Après Ski: 10 Ways to Relax after a day on the Slopes

Posted on October 17, 2016

Après Ski, which means ‘after skiing’ in French, refers to the range of activities and entertainment offered by winter sports resorts, to help you relax after a day on the slopes. The events will differ depending on your chosen resort, but below we’ve listed the top 10 most common and popular après ski activities.

Après Ski Activities for Families

Pony Riding – usually available for kids aged 18 months to 12 years, some resorts offer families the chance to rent a pony and sled (or ‘poney luge’), so one child can ride the pony, another can sit in the sled, and the adult can hike alongside holding the reigns.

 

Bobsledding – if your kids are a little too old for pony rides, they may enjoy the thrill of bobsledding a little bit more. The sport, which you may have seen on the winter Olympics, involves sliding down an ice covered track at speed. There are seven tracks in Europe to choose from – don’t worry, they offer separate packages for different abilities, including beginners.

 

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride – there is nothing quite like taking a relaxing sleigh ride to wind down after a hard days skiing or snowboarding. The kids will love the novelty of the experience, and you’ll get to see how beautiful the resort and surrounding areas really are.

 

Ice Skating – a firm family favourite, ice skating is a great way to spend time together learning or refining another winter sports skill. All different abilities are welcome, and let’s face it; Mum or Dad falling down never gets old.

 

Husky Rides – if your kids are animal lovers they’ll love the chance to take a husky ride, plus you’ll get the rush of controlling the dogs (with an experienced guide of course).  Again, it’s a great way to explore the beautiful snowy scenery, and do something new as a family.

Après Ski Activities For Adults

Music – most ski resorts will offer a wide variety of musical entertainment, from night clubs and piste festivals to atmospheric piano bars. Remember, each resort is different, so it’s important to do your research before you book, to ensure it will cater to your tastes.

 

Spa – a day on the slopes can be very physically demanding, so why not treat yourself to a few relaxing spa treatments? May resorts around the world will offer some kind of spa facilities, ranging from saunas and swimming pools to massages and facials.

 

Food and Drink – if you’re a foodie then make sure you pick a resort with great restaurants and bars. Remember, some of the more family friendly resorts may not offer a great variety of foods, but others will offer local and international delicacies, including wine tasting and fondue evenings.

 

Snowmobiling – if you’re not quite ready to call it a day, you could try snowmobiling. You should be able to easily rent a snowmobile from the resort, or somewhere nearby, so just ensure you choose a reputable shop with licenced machines. You may be required to attend a safety class before they let you loose on the snow, so just bear that in mind.

 

Scenic Walks – this may sound like a relatively boring activity after a day of adrenaline pumping sports, but at some point during your trip it is important to stop, and really admire the beautiful setting. Even a short walk could reinvigorate your mind, act as a good cool down exercise, and get you some great holiday snaps at the very least.

 

If you’re planning a winter sports trip, just remember to check your travel insurance to ensure all the activities you’re planning will be covered. Visit Holidaysafe for more information on award winning winter sports travel insurance.

Related reading:

Winter sports for children – how to stay safe on the slopes

Skiing and snowboarding tips for beginners

 

A Guide to Staying Safe on the Slopes

Posted on October 04, 2016

Beautiful mountains, fresh air and adventure are just a few of the many reasons to choose a winter sports trip for your next holiday. However, as with any activity based holiday, there can be added risk if you do not adequately prepare for your trip, so here are our top tips for staying safe on the slopes.

Ski mask
 

Ski Lessons

For first time skiers, it may be tempting to skip the ski lessons and head straight for the slopes, especially if you’re travelling with people who have skied before. However, ski school should be a key part of your first trip, as without professional lessons (not from a friend, but a qualified instructor) you will be more vulnerable to an accident. Not only will they teach you the basics (like staying upright and stopping safely), but they can also help you understand ski etiquette, to ensure you don’t have a mishap on the chair lift etc.

 

Equipment

Investing in quality equipment is vital to staying safe on the slopes. If this is your first time you may not want to spend loads of money on something you may only do once, so it’s always worth renting equipment in resort, or borrowing equipment (in good nick) from a friend. Some of the important things include UV resistant goggles, waterproof clothing (including socks and trousers), plus quality skis, ski poles and a helmet which fits properly.

Our guide for choosing the right skiing helmet – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/winter-travel-advice/choosing-the-right-skiing-helmet/ 

 

Preparation

Preparation for the slopes should start before you leave home. It’s easy to forget that skiing and snowboarding are physical sports (i.e. gravity does not do all the work), so like any sport it is vital that you raise your fitness levels and prepare your body for the extra exertion. Once you reach the slopes, don’t forget to wrap up warm and apply sunscreen to your face, to avoid the dreaded ski goggle sun burn lines.

Our guide for getting fit before skiing – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/winter-travel-advice/getting-fit-skiing/

 

Ability

One for the key parts of staying safe on the slopes is knowing your ability. Most ski resorts will have four piste classifications, including green (easy/beginner), blue (moderate/intermediate), red (intermediate/advanced) and black (difficult/expert), and it is really important that you do not venture onto a slope that is beyond your abilities. Not only may you lose control and hurt yourself, but people may not be expecting less experienced skiers to be on the slope, and so they may crash into you by accident. Make sure you check the classifications, start with a beginner slope and then work your way up.

 

Off Piste

For many experienced skiers, skiing off piste is the real attraction of a winter sports holiday. There are two types of skiing off piste; 1) outside the piste boundary, but still within the boundaries of the resort, 2) skiing outside of the resort boundaries. If you choose option 1, you’ll still get fresh powder and fewer people, but with the added security of clearly marked dangers and resort staff. If you choose option 2, you should always go with a trained guide, as they can ensure you avoid any unmarked dangers (such as trees, cliff edges, and avalanche zones), set a clear route and provide help in the event of an avalanche or injury. Speak to staff at the resort about planning an off-piste adventure.

Read our guide for skiing off-piste – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/winter-travel-advice/safety-tips-skiing-off-piste/

 

Winter Sports Travel Insurance

Although travel insurance cannot protect you on the slopes, it can guard you against any unexpected bills if something goes wrong. Common winter sports claims range from lost or damaged equipment right through to serious medical emergencies, which involve helicopter mountain evacuation and expensive medical treatment. View our winter sports travel insurance policy for more information on our award-winning ski and snowboard travel insurance.

For more tips and advice on planning a disaster free ski or snowboarding trip, visit our dedicated winter sports guides.

Choosing the Right Skiing Helmet

Posted on March 21, 2016

With every new ski season comes the same hotly debated topic; should skiers and snowboarders wear helmets whilst participating on the slopes, and should it be mandatory. This issue has been discussed for many years, so let’s talk about ski helmets…why should you wear one? Why are people so against them? What do the experts think? In the article below we aim to give a balanced view of the arguments and research involved so you can make an informed decision about your personal safety on the slopes.

The unfortunate death of the actress Natasha Richardson in 2009 after a fall on a beginners run brought the argument into our living rooms. This is when the debate really began to gather force, especially in the national press, because the death was so tragic, and (some argue) could potentially have been avoided if the actress was wearing a helmet.

Many institutes have carried out extensive research on the use, practicalities and effectiveness of ski helmets, including

The University of Innsbruck has carried out research which shows that ski helmets can reduce head injuries by 35% in adults and 59% in children under 13.This explains why many popular ski destinations, including Austria, have made helmets compulsory for children; however adults don’t seem to be following the trend.

Other studies have shown that:

  • 19% of all skiing injuries in Austria are head injuries.
  • 74% of head injuries occurred when skiers fell and hit their head on the snow.
  • 10% occurred when they collided with other skiers.
  • 13% occurred when they collided with a fixed object.

 

These statistics led researchers to argue that the wearing of helmets would be beneficial, and that it should be compulsory. After all, as the research suggests, not only do skiers have to worry about staying upright and keeping control, they also have to worry about other skiers losing control and potentially colliding with them.

Nevertheless, many people are firmly against the use of ski helmets, their main arguments include:

  • They impair hearing.
  • They reduce the skier’s field of vision.
  • They provide a false sense of security.
  • They encourage risky behaviour on the slopes.

However, the research that has been carried out in the wearing of helmets actually shows that more skilled skiers wear helmets than unskilled and conclude that wearing a helmet is actually associated with a higher level of skill than a higher level of risk taking.

It is their conclusion that wearing helmets should be made routine.

The Ski Club of Great Britain recommends that children under 13 should wear helmets, but that adults should use their own discretion.

A higher proportion of snowboarders than skiers wear helmets, probably because they have become part of the snowboarders ‘look’ and have become more streamlined and colourful in keeping with the rest of their attire.

For many experienced skiers however, the wearing of helmets takes away that primary thrill of feeling the cold wind on your face and in your hair as you ski down the mountain.

Click here to read the latest advice.

Staying safe on the slopes

Our advice would be to always take care when on the slopes. Head injuries are not the only accident that can happen when skiing or snowboarding.

Winter Sports travel insurance

We have a specialist winter sports travel insurance policy which comes at an affordable price. This makes sure you are covered for piste rescue, piste closure, ski packs and much more with cover starting from  just £8.33*.

Find out more about our winter sports insurance cover.

The Great Ski Helmet Debate

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Every year when the winter season rolls around once more, the debate about whether or not ski helmets should be made compulsory continues. As we mentioned in a previous piece, the debate centres on the effectiveness and practicality of wearing a helmet, and whether the use of one should be made mandatory on slopes around the world.

The debate began to gather prominence in the national press and among industry experts following several high profile deaths, involving skiers who were not wearing helmets, including; the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson in 2009, and the death of a woman in Austria after she collided with a German Politician.

The main arguments include;

 

Surely anything which could protect you against injury should just be common sense? Or is making ski helmets compulsory a step too far? Let us know what you think on our Twitter or Facebook pages. Just remember to invest in quality Winter Sports Travel Insurance before you depart.

Skiing and Snowboarding Tips for Beginners

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Winter sports holidays are becoming more and more popular, with greater numbers learning to ski and snowboard every year. A skiing or snowboarding holiday is perfect for anyone who wants to be active, out in the fresh air enjoying the scenery and learning a new skill.

However, learning a new sport can be extremely challenging, and you don’t want to spend your entire holiday fed up and covered in bruises. To successfully learn how to ski or snowboard, you need to give yourself the best possible chance, and below are our top tips for learning;

  • Invest in lessons, it might sound obvious but a professional instructor is the best way to learn, they are trained to deal with nervous beginners. Many people attempt to teach themselves, or let their friends/partners teach them, but this predominantly ends in impatience, arguments and bad habits!
  • Choose your resort carefully; you need to research resorts with beginner slopes, these are gentler in gradient and are normally less crowded. You will find it much easier to learn surrounded by other beginners rather than speeding pros.
  • Invest in the correct equipment; buy decent waterproof and thermal clothing to prevent you from feeling the cold and damp. A set of beginner or shorter skis are a great idea too, as they are designed to slow you down and make you less likely to fall.
  • Go with a group, it is always more fun to learn something new with your friends or a partner beside you. If you fall by yourself you would be embarrassed, if you learn with your friends they are probably falling too, and everyone will laugh together as they help you up.
  • Cushion your fall by researching areas with soft snow. You will fall over numerous times during the learning process, (everyone does,) and you don’t want to be falling on ice or hard ground, aim for areas with soft snow.
  • Approach the lifts with caution, ski lifts are notoriously dangerous for inexperienced skiers, as you need to jump off while they are still in motion. Find lifts that stop to let you off, or alternative ways up the slopes.
  • Invest in travel insurance before you depart, statistically as a beginner you are more likely to fall or damage your equipment, so it is vital that you protect yourself by investing in quality winter sports travel insurance before your trip.

 

Safety Tips for Skiing Off-Piste

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Skiing abroad is now an extremely popular hobby and holiday choice, which is practiced by more people every year. However, because of the increasing popularity, slopes are becoming busier, and seasoned skiers are venturing further afield to find some space to ski and relax.

These skiers head off-piste, away from the usual slopes and trails to untouched snow and unmarked routes. Although the need to escape the crowds is understandable, off-piste skiing presents a set of very real dangers, for example if you are injured you are further away from help and assistance, obstacles are not marked; for example trees and cliff edges, not to mention the risk of avalanches.


If you simply cannot resist skiing off-piste, here are our top tips to stay safe;

  • Never go alone! If you are unlucky enough to be injured off-piste it is vital that you have someone with you to get help, otherwise it could take hours for someone to find you. Go with an instructor or a group who is skilled in off-piste skiing.
  • Be realistic about your fitness, skiing skill and experience. Do not attempt any routes or challenges that are potentially out of your league or abilities, as this could prove extremely dangerous.
  • Always tell people where you are planning to go, and check with a professional that the route is safe and permitted, ask someone who works at your resort or hotel for more information.
  • There is a range of equipment you could purchase to help you stay safe, including a shovel and transceiver, but at the very least the vital things you should carry are; a whistle, flares, a length of rope, a first aid kit and a survival bag, high energy snacks, water and extra clothing – all in a waterproof bag. You can usually purchase these things at specialist shops, either individually or altogether as an ‘off-piste pack’.
  • Make sure at least someone in your group has a mobile phone or radio, so you can contact professionals in an emergency.
  • Ski with caution, as previously mentioned hazards such as trees, rocks and cliff edges will not be marked. Remember that the second you step outside of the piste boundaries, most resorts will withdraw all responsibility.
  • Therefore you must make sure that you invest in travel insurance before you depart. Quality travel insurance will cover you for medical bills and damages resulting from skiing off-piste, just make sure that the policy definitely covers off-piste skiing.
Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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