Winter sports-how to avoid accidents and what to do if you have one
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Needless to say, being properly insured is a basic starting point for any winter sports traveller. While the European Health Insurance Card may offer limited protection in some parts of Europe, it is no replacement for comprehensive ski travel insurance that should be bought before you leave the country.
Your travel insurer would normally be very helpful in resolving medical charges and gathering evidence to help with a claim, but there are some things that you skiers may find of assistance.
Below is a guide for skiers to help avoid accidents on the slopes in the first place and to ensure they know what to do should an accident happen:
- Be familiar with the rules of the piste such as the FIS rules. Skiers and snowboarders should have regard for these rules that form the ‘highway code’ of the ski slopes in Europe. Similar rules are in place in Canada and the US;
- One of the most important rules set by the FIS is that the skier lower down the slope has priority. If you happen to be knocked to the ground by another skier who has approached from further up the slope, then there is a good chance they have ignored or negligently breached this rule;
- To avoid a collision, be sure to carefully check further up the slope when setting off or joining a slope;
- Look after your ski equipment and make sure it is suitable for your requirements. Every year there are a number of skiing accidents that occur as the result of faulty or poorly fitted equipment. Ensure ski equipment suppliers fit any equipment properly before you set off with your skis. Experienced skiers will know that ski fittings are determined by age, ability, height and weight. Skiers should make a note of their height and weight in metric and imperial before heading abroad;
- Check the position on the law for safety helmets in the destination country. This is still an area of great debate. Be aware that in some resorts it is compulsory to wear a helmet for certain age groups. Skiers may want to consider wearing a safety helmet and other protective ski equipment, such as a spine protector, particularly if feeling adventurous and heading off-piste. Some insurers wisely now require ski helmets to be worn; and
- Ski within ability. To ski out of one's ability can expose oneself to unnecessary risk and may not be covered by an insurance policy.
- If you dare to venture off piste, you may need a guide and to have equipment such as a transceiver, probe and shovel. While this may seem extreme, every year stories emerge where such equipment has helped save lives. You may find that such equipment is a requirement for insurance that covers off-piste skiing.
If you have a skiing accident contact our Travel team for advice.
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If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org