Attention all skiers and snowboarders! Have you forgotten something?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have a message for all skiers and snowboarders this winter. It’s pretty simple really: check you have adequate winter sports travel insurance cover! You’d think everyone would though, wouldn’t you? But no, according to the FCO and ABTA, a third of British travellers fail to check if they have the right winter sports cover before heading off on a winter sport breaks.
Surprisingly, those who are most likely to travel without the right kind of cover were in the over-55 age bracket. Almost half of that group (46%) also admitted that they never check that they are covered for winter sports! This is significantly above the general average of 33%.
Why you need winter sports cover
There have been 58 British deaths and 118 hospitalisations from skiing and snowboarding holidays reported to the FCO in European resorts in the last 4 years, with thousands more suffering injuries both on- and off-piste. Each and every one of those hospitalisations and injuries would have to be treated at some point. In European or American ski resorts this will often mean paying for health care – and this can be very expensive.
If you haven’t got cover for an activity or sport – such as off piste skiing or tobogganing – then your travel cover will effectively be null and void and your insurer will be perfectly within their rights if they refuse to pay out. And that could leave you with a painful injury as well as a whopping bill.
The FCO’s dream team for slope safety
To increase awareness of the importance of being prepared for skiing and snowboarding, the FCO has teamed up with ABTA as well as former British Winter Olympian Graham Bell to provide helpful advice, from pre-departure to après ski.
Graham Bell’s top 10 tips for a safe trip this winter
- Make sure your insurance policy covers all of the winter sports activities that you are planning to do.
- Remember to take your freeEuropean Health Insurance Card (EHIC) along with you, for necessary treatment at public hospitals in Europe.
- Get fit for the slopes by doing ski-specific exercises that work the quads, glutes, and core. Try to include balance and co-ordination into your work-out.
- If you’re a first time skier, make sure you pick a resort that is suitable and will help you to progress. Look for lots of blue runs, and a beginners’ area close to town.
- Use the right equipment including a properly fitting helmet.
- When you’re on the slopes make sure you are using appropriate safety equipment, and familiarise yourself with the International Ski Federation guidelines so that you don’t put yourself at risk of a collision.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen! You can burn in the mountains even in the middle of winter because of the reflection from the snow.
- Make sure you’ve got appropriate footwear for use off the slopes, or get yourself a pair of rubber snow grips to put over your shoes.
- Keep in mind that alcohol and winter sports don’t mix. The effects of alcohol are multiplied at altitude, so save it for the après-ski.
- If you’re heading out in the evening, make sure to stick together with friends and family. Temperatures can drop dramatically at night, so you don’t want to end up getting lost.
Need cover? We can do it. Call us on 0345 90 80 161 or get an instant quote online.