Are you fully prepared for a winter ski holiday?

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Skiing holidays remain a popular winter activity with many families heading back to the slopes this winter after a few disrupted ski seasons.

This year, rather than COVID-19 restrictions, holidaymakers are having to factor in the cost-of-living crisis before going on a winter ski trip, which historically can be anything but cheap.

Many households remain keen on going on their annual expedition to the snowy mountain peaks but are considering travelling to cheaper resorts and destinations where a variety of skiing opportunities can be found for a price tag friendlier to their wallets.

However, even if you are considering travelling to a cheaper resort, the key considerations of booking a skiing activity holiday should remain the same.

We take look at some things you should keep in mind.

Holiday booking and COVID-19

COVID-19 is still with us and it’s important you check what your booking terms would be if you found yourself needing to change your travel dates or cancel your holiday if you are unable to travel as planned, particularly if the reasons for the change are COVID-19 related. It’s important to consider the following questions:

  • Will you be able to change the dates of your holiday easily and if not, will you lose any deposit?
  • If you have not booked a traditional winter package holiday and made individual bookings for travel and accommodation yourself, will you lose other costs such as ski hire and lift passes you may have paid for separately up front?

When making payments online you may want to consider using a credit card so that you can benefit from the additional financial protection provided under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

It remains good advice to regularly check the foreign travel advice on the GOV.UK website and keep up to date on government guidance for your intended destination should requirements change at short notice.

Insurance Cover

It is essential to have the right travel insurance in place before you travel. Ideally, you should have insurance in place from the date you make any bookings for accommodation, travel or other items such as equipment hire or lift pass purchases.

Check the provisions of the policy you may have in place already or intend to purchase and consider the following:

  • Does the policy cover all the activities you are going to participate in whilst on holiday?
  • Does this include any off piste skiing or the spontaneous skidoo or paragliding excursion that you have always wanted to partake in? In particular, check the limitations in respect of any motorised vehicle you may intend to ride.
  • Are there any upper age limits on the policy that you may not be aware of? This can often arise where a policy comes as a benefit of another financial service like a bank account where you may not have previously taken the time to check all its terms and conditions.
  • Does your policy or the resort you are skiing in require you or children under a certain age to wear a helmet?

It is essential that you declare any pre-existing medical history to avoid issues if you are required to call on the policy for any health-related reason.

Skiing without insurance can be costly particularly if you need to be evacuated by helicopter, require significant medical treatment and repatriation with medical escort back home.

How’s your fitness levels?

This year, as more people prepare to head off on ski runs, it is more important than ever to ensure you are physically fit to hit the slopes. For many, this may be their first time back on the slopes after the pandemic. Many of us have changed our lifestyles and fitness regimes since the pandemic and may not be in as good shape as we were before it. A day on the slopes is physically demanding, particularly if your body is not quite ready for the level of activity planned. No one wants to sustain injury on the first few days that will ruin the holiday, not just for you but everyone in your party.

Along with considering your fitness, you should also remind yourself of the 10 FIS Rules which apply to alpine skiing and snowboarding.

Other considerations

It goes without saying that you should ski or snowboard within your capabilities. If you are hiring equipment, don’t over state your capabilities as the bindings will be set according to the weight, height and skiing ability that you declare.

It also makes sense to keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. either when enjoying lunch in a restaurant or once you have finished your day and are engaging in an element of Après. It has not been unknown for people to become separated from friends, loose their way back to their accommodation and end up suffering from hypothermia or worse.

Whilst you want to make the most of your well-earned holiday, taking a rest day is always important. It is suggested that at around day three or four, tiredness will have set in and this is when you might want to consider taking a day off and perhaps enjoying other activities that may be on offer in the resort vicinity. Don’t consider this a wasted day if it allows you to enjoy the remainder of your holiday injury-free.

By following these simple guidelines, everyone should be able to experience an enjoyable winter activity holiday. So, dust off those salopettes, check the moths haven’t got into your base layers and get set for a great ski season.

Tips following an accident

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident whilst skiing, it is worth bearing the following points in mind:

  • If you are in a position to do so, make sure you exchange full contact details with any other party involved, including insurance details which you should carry with you. Otherwise, someone in your party should take responsibility for gathering this information. If you get a mobile number, make sure it is the correct number and that it works.
  • Take photographs of the accident location if possible. If a collision occurs on a piste, some wider views of the direction of travel of each of the parties are always helpful together with the name or number of the piste. Keep any GoPro or other video footage you may have of your descent and any collision.
  • If you believe your accident could have been caused by an issue with your bindings, take photographs of the settings and keep any documents from the ski hire shop if the equipment is not your own.
  • Make sure the accident is reported to any relevant authority and that you obtain a copy of any report or at least the report number if the full report is not available. It is much easier to do this whilst you are still in the resort.
  • If there are any witnesses to the incident, try and get their contact details in case they need to be contacted at a later stage.
  • Keep any receipts for expenses incurred as a result of any accident.
  • Contact your travel insurer as soon as possible so that you can comply with any requirements they may have under the terms of your policy.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, our experts will be happy to discuss your options with you either whilst you are still at your holiday resort or on your return home. Contact us to arrange an appointment.

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