The Tignes Ski Patrol oversees and coordinates various aspects of ski area operations: grooming, artificial snow production, slope preparation, safety and security, signage, avalanche control, local weather and snow forecasts, and all first aid, search and rescue, and avalanche missions.
For more information on the work of the various professionals on our team, including ski patrol, rescue coordination, snowmaking and grooming, as well as safety tips, please visit our web site at www.tignes.net.
Following a rescue operation, the person receiving assistance will be directed to ski patrol headquarters to pay the intervention fee.
SKI PATROL HEADQUARTERS -DISPATCH ZONE
Ski patrol headquarters is the central point of operations, the nerve centre where rescue alerts are received from skiers who witness accidents, lift operators, or firefighters.
The emergency number is listed on the ski piste map +33 479063200
Dispatchers are always listening to the emergency radio network. Alerts are transmitted to the rescue station of the appropriate sector. The ski patrollers then take charge of the injured in the field (an average of 20 interventions per day during the season). Depending on the severity of the injury, the dispatcher will call for an ambulance, or, in the event of a life-threatening injury, find a medical helicopter through the regional rescue system, a specialised helicopter for particularly difficult evacuations, or a station doctor if a helicopter flight is not possible. In major rescue operations (avalanches, crevasse rescues, and cliff falls), every minute counts and many people are involved. Headquarters is in constant contact, sending reinforcements and equipment, informing the authorities, and managing the administrative side and the intervention report.
IS THERE A CHARGE FOR FIRST AID AND RESCUE OPERATIONS AND WHAT IS THE FEE?
Rescue, provided free of charge, is a fundamental principle in France. However, with the development of Alpine skiing, the financial burden was becoming increasingly heavy for municipalities, responsible for the organisation of rescue operations in their regions. The “Mountain Law” authorised them to bill for the costs of ski area rescue operations (on- and off-piste areas accessible by gravity from the highest point of the ski lift).
Each municipality sets its own rates for first aid and rescue services, according to the sector where the rescue takes place and the means deployed: rescuer interventions, ambulance or helicopter transport, and the medical means required, depending on injury severity. Costs can range from several hundred to several thousand euros at Tignes.
CHOOSING INSURANCE COVERAGE
Rescue and ambulance fees associated with ski accidents are never covered by the French social security system, so it’s important to choose appropriate and comprehensive insurance that includes reimbursement of rescue costs incurred on- and off-piste, search operations, individual and liability insurance (involuntary third-party loss or damage), legal coverage, reimbursement of unused ski passes, excess hospital charges, and repatriation assistance.
It’s best to take out an insurance policy with specific ski coverage. At Tignes, some advantages of the insurance policies sold with the ski pass, or other ski cards/permits are that policy holders are not responsible for out-of-pocket costs (direct coverage by the insurer) and they contribute funding directly to resort ski clubs.