Stay on the piste - not in the hospital
Winter sports are great fun - but they can be risky. Every year, thousands of skiers and snowboarders will pay a visit to the local hospital with leg, head or arm injuries. Most will be minor but some will be serious that end in a ruined holiday, hospitalisation and even emergency repatriation or long-term disability. Travel insurance? It's a must!
No one wants to be one of the unlucky ones, so we've compiled our Top 14 Tips to help you stay safe on the piste!
- DO take out the right winter sports travel insurance package.
- Make sure your travel insurance suits your needs before you buy it.
- Keep your travel insurance medical emergency helpline number to hand as well as your policy number.
- DO make sure your skiing equipment - or the gear you hire - is in good order.
- Make sure the skis are in good shape and the right length for you.
- Make sure your boots are comfortable and fit tightly but not overly so.
- In each case, make sure the bindings are adjusted correctly.
- DON'T borrow skiing equipment - it should fit your height, weight and skill level.
- DO wear a protective headgear or a helmet - make a helmet mandatory for your kids.
- DO prepare for the weather with layered thermal undergarments and fleeced salopettes, jacket or similar.
- Plus a warm woolly hat, ski gloves and/or ski mittens.
- Make sure all your outer garments are waterproof!
- DO have lessons if you've never skied before and if you haven't been on the piste for a while, a lesson or two will polish up your skills.
- DO wear the right goggles/sunglasses - dark for sunlight and with vision-enhancing yellow or orange lenses for overcast, snowy or foggy conditions.
- If you wear glasses, use goggles that fit comfortably over your specs.
- Alternatively, think about prescription goggles: they're pricey but worth it.
- DO take regular breaks as skiing can be really tiring.
- Keep hydrated and make sure you eat.
- Watch out for the sun - the higher you are, the more potent the UV rays.
- Make sure you use sun block or a high factor sun cream on exposed skin.
- DO ski with a friend - you can watch out for one another.
- DO remember that skiers or boarders ahead of you or below you on the piste have right of way.
- Skiing is like driving: the better your observation, the safer you'll be.
- DO know your limits - ski or snowboard to your skill level on the nursery slopes, the green (beginner), blue (intermediate), red (intermediate/advanced) or black (advanced) runs.
- DO respect the mountain - NEVER go off-piste unless you are authorised to do so by the resort.
- If you are authorised to go off-piste, NEVER ski or board alone, go with a qualified guide. Under Aviva Travel Insurance, you will not be covered for off-piste skiing unless you are accompanied by a qualified guide.
- Make sure you obey all warning signs - especially during avalanche season.
- DO carry a fully charged mobile phone with you.
- You can keep in contact with friends or call for help if you need it.
- Make sure you know the emergency number for your resort.
- DON'T drink and ski.
- A glass of wine or beer with your lunch is fine.
- Excess alcohol will slow your reactions and affect your observation and balance.