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If you’re planning a ski or snowboard trip this year, we’ve put together our top tips for the perfect winter sports holiday.
Research is key to planning any successful trip – it will help you better understand what you can afford for your budget, any potential deals and the destinations available to you. Once you have a destination in mind you need to look at resorts and ensure they meet your needs, for example you might want beginner slopes and a ski school, or you may be looking for Black runs and great off piste routes.
When participating in any physical activity you obviously need to think about your health, and there are a few things to consider when participating in winter sports;
• Fitness – a few months before you hit the slopes you should ramp up your fitness routine to ensure your body is prepared for a few days of constant work. Always warm up before you head out for a day’s skiing, and always warm down and stretch out when you get back to your accommodation to avoid injury.
• Sun protection – although it will be cold on the mountain the sun will be bright, so don’t forget your high factor sun cream and UV goggles or sunglasses. The ‘burnt face and goggled tan lines’ look is never good, so make sure you keep your face protected.
• Alcohol – although you will be on holiday you need to be careful about the amount you drink on the slopes. Remember alcohol has a stronger affect at altitude and can lead to impaired judgement and slower reaction times. Watch what you drink at lunch time and always keep your wits about you on the slopes.
• Helmets – this is a hotly debated topic every year, some think helmets impair vision and hearing, whereas others believe they save lives. Ultimately it’s down to you, and the rules of your resort.
Safety is extremely important when on the slopes, you must ensure you know the rules, pick the right slope for your abilities and know how to contact someone in an emergency. Usually the numbers are 112 in Europe and 911 in the USA – each resort will have specific information about what to do in case of injury or in an emergency.
If you’re going off piste outside of the resort boundaries, you should always go with a trained guide who can help you along the route, unless you are extremely experienced. They will help you avoid unmarked dangers such as trees and cliff edges, plus avalanche areas and other dangers. When going off piste you should always carry a map, a shovel, avalanche transceiver, plus food and drink to stay hydrated and energised.
For more information on specific safety rules, check out the International Ski Federation’s Rules of Conduct.
Insurance should be a key part of your holiday planning, and included in your budget from the beginning. You need to ensure you invest in a policy which suits your needs, and covers all the activities you are planning to participate in – pay special attention to the rules about off piste cover and helmets.
It is always advisable to buy a policy with at least £1m medical cover when skiing in Europe, as this should cover the costs of medical treatment, mountain recuse and repatriation if necessary. When travelling word wide this figure should be closer to £5m.
If you’re travelling with your own equipment, make sure your policy covers you in case it is lost, damaged or delayed. The same rules apply if you are hiring equipment in resort, to avoid expensive fines for accidental damage.
View our winter sports travel insurance policy and book online.
To get a quote please choose one of the following policy types;