New research reveals that a third of people taking their first winter sports holiday risk serious injury because they are not sufficiently in shape when they hit the slopes.
The research also reveals that two out of five winter sports enthusiasts have injured themselves at least once, highlighting the importance of getting in shape and warming up properly before skiing or snowboarding. Of those who had injured themselves
- 31% suffered a significant injury such as a leg break or muscle tear
- 73% of injuries were caused by a fall
- 20% of injuries were caused by colliding with someone else on the slope
- 38% of those surveyed also risked serious head injuries by not wearing a helmet
The risk of winter sports injuries climbs steadily with age; 70% of those aged 65-74 have suffered some form of injury.
To help holidaymakers stay safe, the FCO and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) have produced a Winter Sports Checklist [PDF 380kb], which contains guidance and advice.
ABTA has also produced a leaflet - How to have a safe and healthy holiday in the snow [PDF 308kb].
ABTA research also found that a third of winter sports holidaymakers do not take out travel insurance that includes specific winter sports cover. This, combined with people not physically preparing, suggests that a significant number of holidaymakers risk sky high medical bills if they injure themselves on the slopes.
“We strongly advise anyone going on a winter sports holiday to ensure their travel insurance policy covers them for all winter sports activities,” said Lynda St Cooke of the FCO. “We see many cases where British nationals have ended up with massive debts at the end of their holiday because their policy didn’t cover them for what they were doing.”
“It’s important to have an up to date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as well as comprehensive travel insurance and to read the small print,” she continued, “as most insurance policies will not cover you if, for example, you ski off-piste or have an accident under the influence of alcohol.”