FCO Issues Ski Safe Advice

As the ever popular ski season gets underway, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued its annual Ski Safe campaign.

So, to make sure your skiing holiday stays on piste, check out the following advice before you go:

Pre-Ski Fitness
Skiing, whilst brilliant fun, can take its toll on your body. Even the fittest skier can find themselves with a few aches and pains because you‘re using different muscles than normal. The FCO recommends a daily regime of ski-fit exercises, starting a few weeks before you travel.

There are some great online, easy-to-follow exercises you can do from the comfort of your home, desk and office.

Travel Insurance
As with any holiday – city, sun or ski – travel insurance is essential!

Forget thinking that it‘s purely to cover your bags, it‘s about being adequately covered for your health. When you go on a skiing holiday, you must purchase Winter Sports cover, and be sure to check that you are covered for damage to rental equipment as well as off-piste skiing without a guide. Be aware that most policies nowadays require you to wear a helmet.

In addition to Winter Sports travel insurance, if you‘re skiing within the EU, take your EHIC card. This entitles each cardholder to emergency medical treatment as if a national – do note these cards expire every five years so make sure each member of your travelling party has an up-to-date card.

NB – an EHIC is NOT a substitute for travel insurance!

Après Ski
As much as we all like a warming tipple, or two, it‘s essential to know your limits when it comes to mixing skiing and alcohol.  Skiing whilst under the influence is extremely dangerous. What‘s more, you will not be covered on your travel insurance policy. And even the hardiest of drinkers must remember that at high altitude, alcohol works much faster.

As previously mentioned, many insurance companies stipulate that you must wear a helmet at all times whilst skiing. However, regardless of your travel insurance’s rules, the FCO recommends that all skiers wear them.

Whilst it is your choice, check with the resort you are visiting as many resorts now impose the compulsory wearing of helmets for children.

Sun Screen
Sun tan lotion and sun block isn‘t exclusively for use on beach holidays. In fact, the sun is very dangerous in ski resorts as it is reflected off the snow. Faces should be covered in high-factor sun cream, minimum of SPF30 – and don‘t forget your lips too! 

When purchasing goggles make sure they have a 100% UV protection guarantee.

Know the Piste Code
If you‘re new to skiing, please be aware that there will be a great many choices of ski runs in your resort. Each will have a different degree of difficultly and experience level.

In an easy-to-follow guide, all ski resorts follow the same International coding system.

Please note that some runs will alter during the course of a day, or during heavy snowfall.  Therefore, you must always check each and every time you set off on a ski run that you are skiing at the correct level, even if you‘ve skied the run before.

The code is as follows:

  • Green = easy
  • Blue = intermediate
  • Red = difficult
  • Black = for expereince, competent skiiers only

Off-Piste Skiing
Again, reverting back to your travel insurance policy, if you plan to ski off piste, do ensure you are covered for off-piste skiing even if you have Winter Sports cover. Many policies will only cover you if you are with a fully-qualified guide.

If you are heading out to the slopes ensure you are fully prepared and have the correct equipment, including an avalanche transceiver, a probe pole and a shovel, the FCO advises.

And finally...
Don’t forget to book your Gatwick meet and greet parking before you travel.