As well as the adrenaline and excitement, there are inherent risks associated with skiing and snowboarding. Unfortunately, if you are injured and don’t have specialist winter sports travel insurance, a skiing accident could cost you tens of thousands of pounds in terms of medical treatment and travel expenses.
As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure, and the following five tips can help ensure you stay safe on the slopes, while still enjoying an adventure-packed trip.
1. Be realistic about your abilities
While you might want to push your abilities in order to improve, you should never push too hard or take things too far. Stick to your own abilities, even if this means that the whole party can’t ski together.
If you really want to improve quickly, sign up as part of a ski school. Instructors can determine your existing level, as well as help you to progress and improve.
Determine your ability level and learn the colour code for slope difficulty. The code is international, with the easiest slopes graded as green. Blue slopes are a little steeper, red slopes are for intermediate to advanced skiers, and only once you have mastered red slopes should you move on to black, which are the most challenging.
2. Be considerate
It’s obviously important that you have a good time on the slopes, but you also need to be considerate of others. Don’t cut sharply in front of other skiers, don’t stop suddenly, and make sure that you’re sharing the slope so that everyone can have fun. Some actions, such as cutting in front of others, are not only inconsiderate but can cause an accident. The more considerate you are, the more considerate others will be with you. Remember that the skier in front has priority over you.
3. Take breaks
Skiing is tiring, especially if you are new to the sport. You will tire quickly, and once you tire you will find that your reflexes dim, and your abilities are not as sharp as they were when you were well rested. Don’t attempt to keep blasting down the slopes all morning and afternoon. When you start to tire, consider having refreshments at one of the cafes or bars, but remember that alcohol also dulls the senses and causes you to take more reckless actions.
4. Consider wearing a helmet
Helmets for adults are not a legal requirement in the vast majority of resorts, but they are a sure-fire way of reducing the risk of serious injury if you are involved in an accident. Also bear in mind that some insurance policies may require that you wear a helmet, and many resorts do legally require that children wear helmets when skiing.
5. Follow the code of conduct
The International Ski Federation (FIS) has published a list of 10 rules that you should follow when skiing. The rules are all about respecting other skiers, ensuring that you control your speed, and that you choose appropriate routes and slopes for your skill level. You should ensure that you know them all and abide by them, because this will help you stay safe on the slopes.