Did you know you could get fined for these ski misdemeanors?

ski patroller in red jacket holds out skis (in front of patrol hut) that read danger

Skiing can be an expensive sport without the unexpected extras such as ski fines for rules you might not have known existed. Were you aware of the €2,000 fine for wearing ski boots out-of-hours in one Austrian resort, or the €15,000 fine for triggering an avalanche in France, or $500 for sharing your ski pass in Colorado.

VIP Ski has collated a list of international ski rules that could land you with a hefty fine next season. Make sure you’re in the know, so you can avoid committing one of these ski misdemeanours…


Italy was the first country to insist on winter sports travel insurance for anyone skiing its resorts’ slopes. Skiing without insurance is, since 2022, a fine-able offence (though we’re yet to hear first-hand of it being imposed) as well as risking losing your lift pass.

It is, however, an easy fix, with sports insurance an easily added supplement to your ski pass when buying/collecting at the ticket office (around €12 for the week). Winter sports cover is required for skiing, snowboarding and even tobogganing in Italy, whilst it’s not for cross-country skiing.

  • Children not wearing a helmet risk a fine of €100 to €150

In Italy, a ski helmet is compulsory for anyone under 18 years old.

  • Skiing out of bounds in conservation areas

If you’re caught skiing off-piste in Italy’s nature conservation areas, designed to protect wildlife and prevent avalanches, you risk a hefty fine.

  • Speeding fines

You can be fined as well as have your lift passes confiscated for skiing or snowboarding too fast on Italian ski slopes.


  • Drunk skiing

The Colorado Ski Safety Act states you can be fined up to $1,000 if caught on a lift or ski run while under the influence of alcohol

  • Ski pass sharing

In Colorado you can be fined for lending someone your ski pass. Violators can expect to pay $500 for “Deceptive Use of a Ski Facility”.

  • Backcountry rescue

In Steamboat Springs Colorado, skiers can be charged up to $500 per person if they need rescuing in the backcountry or off-piste (which is said to cost an average of $1,000 per hour in the USA).

  • Ski hit and runs

Leaving the scene of a ski or snowboard crash could land you with a $500 fine and community service in the state of Colorado, home to some of America’s best known ski areas including Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Telluride (among its 40-or-so ski resorts).

  • Ski helmets compulsory

In New Jersey there is a governmental fine of $25 for ignoring the compulsory ski helmet rules.


  • Ischgl’s infamous ski boot ban

In 2016 the mayor of Ischgl resort in Austria introduced a €2,000 fine for people walking around the village in their ski boots. The boot ban is between 8pm and 6am – a rule introduced in an attempt to curb the après scene and intense partying in the well known Tirolean resort.

  • Ski pass sharing

In Austria, like many countries, it is considered a serious crime to give someone else your lift pass and it could land you with a fine in the thousands.

Skiers in orange and pink ski jackets ride the chairlift, going over the pylon with a no-smoking sign attached. This is Les Gets, France
Les Gets’ smoking ban on ski slopes and lifts


  • Avalanche triggering

If you trigger an avalanche during an off-piste session in France, you could be fined up to €15,000 and imprisoned for up to a year. 

Although there are various examples of skiers prosecuted in recent years, the skiers and snowboarders responsible for the fatal avalanches were in violation of the off-piste ski code – so make sure you know you’re clued up (don’t ignore warnings and consider taking a guide if you’re not sure!).

  • No-go, out of bounds skiing

Skiers caught in French nature reserves like Plan de Tuèda above Méribel could be fined €135. 

  • Smoking ban

Skiers caught smoking on the slopes or lifts of Les Gets can be fined since the 2022 smoking ban was introduced in an effort to clean up cigarette butts. 

  • Ignoring the skiway code

Pisteurs in France have the right to confiscate your pass for anything from skiing dangerously to ignoring trail markings or not following ski etiquette.

Do you know the FIS-derived guidelines and ski etiquette?


  • Speed school

In Whistler, Canada, if you are skiing too fast or dangerously, they can confiscate your lift pass or even make you go to a skiing speed awareness session.


  • Ducking ropes

Unlike in Europe, Japan has strict rules about skiing out of resort boundaries. Duck a rope and you’ll risk having your pass pulled by patrol for breaking the boundary rules. Side and backcountry skiing must be accessed via ‘gates’ – which are essentially breaks in the rope lining the ski area.

Following common ski etiquette should help you avoid most fines and ski safely. But the more unusual ones are worth keeping an eye out for… Some surprised us here at Fall Line.