Every year millions of winter sports enthusiasts set off for their holidays full of excitement and anticipation but sadly for many the trip ends in disaster. Serious accidents and fatalities are all too common on the slopes and it is imperative that you take every possible precaution to protect yourself against becoming another victim of a tragic accident. So what do you need to do to give yourself the best chance of a happy holiday?
It is absolutely essential that you take out travel insurance and check that the cover offered is suitable for your trip. Many accidents on the slopes result in costly medical treatment, prolonged hospital stays and the need for specialised transportation home. Do not leave yourself at risk of having to cover the costs of these services yourself or you could find yourself paying for them for many years to come.
Be aware of your own fitness and state of health and do not attempt activities that are beyond your capabilities. Also consider having a check-up before you leave as you may be suffering from a condition you are not yet aware of. Many winter sports incidents are the result of heart attacks which can often prove fatal if you are out of the reach of swift medical attention.
Know Your Limits
Always be aware of your own capabilities and don’t be tempted to try things that are beyond your limits. If the group you are with are venturing into places you are not comfortable with do not follow them. Stay within your comfort zone and seek professional instruction to help you improve rather than experimenting on your own.
Most skiing and snowboarding accidents are the results of collisions. Always be aware of others on the piste and don’t ski inappropriately fast when much slower skiers are around you.
Be very careful about your alcohol consumption before taking to the slopes. If you have had a night of heavy drinking your judgement and reactions may still be impaired the following morning causing you to become a danger to others and yourself.
Skiing off-piste is a hazardous endeavour and should really only be undertaken if you are an expert on the region or are accompanied by a guide. If you do go off-piste make sure someone knows where you are going and always take a shovel and a transceiver. Be aware of the avalanche risk in the area. Most avalanches are triggered by skiers so acquaint yourself with what to do if you are threatened by one and if the risk is high stay away!
Wear appropriate clothing to keep you warm and dry and if you are wandering off-piste take a transceiver and a GPS device in case you get lost or are buried by an avalanche. Given that even amateurs on the slopes can reach speeds in excess of 60 mph it is incredible how many people do not wear ski helmets. Most fatalities on the slopes are the result of severe head trauma so get yourself a helmet and wear it every day!
If you stay within your limits, respect the terrain and keep alert you can avoid most potential disasters on the slopes and enjoy a great holiday. Don’t leave home without adequate insurance and the right safety equipment and be careful what you drink!
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Sally S writes on a wide range of topics including extreme sports and travel. New to skiing, Sally will no doubt be taking her own advice on some of the points above on her ski trip in 2013! You can find out more about Sally Stacey via her Google+ profile.