Hitting the slopes? Your pre-ski checklist

Hitting the slopes? Your pre-ski checklist

With ski season in full swing, thousands of skiers are hitting the slopes in Europe’s best resorts.

We have listed our Top 5 resorts in Europe:
1. Chamonix, France: Best for Lift-Accessed Slopes
2. La Grave, France: Best for Ski Mountaineering
3. St. Anton, Austria: Best for Après Ski
4. Kitzbühel, Austria: Best place to watch a ski race
5. Verbier, Switzerland: Best Nightlife

If you’re off to the slopes this season, here are our top tips for staying safe on the slopes and making sure you’ve got the right cover.

Tips for staying safe on the slopes

• Get the right gear
If you don’t have your own ski equipment, hire it rather than being tempted to borrow from friends and family as skis and boots should be chosen to match your height and weight.

• Make helmets mandatory
Helmets are crucial when skiing, especially for children. But 22% of parents say their children don’t wear them .
Kate Niven, travel underwriting manager for Aviva, said: “If your children are hitting the slopes wearing a helmet should be essential. Getting them used it to it early will ensure it becomes standard practice. Some resorts may also enforce the use of helmets for children, so check their guidelines.”

• Know your limits and be sensible
You should always stick to the runs that you can safely complete – whether that’s green beginner slopes or black advanced runs. And be sensible – don’t drink too much at lunch and take a fully charged mobile phone out with you, just in case.

• Check your policy before you go off-piste
Regardless of your skill level, going off-piste can be dangerous and you shouldn’t do it unless it is authorised by the resort.
Many insurance policies - including Aviva travel insurance - exclude off-piste skiing unless you are accompanied by a qualified guide, and some require prior arrangement.

Get the right cover, just in case

Although more than half of people say that they or family members have had an accident or near miss on the slopes, 47% admit that they never or only sometimes bother with winter sports insurance.
Many people mistakenly think that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is enough to protect them if they’re in Europe, but it doesn’t provide the same level of cover that winter sports cover does.

When going skiing you need to be covered for:
• Emergency treatment
• Mountain rescue
• Repatriation
• Ongoing support for a serious injury - for example, physiotherapy after a serious skiing or snowboarding accident.
• Loss or damage of ski equipment

Although winter sports cover will cost extra on top of travel insurance, it’s nothing compared to the expense involved if you do have an accident. Kate Niven said: “The cost of bringing someone home to the UK by air ambulance could be in the region of £20,000 from the European Union or as much as £80,000 from the United States. Even the cost of treating minor injuries can be expensive – we found the average cost of a Winter Sports claim is around £1,000.”

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