Many travellers are choosing to hit the slopes in search of a thrilling holiday, however this can come at a price as winter sports often means an increased risk of accidents. At Staysure we recognise this risk and have compiled a winter sports and ski checklist to help you snowboard and ski safe while making the most of the Après-ski lifestyle.
Know your skill level
It is critical that you have the relevant training before you hit the slopes, don’t be tempted to skip professional instruction. Learning the basics, such as controlling your speed, turning and coming to a stop is an essential first step in ski safety. It’s also vital that you are physically fit as this lessens your susceptibility to common aches and strains.
With the UK offering nearly 80 indoor ski centres you can get a head start before you even set off on your journey and unless you’re very confident on the snow, skiing with an instructor or guide is often recommended – especially if you’re going off-piste.
The International Ski Federation has published ‘Ten Rules for Conduct, Safety & the Environment’ to help people snowboard and ski safety while on the slopes. The rules can be viewed or downloaded here.
Take the correct equipment
Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned professional it is crucial to have the right equipment before you head out onto the slopes.
Wearing warm clothing at all times, which normally includes a base layer as well as a hat, gloves and appropriate footwear is essential.
Whilst wearing a helmet is a personal choice, they have become more popular amongst both skiers and snowboarders as they realise the importance of protecting themselves against serious head injuries.
Ski goggles will protect your eyes from the glare of snow that reflects off the slopes. Choose goggles or sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection to help reduce any potential damage to your eyes as the sun is much stronger at altitude.
Choose the right piste
Before you choose your resort it is important to be aware of how pistes are classified, this will help you to understand their difficulty. Choose a piste that is most suitable to your skill level and don’t attempt slopes beyond your ability. It is a good idea to keep a map of the local area and pistes with you at all times.
Keep an eye on the weather
Keep an eye out for the weather conditions, and take note of the times of day that you choose to go skiing as piste conditions change during the day as the sun moves and warms up the snow.
Sun protection is also important and a high SPF is essential as the sun not only penetrates the clouds but reflects off the snow and just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean you won’t get burnt.
Fog and snowfall, which can become severe very quickly, can make visibility a real problem. If you are struggling to see, you should consider whether it is safe to continue skiing – obstacles such as trees or rocks, sudden drops and other skiers pose significant danger in bad weather.
Purchasing quality winter sports travel insurance is a must. As part of its #SkiSafe campaign ABTA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have published research that shows a third of people heading off for a ski holiday don’t check whether they have taken out appropriate insurance and almost half (46%) of the over 55s surveyed said that they never check if they are covered for winter sports.
To highlight the importance of preparing properly and buying winter sports travel insurance, the organisations teamed up with five-time British Winter Olympian Graham Bell to create the video below which shows the Olympian’s top three tips for a safe trip this winter:
More information and advice is available on the ABTA website here.
Looking for Winter Sports Travel Insurance?
Staysure’s winter sports cover is available with our Comprehensive Travel Insurance policy and provides holders with additional cover for skiing, mono-skiing and snowboarding, plus delayed or lost ski equipment, piste closure, off-piste skiing (in authorised areas) ski pass cover and much more.
Get a quote online or for more information about our Winter Sports cover talk to our agents today on 0800 033 4902.