Five-time Olympian Graham Bell shares his top ten tips for a safe trip this winterVideo is part of FCO/ABTA winter sport holidays campaign
“It’s fantastic to see so many Brits heading off each winter to take part in the sport I love. There’s a wide range of resorts to choose from across Europe and North America, and it’s great to see so many of my compatriots getting involved.
“Most of the time, nobody will run into any trouble, but to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, it’s important to stay vigilant on your winter sports break. There have been 58 British deaths in the last four years relating to skiing and snowboarding holidays, and many more injuries and hospitalisations, and so being prepared is key.
“But far from wanting to discourage people from going away this year, I just want to make sure that everyone is taking the necessary precautions to make their trip as fun as possible. Have a look at my top tips for some of the main things to take note of both on and off the slopes.”
Insurance and other tips
Make sure your insurance policy covers all of the winter sports activities that you are planning to do and remember to take your free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) along with you, for necessary treatment at public hospitals in Europe.
- Get fit for the slopes by doing ski-specific exercises that work the quads, glutes, and core. Try to include balance and co-ordination into your work-out
- If you’re a first time skier, make sure you pick a resort that is suitable and will help you to progress. Look for lots of blue runs, and a beginners’ area close to town
- Use the right equipment including a properly fitting helmet
- When you’re on the slopes make sure you are using appropriate safety equipment, and familiarise yourself with the International Ski Federation guidelines so that you don’t put yourself at risk of a collision
- Don’t forget the sunscreen! You can burn in the mountains even in the middle of winter because of the reflection from the snow
- Make sure you’ve got appropriate footwear for use off the slopes, or get yourself a pair of rubber snow grips to put over your shoes
- Keep in mind that alcohol and winter sports don’t mix. The effects of alcohol are multiplied at altitude, so save it for the après-ski
- If you’re heading out in the evening, make sure to stick together with friends and family. Temperatures can drop dramatically at night, so you don’t want to end up getting lost