Skiing can be exhilarating, life-affirming and tremendous fun, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions. Between two and three of every thousand skiers end up requiring medical treatment, and 90% of avalanches involving skiers are caused by individuals travelling on unstable snow cover.
The need to stay safe whilst hitting the slopes is therefore clear – but what tips should you follow?
1. Stay within your limits
Don’t be tempted to tackle a trail or slope that’s above your skill level, even if your more advanced companions are champing at the bit. Always ensure you are in control and able to stop to avoid hazards and other people. Be courteous and mindful of other skiers and obey posted warnings and signs.
Don’t go off-piste unless you are totally confident in your abilities. Remember there are inherent dangers involved in taking to unsecured runs, and even experienced skiers can be injured on this unpredictable terrain.
2. Use the right equipment
Many skiers (and insurers) consider helmets to be mandatory nowadays, and in conjunction with goggles, they can be a vital piece of safety equipment. Ensure your ski boots are a perfect fit, and make sure your bindings are properly adjusted too. Appropriate clothing is a must and depending on the circumstances, sun block may also be needed. Electronic gizmos, such as phones and GPS equipment can come in handy if you find yourself in difficult situations too, so always make sure you’re prepared.
3. Leave the après-ski until after skiing
For many people, ordering a drink or two after a hard day on the slopes is the perfect way to unwind. Just like driving a car however, you should never ski while under the influence of alcohol. Even a glass of wine can impair your reactions and judgement, potentially putting yourself and other skiers at risk. It’s also worth mentioning that most ski and travel insurance policies will have clauses, meaning your cover may be invalid if you were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
4. Take necessary training
Signing up for ski lessons can be beneficial, whatever level you’re at. If you’re a novice then proper training is essential, but even experienced skiers can benefit from polishing their skills and technique with a professional lesson. Ski resorts employ professional instructors to help with this, but you could also hit the dry slopes found in the UK to give yourself a head start.
5. Stay in a reputable resort
Taking all inclusive ski holidays at a reputable resort means you have access to good quality facilities, both on and off the slopes. These can include ski lifts and rental equipment, professional instruction, safety monitoring and emergency and medical services should something go wrong – the perfect way to stay safe.