Ski Holiday Safety Advice

Snow. Something that most of us in the UK dread – it disrupts traffic, freezes pipes and can generally make life a misery.

But in the French Alps, Austria, Switzerland or even the USA, it's an entirely different matter as we eagerly pour over the newspapers for snow conditions as our winter break approaches.

According to AA Travel Insurance, an increasing number of Brits set off for the slopes without sports holiday insurance.

Head-on colliders

Britain's biggest ski magazine, 'The Good Ski Guide' has already warned that accidents on the piste are increasing – especially amongst ski-boarders. And the most common accidents are collisions between boarders and skiers.

Says Christain Young, director of AA Travel Insurance: "There's no question that planning your break – choosing the resort, your chalets or hotels and flights, as well as sorting out your ski or boarding equipment are great fun as they sharpens your anticipation of the holiday ahead.

"But you mustn't neglect the most important purchase of all - your winter sports cover."

Sloping off

Young points out that a record number of Brits are expected to set off for the slopes this winter.

"Unfortunately, that means more accidents and the rather unpalatable reality is that if you have an accident on the slopes it could cost you and your family thousands of pounds without insurance"

John Hill, Editor of 'The Good Ski Guide' adds: "There has been a steady rise in the number of people choosing skiing and snowboarding holidays over the past 10 years and and the recession doesn't seem to be affecting bookings.

"With more people enjoying the sport, the pistes are becoming increasingly crowded and therefore accidents are on the increase too."

Forking out

Fortunately, most collisions result in little more than dented pride and a few bruises. But if it's worse, it could cost a fortune.

Treatment for a broken leg in the USA, an increasingly popular winter sports destination, can cost around £10,000 and in Europe around £4,000. Serious claims can be in excess of £15,000 is helicopter and hospital fees are taken into account.

And that's quite apart from chartering a flight home if you can't travel on a scheduled flight because of your injuries.

Says Young: "Many people don't realise that collisions on the slopes are dealt with in much the same way as a car accident.

"If a collision is clearly your fault, you could well be held personally liable so insurance is absolutely fundamental. It's the same as with car insurance - it's there to protect others just as much as protecting you."

Top ski tips

AA Travel Insurance suggests a few simple points to help make sure you enjoy your holiday – and get home again in one piece.

  1. Only attempt runs suitable for your ability.
  2. Take some lessons if you're a beginner or you want a refresher.
  3. Pay attention to signs and markers on the slopes.
  4. Leave plenty of space when overtaking anther skier or boarder.
  5. Only stop at the edge of the piste or where you can easily be seen.
  6. Ski/snowboard on the marked runs - these are protected from unexpected alpine dangers.
  7. Ensure you and your party have a piste map and don't stray from the main area.
  8. Don't ski alone - there's safety in numbers.
  9. Do some exercise and get fit before you go.
  10. 'Apres ski' is just that: avoid alcohol until you have finished skiing/boarding for the day!

All winter sports single trip and annual multi-trip policies can be bought by telephone or online and all policies now include financial failure holiday protection.

For full information visit or call 0845 092 1729.


Last updated: 10 April 2013

AA Travel Insurance is arranged by Automobile Association Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: Fanum House, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 4EA. Registered company number 2414212 England and Wales.

You can check the FSA Register or call the FSA on 0845 606 1234.

AA Travel Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc, except for Section 32 Financial Failure Holiday Protection, which is underwritten by International Passenger Protection Limited.