Outdoors Magazine

Braving the Slopes in 2013

By Simplypiste @simplypiste

Braving the slopes in 2013

The dawn of a new year generally signals that everybody is ready to put the cold winter hues of November and December behind them. With Christmas out of the way, it will be time to start unpacking t-shirts and shorts before we know it, ready for spring.

However, it is important to remember that we are still in the early months of the year. It certainly won’t be t-shirt and shorts weather for a few months yet and it won’t come as a surprise to feel a cold chill in the air as we make our way to work every morning. However for some, winter is the best time of year.

Winter sport

It is certainly a fantastic time of year for those looking to go on a winter sport holiday. Skiing and snowboarding holidays offer unparalleled levels of fun and can also be a great exercise tactic in the winter months as well. Andorra, Austria and France can all offer exceptional skiing experiences thanks to their mountainous landscape and below-freezing temperatures.

This may sound like stratospheric levels of fun – and believe me, it is - but before jumping into a skiing holiday with both feet first, it’s important to know some of the health risks involved.

Health and safety

Provided would-be skiers go through proper training and have the right equipment, skiing can actually be a very safe sport. Around three participants in every 1,000 need medical attention, which is much lower than a game of football, where injuries are commonplace. However, without the right training, getting injured en-piste is likely.

First, it’s important that any holidaymaker on their way to a winter skiing holiday takes out winter sports travel insurance. Most accidents occur due to sheer recklessness either on yours or another person’s behalf and bumps, grazes and ligament injuries are not uncommon. Shoulder, wrist and arm injuries are also prevalent among snowboarders. Insurance can help deal with medical bills for such injuries as well as lost equipment, depending on the type of cover.

Having the right equipment while on the slopes can also help holidaymakers to stay safe. Get your equipment checked by a reputable hire company or purchase your own items based on a rep’s recommendation.

It is also important for beginner skiers to stay on the starter slopes. This way, entry-level skiers can familiarise themselves with the slopes in the company of other like-minded beginners. Heading straight for the black runs (expert slopes) will only end in tears at the very least. Control your speed and ski within your own ability in order to ensure your ski trip ends with smiles all round.


Finally, it’s important to be cautious of the weather. As well as being extremely cold, sunburn (yes, sunburn) is also a frequent ailment of beginner skiers. Wrap up warm and make sure protective goggles are worn in order to protect your body from both the cold mountainous chill and the sun’s blazing rays. Clothes filled with down, Polartec or other insulation materials often offer the best protection.

Also, don’t forget your woolly hat!

About the Author: David Smithson loves to ski and has made a trip at least every other year since he was 12 years old so he’s used to preparing. David writes on behalf of winter sports travel insurer Holidaysafe.

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