re a beginner or have doubts about your skills because it’s been a while since you last skied, join a ski school at one of the major ski resorts. Skiing techniques change as new types of skis are developed, so it’s good to master them before you find yourself on the top of a slope with a pair of new skis. You need to get down the slope in one piece. You’re well-prepared and confident, but once you start zigzagging down a snowy mountainside, remember to be considerate to other skiers so you don’t endanger them or yourself. Adjust your speed to the skiers around you, the conditions on the piste and, above all, your skill level. Keep a sufficient distance from others, do not stop in the middle of a slope and help anyone who gets into trouble.

    Zimsko pohodništvo v Sloveniji

    Winter hiking
    Photo: Iztok Medja

    … when hiking in winter?

    One way to enjoy the snow-covered nature is winter hiking, which can be undertaken by almost anyone. But even a less demanding walk through a snowy valley or in lower mountains may lead to an accident due to inadequate gear and lack of preparation. Before you set off hiking in the snow, get waterproof hiking boots, gaiters to prevent snow from getting in, and outdoor clothing that will protect you against wind, cold and moisture. Walking on snow is more demanding than walking on dry ground, so it may exhaust you sooner and add time to the hike. If the snow cover is soft, snowshoes will be of great help, but if the snow is icy and packed, you’ll be better off using micro crampons, which will help you avoid falling and injuring yourself. Micro crampons are not suitable for mountains – you should use 12-tooth crampons and an ice axe.


    It is recommended that you don’t hike in the mountains alone in winter. When planning a tour, keep in mind that winter days are short, so set off early. Choose a trail that suits the abilities of all the hikers in your group. Check the weather forecast, the thickness and condition of the snow cover and the current level of avalanche danger. Avalanche risk is highest for at least three days after heavy snowfall or thaws, so it’s better to stay at home during this time or hike in areas that are rated as safe. Be careful not to get lost, as snow can conceal paths and trail blazes.