Minister Nikolina Angelkova: Ski patrols to ensure safety on the ski slopes

21 January 2015

An ordinance was adopted for the regulation and harmonization of the ski slope safety and the  information security in Bulgaria, announced the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova after today's meeting of the Council of Ministers which approved the regulation. The industry has been pushing for this change for nearly 2 years and the regulations will be effective next season.

"All lift operators will be responsible for setting up a ski patrol which will ensure slope-safety and provide first aid when accidents occur ", said Minister Angelkova. This will increase the safety level and will make us competitive to the progressive ski resorts in the world. Individuals with good skiing skills who have also attended first aid courses are eligible to enrol in the patrols. They will wear distinctive uniforms and will be supervising both  skiers and the markings on the ski slopes. They will be authorized to issue a warning to those who do not respect safety rules and withdraw or deactivate their lift cards. When necessary the ski patrol can report to the authorities of the Ministry of Interior.

The ordinance includes no categorization or a new regulatory regime, but outlines the general rules for the use of the ski area, the ski slopes and the ski facilities. It will increase the security and safety of the ski areas by introducing minimum requirements for skiers and the work of  the ski patrols. "We are introducing minimum requirements, yet the lift operators can introduce additional specific rules for the practice of other winter sports," said Nikolina Angelkova. This will be informed by the peculiarities and the size of the area, the terrain and by how busy the peculiar ski area is.

A classification based on the profile of the given terrain will determine the degree of a slope’s difficulty  - green (mild slope for beginners), blue (easy slope), red (medium difficult track) and black (difficult track). Information boards and warning signs will also be provided. “The tracks are marked and there are boards and signs now too, but we’ll make them identical everywhere. This will be of assistance to tourists and will help them choose the track that best corresponds to their skills ", said Minister Angelkova.

The mayor or mayors of the municipalities where the ski resort is located will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the ordinance and will appoint individuals who will be authorized to issue fines. A Committee appointed by the Minister of Tourism, will determine the different types of ski slopes according to their degree of difficulty and will monitor if safety is ensured in compliance with the regulation.

The document will also stipulate the requirements for the maintenance of the ski slopes in the winter and summer seasons; the safety measures on the slopes, how to warn against avalanche danger, etc. The ordinance on the safety and information security of the ski slopes in Bulgaria and for determining the ski-slope and ski-area safety rules as well as the work of the ski patrols, as the full name of the legal act states, is binding on the Tourism Act and will come into force on 1st October, 2015.  The full text of the ordinance is available on the website of the Ministry of Tourism in the Legislation section.

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