Skiing safely

Skiing safely

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. DON'T borrow skiing equipment - it should fit your height, weight and skill level.
  4. DO wear a protective headgear or a helmet - make a helmet mandatory for your kids.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. DO ski with a friend - you can watch out for one another.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

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