Tips for Staying Safe on Your Ski Trip

Skiing is an incredibly popular winter sport enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities in many European countries. And although we are not blessed with snow-capped mountains and powdered pistes in Ireland, trips to one of the many ski resorts across Europe have become increasingly popular with Irish tourists in recent years. If you’re’ having difficulty choosing a destination for your skiing or snowboarding holiday you can read up on the best ski resorts in Europe.

Although it may seem like a risky pursuit, with the right precautions, skiing can be an incredibly enjoyable and safe sport. So to help you stay safe on your next ski holiday, we have put together some helpful safety advice and top tips and tricks for skiing beginners and experts alike.

The International Ski Federation Has a Code of Ski Conduct

First and foremost the FIS (International Ski Federation) has created 10 rules of ski and snowboard conduct that all ski resort users should comply with. Although they are all intuitive and relatively straightforward, it is still worth familiarizing yourself with these rules before you set off on your ski adventure. The rules, which include maintaining control of your speed and course, respecting the rights of others on the slopes, and taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, are designed to ensure safe and enjoyable skiing for everyone. 

Think Long and Hard About Your Ski Equipment

When it comes to ski trips, preparation is key. Before you hit the slopes, you'll need to make sure you have the right gear. For those who are new to skiing, hiring is often the best option, as it is both affordable and convenient. You can find rental stores close to the ski resorts, but be sure to get a recommendation from the resort staff to make sure you rent from a reliable company. If you decide to purchase your own equipment, be sure to buy it from a reputable, authorised store. Choosing second-hand equipment, whether online or in a classified ad, isn't recommended, as you may not be familiar with the ski gear. If you already own your own equipment, have it checked by a technician before your ski trip to avoid any dangers on the slopes. We put together a packing list of what to bring skiing so you can be well prepared for every eventuality.

Skiing Equipment Safety

Whether you purchase or rent your equipment, an essential part of ski safety is that you have your bindings set correctly. A binding is the device which attaches your ski boot to your ski and they have a built in safety mechanism to prevent injury which releases the ski if you fall or have an accident.

The force with which the binding releases must be set by a technician based on your weight, height and even skiing ability. If it is too low, your ski may come lose prematurely. If it is too high, you run the risk of serious injury. As such, we highly recommend that your bindings are set and checked by an experienced technician before you ski.

Wear A Helmet To Protect From Head Injuries

Ski helmets have become increasingly common on the ski slopes of Europe in recent years, but some riders still refuse to wear them. This is despite the fact that more than half of all serious ski injuries and fatalities are caused by head injuries. As such, we strongly recommend that you and everyone in your party wear a properly fitting and suitable ski helmet at all times on the slopes. You should look to use a helmet that has MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology.

"A review of research by EuroSafe has shown that wearing a ski helmet can reduce your risk of suffering a head injury by up to 45%, making this one a no brainer in our opinion."

Get To Know The Ski Areas

Welcome to the resort! As soon as you arrive, it's important to get to know the area and familiarise yourself with the terrain. To make sure you don't get lost, make sure to consult a map and take it with you before you hit the slopes. It's also important to check the weather forecast regularly and be aware of your surroundings. If you're a beginner, make sure to learn and memorise the signs and markings you'll encounter on and near the piste - they're essential for ski safety. Lastly, keep in mind the effects of altitude on your body. Even if the resort isn't particularly high, the change in altitude can still make you tired and fatigued more quickly, so take it slow and give yourself time to adjust.

Get In Shape and Know Your limits

Are you ready to hit the slopes and experience the thrill of skiing? Before you do, make sure you're in tip-top shape! Skiing is a sport that requires a lot of strength, endurance and agility, and enjoying a day on the slopes can be as physically exhausting as it is exhilarating. One thing you can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip is to make an effort to get in shape. Regular exercise will help you build strength and endurance, and reduce your risk of injury. Strengthening the muscles in your legs is especially important, as leg injuries are common among skiers.

If you're new to skiing, it's best to take a few lessons from a qualified instructor before you hit the slopes. Once you have the basics down, stick to ski runs that are suitable for beginners. Even if experienced skiers are in your party, resist the temptation to join them on more advanced slopes and stay within your comfort zone.

When you're skiing, know when to call it a day. Don't succumb to the "just one more run" attitude and ski while tired or as the weather worsens. Save some energy for the next day and make sure you have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Beware The Dangers of Skiing Off-Piste

As the ski resorts of Europe become busier and busier and changing weather conditions means less snow on the slopes for everyone to enjoy, off-piste skiing has become increasingly popular. Off-piste skiing involves leaving the boundaries of the resort in search of more remote locations which offer deeper and steeper snow and more challenging conditions.

While the attraction of off-piste skiing may be apparent, it also comes with considerable risk. We recommend that you leave this pursuit to the highly skilled and experienced skiers and enjoy all that the resort has to offer instead.

"If you absolutely have to ski off-piste, make sure you have all of the necessary safety equipment including a transceiver, shovel and probe. Never under any circumstances should you go off-piste alone and always make sure to tell others where you intend to go and when you will be back."

Ski Insurance

Last, but certainly not least, make sure that your ski travel insurance is valid and up to date as there are many risks associated when travelling without the correct insurance. While insurance can’t prevent you from having an injury, it can prevent you from being landed with a nasty hospital bill. You can add ski insurance to all of our great value travel insurance packages. Even better, if you purchase a multi-trip insurance policy from AIG, you get up to 17 days of winter sports cover absolutely free. To see our latest deals on ski insurance or to get a quote, visit our ski and winter sports travel insurance page now.


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