05 December 2012We urge winter sports holidaymakers to know their limits before hitting the slopes.
We are launching a campaign aimed at Britons visiting European winter sports resorts this winter, to explain the dangers of attempting slopes beyond your level of ability, or going off piste without the correct safety equipment.
If you’re heading off on a ski or snowboarding holiday this winter, don’t put yourself at risk by trying to keep up with more experienced members of your party. The number of reported accidents on French slopes in 2012 was high, including seven deaths out of 12 serious incidents*.
According to new research from the FCO**, the majority of British nationals who go on winter sports holidays class themselves as beginner or intermediate. Only 1% of respondents classed themselves as expert.
Nearly two thirds (65%) of winter sports travellers admitted they would ski or snowboard on slopes above their experience in order to stay with a group. More than half (53%) also said they would follow a group of mates off piste.
Seventy per cent admitted they do not always wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding, and one in five (21%) said they wouldn’t wear a helmet if others in their group weren’t.
Simon Taylor, Consul, based in Marseille, said:
“Last year we saw a high number of British nationals end up in hospital with serious injuries. Sadly this included a number of deaths. Many of these accidents can be prevented by taking simple precautionary steps."
“Don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll be fine if you’re with more experienced skiers or snowboarders. It is significant that a large number of cases we have dealt with have involved off piste skiing."
“Those lucky enough to survive an accident and end up in hospital can face months of recovery, so it is important to think carefully beforehand about the very real risks out there.”
Over a third (38%) of winter sports holidaymakers admitted that they don’t always take out travel insurance. One in three (31%) also said they don’t always check their policy to ensure they are covered for winter sports activities.
Simon Taylor continued:
“Many people will be unaware that failing to wear a helmet or skiing off piste can invalidate some insurance policies, so if something does go wrong you could end up with hefty medical bills. In many cases family members then have to help with funds which can put a huge strain on families."
“The FCO cannot pay for hospital treatment or for medical repatriation back to the UK, which is why it is so important to check your insurance covers you for everything you want to do.”
For further tips and advice on preparing for travel abroad, visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel
*Figures taken from FCO 2011/12 consular assistance data
**Survey conducted by ICM. Total sample size was 2,023 UK adults aged 18 and over. Fieldwork was undertaken in November 2012. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults aged 18 and over.
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