This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Simon Tucker, British Consul to Bulgaria, said:
Every winter we provide assistance to British nationals who are injured following winter sports related accidents in Bulgaria. Many of these may have been preventable, I hope that British nationals use our top tips to stay safe on the slopes to have a fun and trouble free holiday in Bulgaria.
As well as providing top tips, we are working closely with tourist offices, town halls, police, hospitals and medical centres, Bulgarian Red Cross Mountain Rescue Team, tour operators and resort management in the main Bulgarian ski resorts.
In the run up to Christmas and the start of the winter sports season, we’ll be working even closer in the ski resorts with the tour operators and local authorities ensuring they are aware of our top tips and that we are working together to help British nationals. We’ll also be distributing stocks of flyers specifically aimed at the British skiing and snow-boarding community, detailing our top tips.
This year we’re focusing on getting across a specific message about the potentially dangerous effects of alcohol at altitude and in sub-zero temperatures, our message is #BeSafeOnTheSlopes.
Our top tips for a safe ski holiday
Take out insurance – and check what it covers. It might not cover off piste skiing unless you are with a qualified guide.
Have a medical check-up before you ski – one of the major causes of hospitalisation and death on the slopes is heart attacks.
Don’t drink and ski. Alcohol can affect you more quickly at high altitudes and dangerously limits your awareness of risk and cold. Drinking and then skiing also risks invalidating your travel insurance.
Most skiing injuries are caused by collisions with other skiers – watch your speed and distance.
Don’t attempt slopes you’re not experienced or fit enough to tackle, even if you’re encouraged or pressured to do so by friends.
If going off piste, carry a shovel, a probe and a transceiver in case of an avalanche. Also remember that you need proper training on how to use a transceiver.
If you are going out on a glacier, you must wear a harness. If you fall into a crevasse, this will help the rescue team get you out.
Make sure someone knows where you’re going and tell them of any changes to your plans.
Only go off piste skiing or climbing with someone you have met previously and can trust. You need to know their capabilities, what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going.
Dial 112 for emergency services in Bulgaria.
Many insurers insist you wear a helmet. Protect your head and your policy.
This is part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Know Before You Go campaign which encourages British nationals to prepare for their foreign travel so they can avoid preventable problems. Click here for a full holiday checklist.
In the last season the consular team in Bulgaria assisted 10 British Nationals who had been hospitalised after a serious injury sustained through winter sports, 10 visitors who were victims of assaults, 2 visitors who were arrested and 1 death in a ski resort.
If things go wrong during your trip to Bulgaria, dial 112 for the Emergency services. If you need consular assistance, call our Embassy on +359 933 92 22 (24hrs).