It is expected that up to 6.5m Brits will be heading off this season on a winter sports holiday. The range of sports are as wide and as varied from beginner level up to the highly skilled and adventurous.
For many Britsm such a holiday will be unlike the beach and touring holidays they may have experienced in the past. Mixed in with the delights of peaks and mountain scenery is the promise of clean air, experiencing a new activity, new friends and a relaxed nightlife to rest those weary bones. But, the key question is this: do Consumers adequately prepare for their winter sports holiday?
Our annual Travel Survey revealed that:
- 73% told us that they knew very little about safety on the slopes;
- 72% felt that they were not advised about the risk or possibility of injury;
- 22% advised that that they were not instructed on how to make sure that ski equipment is fitted safely, and
- 42% laboured under the impression that standard Travel Insurance covered winter sports!
To help UK holidaymakers prepare for that great experience, we provide our top tips on making sure that you prepare well and enjoy your time away:
- Before you go:
- Try a taster session on a dry-slope before you book - see if you like being on skis!
- Think about your health - This holiday is about physical exercise - get fit before you go!
- If you have pre-existing medical conditions, speak to your Doctor before you book;
- Make sure that you take out fully comprehensive Travel Insurance at the time you book - make sure it covers winter sports - always let them know about pre-existing medical conditions;
- Make sure you also have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - absolutely vital!
- If you decide you want to take part in a wider winter sport activity, make sure your insurer knows before you go - get that extra cover!
- When you are in Resort:
- Make sure you can walk before you run - always stick to a slope or run of your ability!
- Understand the safety rules of the slopes or mountains - remember: weather, speed & distance!
- Make sure you understand how your equipment works - if you are unsure - ask!
- Always wear a hard hat or safety helmet - woolly hats won't protect your head!
- Don't drink & ski - would you drink & drive?
- If you are more adventurous and want to go off slope - get advice/get a guide and always let your insurer know!
- Always carry your phone because if you get into difficulty, call 112 in an emergency!
The UK Foreign Office is currently running a #SkiSafe Campaign which we fully support and encourage holidaymakers to follow their guidance.
Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch states:
"I have always enjoyed my trips to the dry-slopes and the real slopes; it is a holiday like no other! However, as winter sports holidays become ever more popular it is vital that Consumers take some responsibility for themselves and ensure that they are well prepared before they go and that they respect and understand the safety issues whilst away! Our survey reveals a deficit at the heart of this holiday-type; Consumers must not limit themselves to the gloss of the brochure - do that research - understand that this is a very different type of holiday - if you take that simple step, this experience will reward you many times over!"