When the ski season is looming, it is important to make sure that you are fully prepared to take to the pistes.
As most of us lead rather sedentary lives, being outdoors and active for more than a few hours a day will be a shock to the system. This can lead to avoidable injuries and it is easy to take some sensible steps before hand to physically prepare for your holiday. It is relatively easy to find guidance on simple exercise to carry out in the weeks before an activity holiday to ensure you are prepared. No one wants to spend their holiday laid up with a broken arm, leg or worse.
You also need to be aware of the risks posed by others on the piste as the majority of claims I deal with result from collisions with others. Make sure you are aware of the FIS rules which offer guidance on how to stay safe on the piste. For example, if you stop on the piste make sure you stop on the side of the piste where you are clearly visible. Don’t stop just over the brow of a hill where no one can see you.
Take care of those skiing below you on the piste. It is for the uphill skier to avoid those skiing below. If people are taking regular turns this shouldn’t be an issue. If people are skiing erratically given them a wide berth to avoid colliding should they suddenly change course.
Skiing is hard work. No one wants to waste their precious holiday time but if you are feeling tired then take a rest. You are more likely to injure yourself when you are tired and not concentrating. Getting on and off a ski lift can be a challenge at the best of times let alone at the end of a long day. No one wants to see anyone dragged under a chair lift because they couldn’t alight safely. Don’t ski beyond your ability, it wont be fun and no one will mind if you sit it out in a cafe with a hot chocolate.
On that note, be careful with those cheeky beers or mulled wine at lunch. If you are at fault for an accident your insurer may not deal with any claim against you if it is found you were under the influence of alcohol.
Keep this in mind when you head out for some après ski action. At altitude your body can react differently to alcohol and you also need to factor in the possible subzero temperatures. Wrap up before you head out and make sure you can make your way safely to your accommodation.
Make sure have suitable insurance before you travel. Check the policy covers you for skiing, snowboarding and any other activity you intend to undertake. Many policies will not cover you if you are skiing off piste or without a helmet. Some do not cover tobogganing or other similar activities so check the wording carefully.
In short, take the time to read the small print.
What to do if you do have an accident
If the unfortunate occurs and you do have an accident there are a few steps to remember.
- Make sure you have your insurance details with you. Keep them tucked into an inside pocket or on your phone.
- Take the name and contact details of others involved. If there are any independent witnesses take their details as well.
- Take photos of the accident location and note the name of the piste. Keep any GoPro footage you may have if you or any of your group is involved in an accident. This can be invaluable evidence if the responsible party decides to deny liability.
- Make sure the accident is properly reported to the police or local authority either at the time if the matter is serious or before you leave the resort to return home.
- Take details of the police department you speak with and ask for a copy of any report they prepare. It is also useful to obtain a copy of any piste report from the piste service. It is always easier to deal with these matters whilst you are in resort than when you return home.
With these helpful hints hopefully everyone will have a fun season skiing.
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