Top tips for Winter Sports Holidays
6 Min Read
It’s that time of year again to think about ski season. Given the gradual lifting of travel restrictions surrounding the Covid pandemic, a winter sporting activity may be on the cards for many either later this year or early next year.
In January 2021 a survey carried out by The Ski Club of Great Britain indicated that 80% of the 5,000 people surveyed said they were likely to ski “next season”. The results of an updated survey are awaited.
Given the ever-changing travel requirements there are a number of points to keep in mind when considering booking a winter activity holiday for the coming season.
Booking your ski holiday and Covid-19
Check the booking conditions relating to changing your travel dates or cancellation if for any reason you are unable to travel as planned, particularly if the reasons for the change are Covid related. 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 pass you may have paid for separately up front?
When making payments online it you may want to consider using a credit card so that you benefit from the additional financial protection provided under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
What are the current guidelines in respect of Covid testing both on arrival at your destination and on your return home? How much will it cost to comply with these requirements, and have you budgeted accordingly? Expensive PCR tests may not be required however, there is still a cost associated with lateral flow tests that may be needed.
What are the requirements regarding proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks in your destination as these can vary from country to country? You may need to complete documentation before you travel and should be aware of these requirements.
It goes without saying, it is worth regularly checking the foreign travel advice on the Gov.UK website Foreign travel advice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and keeping up to date on government guidance for your intended destination as requirements continue to change at short notice.
It may also be advisable to check the position with your employer if you are unexpectedly required to isolate or quarantine on your return home.
Skiing Accident Insurance Cover
Now more than ever it is essential to have adequate travel insurance in place before you travel. Ideally you should have insurance in place from the date you make any bookings.
Check the provisions of the policy you may have in place already or intend to purchase. 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 take? Are there any upper age limits on the policy that you may not be aware of? Does your policy or the resort you are skiing in require you to wear a helmet?
As ever, it is essential that you declare any pre-existing medical history so as to avoid any issues if you are required to call on the policy for any health related reason.
When it comes to actually setting off on the piste, it is always worth reminding yourself of the 10 FIS Rules which apply to alpine skiing and snowboarding.
Tips following a winter sports 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.
- 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 is as a result of 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 resort.
- If there are any witnesses to the incident, try and obtain 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.
It goes without saying that you should ski or snowboard within your capabilities.
If you are hiring equipment, don’t overstate your capabilities as the bindings will be set according to the weight, height and skiing ability that you declare.
Once you have finished your day on the piste and are engaging in an element of Après – ski it makes sense to keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. 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 there 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 feasted on your base layers and get set for a great ski season.