15 tips to stop your skiing trip going downhill!
Going skiing this season?
Forget a week away by the pool in the Mediterranean sun. The winter months see people packing up their skiing gear, that’s been stuffed away in the attic for the last year, for a skiing trip in the snowy peaks of France, the sugar-coated slopes of Austria or the powdery Nordic mountains of Finland or Norway.
The European skiing season is well underway and won’t be finished until the end of April/early May. So many people are looking to eliminate those January blues with the prospect of a snowy trip on the slopes.
What with the Winter Olympics taking place this month too...many will surely be inspired to get involved in some skiing action!
Of course, there are the added intentions of messing about in the snow, drinking bubbly at night in a hot-tub or witnessing the dancing northern lights, and many expect to come back with a fantastic holiday to boast about – as well as that goggle-shaped tan line. This isn’t always the case, however.
Is skiing always as glamorous as it sounds?
Not always - no. To put a dampener on the fun, accidents can sometimes happen and mean plummeting head first into a nasty situation – both physically and financially.
A skiing holiday is a great way to stay fit while enjoying the sun and snow all at once, but if it’s a package holiday that’s been arranged by an accredited travel agency in the UK – they must protect you from sustaining any injuries. It’s a legal requirement!
It’s not just their responsibility, however. If you’re staying in a hotel or ski resort – the owners and staff also have a duty of care to look after you. Not forgetting skiing instructors and other skiers around you.
Regardless whether you’re experienced or a first-time skier, the activity you’re about to engage in is risky. So you must be prepared before you go, as you have a responsibility for your own safety too!
Downhill skiing is the only way to go (you’d have a job otherwise!) but without preparation, a painful downhill fall it could be.
15 ways to stay safe on your skiing trip
1. Take out travel insurance – so many travellers forget or don’t bother getting travel insurance before they jet off, let alone making sure they have the right one. Like with any holiday – anything can happen. Make sure your insurance covers the types of activities you plan on doing, otherwise you’ll be knee deep in debt if you have an accident, let alone snow. You’ll need your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), in case you need treatment in a European public hospital. It’s also worth investing in a life insurance policy if you don’t already have one.
2. Get a health/medical check before you go – it’s important to get medical advice to see if you’re fit enough for the activities you’re going to be doing. If not, you’re more at risk of injury.
3. Do regular exercise to keep fit – whether you’re fit or not, you need to make a start in advance on getting fit before partaking in any physically demanding activities such as skiing. Any exercises that involve working on your core, quads and glutes will help to strengthen the main muscles you’ll need.
4. Practice on dry slopes – although it’s not the real thing, doing some practice sessions in an indoor snow centre is a great way to prepare yourself physically for your skiing trip. It’s a great way to get professional advice from instructors there too!
5. Get all the right equipment and clothes – whether renting or buying, you need good quality gear and clothing when doing activities like skiing – preferably reputable brands (post-Christmas sales could also reveal some bargains). This can help prevent any nasty accidents from happening, but make sure you know how to use it all – don’t have all the gear and no idea!
6. Check the weather forecast before you ski – if it’s going to snow heavily, then understandably, your vision is going to be impaired. Alternatively, if it’s sunny and warm, this can affect the snow in the afternoon. So check in advance and make sure you plan your skiing time around the weather! It’s also common for people to burn, so make sure you wear sun cream to protect your skin - or those tan lines will be more prominent than you’d like!
7. Be mindful of your surroundings and the skiers around you – make sure you’re taking note of any signs or instructions and keep a safe distance between you and other skiers, just like you would when driving a car!
8. Be careful if going off-piste – stay on the prepared ski runs if possible, or if you’re planning on exploring off-piste slopes, you’ll need to have the right equipment and know how to use it. You could also get a professional ski instructor to go with you!
9. Watch your speed – don’t push it. Be mindful of those around you and avoid going so fast that you might end up losing control.
10. Get training whilst you’re there – so many skiers get lessons whilst on a skiing trip. This makes it more fun, as you can learn with your friends or meet new people. Instructors are experienced and it is their duty to provide you with the knowledge of safety when skiing.
11. Listen carefully to instructions – while you’re having fun, it’s vital that you’re paying attention to any advice or instructions given by staff at the resort, instructors or other more experienced skiers. Don’t ignore them and think you’re more than capable of taking on the elements and slopes! If you’re unsure of the rules, be sure to find out.
12. Watch your alcohol intake – we’ve all seen the funny videos of drunken skiers stumbling up to the slopes and failing to get onto the ski lift, but seriously, being drunk while skiing is asking for trouble. While you may want to enjoy a glass of fizz midway up the mountain, you must be aware that the altitude can make you feel more drunk, as there is less oxygen going to the brain. This then affects your reactions, timing and coordination.
13. Stay with friends and family – staying with others makes it much better to deal with situations if something were to go wrong. Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position where you’d struggle getting help if you had an accident!
14. Save emergency contacts in your phone – make sure you’re aware of any local emergency numbers and you’ve got them saved. Be sure that you would be able to make calls in the country you’re in on your phone and find out at the resort what you should do if not.
15. Do plenty of research – for your own sake and that of loved ones you’re travelling with, make sure you’ve done your research. Read about people’s experiences, read guides and get advice from experienced skiers so that you’re at a lower risk of having an accident. For example, did you know about tree wells? They amount to 20% of all ski-related deaths! Have the knowledge beforehand to ensure your safety on the slopes.
By all means, get stuck in and enjoy yourself! But being in-the-know before you go can help towards having a perfectly injury-free skiing trip – one you’ll definitely be bragging about when you get home.
If you’re going on a package holiday, make sure they’re going to take care of you – if you’re going independently, make sure the resort and instructors are also safeguarding you.
If, however, you’ve been unfortunate to have had a skiing trip that went wrong and you have suffered an injury through no fault of your own, no matter the severity, contact us at Accident Line Direct today for help on making a No Win No Fee claim for compensation with a personal injury lawyer.