Winter Sports Safety Advice

Seasoned Skier, Savvy Snowboarder or First timer, be sure to take extreme care when you’re on your winter sports holiday.

While we don’t wish to be a killjoy, remember that although winter sports are exhilarating, they are also dangerous, so check out the following advice to make sure your holiday is fun both on and off piste.

Pre-Ski Fitness
Many winter sports enthusiasts spend most of their year inactive, stuck behind a desk, so when they hit the slopes it’s the first exercise they have taken all year.

Winter sports are fun but are tough on the body, so get ski fit before you go. Go for a jog a few times a week, go swimming, or take a class at your local sports centre. You can also try searching online for some leg-strengthening exercises to do at home or at the coffee machine at work.

Alcohol Effects
The effects of alcohol are far more severe at high altitude, so alcohol will get into your bloodstream far quicker than when you are at home – the effects can last longer too. As a result, your judgement could be impaired – you may not realise just how cold you are or increased bravado may mean you try harder runs that could lead to serious injury. Try to limit your alcoholic intake, at the least, during the day.

Many travel insurance companies now require skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets – failure to do so could invalidate your policy. In some resorts, it is a legal requirement to wear a helmet – check before you travel. It’s also a requirement that all children wear helmets whilst taking part in winter sports.

Sun Protection
You could be forgiven for thinking that, as you’re not on a beach, you don’t need sun protection? However, at high altitude you are far more exposed to harmful rays. Therefore, put a sunblock across all exposed areas, especially your face.

UV Protection Goggles and Sunglasses
Again, because you are more exposed to harmful rays at the higher altitude, make sure you invest in high quality, 100% UV protection sunglasses and goggles. They may be expensive but your eyesight is priceless!

Winter Sports Travel Insurance
Don’t forget that if you’re taking part in winter sports you MUST tell your travel insurance provider – regular travel insurance won’t suffice, so you could find you are uninsured, risking your health, your belongings, and your finances should the worst happen.

International Ski Federation’s Rules of Conduct
For the safety of all of those enjoying the slopes, remember the International Ski Federation’s Rules of Conduct:

  1. Respect
    Be courteous towards other skiers and snowboarders – do not endanger others.
  2. Control
    Consider your ability and speed and adapt your skiing to the conditions on the mountain.
  3. Choice of Route
    Remember, the person in front of you has priority – leave plenty of space.
  4. Overtaking
    Leave plenty of space when overtaking anyone else on the slopes.
  5. Entering and starting
    Look both ways (upwards and downwards) when joining a slope.
  6. Stopping
    If you need to stop, do so only at the edge of the piste or where you can easily be seen.
  7. Climbing or descending
    Keep to the edge of the piste when climbing up or down.
  8. Respect for signs
    Make yourself familiar with all signs and markings, and obey at all times.
  9. Assistance
    In the event of an accident, provide help and alert the rescue service.
  10. Identification
    Anyone involved in an accident, including witnesses, must exchange names and addresses.

If you are skiing this season, stay safe, have a great time and don't forget Help Me Park for your Gatwick meet and greet!

Don't forget, most off-airport parking companies cannot accommodate skis and snowboards on their shuttle buses, so to ensure you can get your snow equipment to the airport, make sure you book meet and greet parking.

For more information and advice on skiing, check the FCO Be Safe on the Slopes campaign