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Skiing & Snowboarding - Have Fun but be Safe

Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sporting activities and at this time of year many will be jetting off to the Alps or Rockies to enjoy a winter break (or even popping up to Scotland).  However, before you go it’s important to make sure you take the relevant safety measures and check you have the correct insurance. 

Whilst the chances of being fatally injured in a skiing accident are very rare, - less that one in a million, it is still important to keep yourself safe whilst on the slopes.  The most common accidents which occur on the piste are minor injuries such as broken wrists, however more serious injuries do occur due to collisions. 

The best way to protect yourself against head injuries is to consider wearing a ski helmet, these have become more popular over the past 10 years.  Many ski resorts encourage the wearing of helmets, and are often compulsory for children.  In April 2009, Vail Resorts announced that from the 2009/10 season, the wearing of helmets would be compulsory for all their employees whilst on the snow, as a result the USA has now seen a rise to 48% of people on their ski slopes wearing helmets.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, up to a third of travellers are not covered for the sport they are considering partaking in.  Whilst on your skiing holiday, it is essential to have the correct winter sports insurance, or you could end up with a bill for thousands of pounds, especially if you have to be airlifted off the slopes.  Most general winter sports insurance policies will cover skiing and snowboarding as standard, but it pays to check the exclusions, and make sure that if there’s anything you plan to do which might take you off of the beaten track, you won’t get hit with a nasty bill if you’re injured or have an accident.

If you are going to snowboard make sure that this is covered under your skiing insurance.  Some companies use the term “ski” to mean snowboard as well, but it is best to check if you are not sure. 

Off-piste skiing is a grey area with many insurers, with some deeming it too expensive to cover in a standard skiing travel insurance policy.  Make sure that if you intend to sample the scenery off piste, you are definitely covered to do so.  Like winter holidays themselves, all insurance policies have variations so make sure you check before you go.

It is worth knowing that ski resorts have a duty of care to tourists to ensure their slopes are assessed appropriately and are safe for people to use.  However, if you do have a skiing accident abroad it is important you contact a solicitor in England who will be able to help you deal with the claim, and ensure you get compensation and the help you need.