Skiing is enjoyed by many millions of people throughout the world as, above all, a recreational sport. It allows those participating to carry out an incredible variety of movements using simple methods, whether on skis or a snowboard.
At a time of year when sunshine is rare, the skier leaves behind gloomy winter days in the city and finds enjoyment in the open country. Bright light and fresh air, as well as physical activity within a beautiful landscape, are the basis for people’s enjoyment of skiing and for its health benefits.
Skiing is a shared, communal experience whose social aspects are important for families, groups and clubs. It offers young people a taste for action and so provides a high educational value.
As a result of the various international competitions and ski resorts situated all over the world, skiing helps develop close ties between people and nations.
Thanks to skiing and its 100 years of tradition, a specific cultural heritage has evolved. This has led in numerous countries, under different geographic, economic and social conditions, to developments notable for their individualism and unique values.
Skiing forms the basis for tourism in mountain areas and constitutes an essential factor in the economic survival of the people who live there. In effect, tourism provides the basis for social security and economic wealth in many mountainous regions and plays a role in reducing migration towards cities.
Skiing is carried out within a natural environment. Its impact upon this environment and landscape can be serious, as is the case with all exploitation and use of the earth’s resources.
The environmental conflicts caused specifically by skiing are not the same on different continents and countries. Their gravity is determined by the specific landscape, the density of population, the intensity of use and the geology of the mountains in question.
The FIS recognises it has an ethical obligation to consider all questions relating to skiing as serious issues and is determined to prevent or reduce all possible negative repercussions on nature and the environment caused by the sport.
Those responsible for skiing strongly identify with the sections of the population who have become conscious and sensitive to the increasing pressure on the air, water, earth and climate - in short, the natural environment as a whole.
The FIS agrees with the recommendations of the 1992 "United Nations Conference for the Environment and Development" in Rio de Janeiro which urge national associations and international federations to take the necessary actions to protect the environment. By laying down these general conditions, the FIS contributes to the compatibility of skiing with the environment and to the general efforts taken to improve its condition.