By Dale Western on 01 January 2010

Skiing and snowboarding are fantastic fun and great exercise but safety precautions are paramount whether you're a seasoned professional or a beginner. We've put together some safety tips that will hopefully help your winter holiday be the thrilling experience you hoped for.

  • Be aware of all mountain users around you and know the mountain rules. These may change slightly from area to area so make sure you know them.
  • Skiers ahead of you have right way. If you overtake make sure you allow them plenty of room in case they make an unexpected manoeuvre.
  • Take suitable account of the particular terrain of your mountain and the conditions, and be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
  • Always know your ability. Many accidents occur because skiers or snowboarders try to do things they just can't do well enough.
  • Obey all signs and markers on the slopes and never ski down a closed run.
  • Try to avoid other skiers and obstructions as much as possible and stay in control.
  • When starting a downhill run look both ways and especially uphill for any traffic.
  • Always respect other mountain users and behave in a way that does not endanger you or anyone around you.
  • Dress in layers so that you regulate your temperature and don't get too cold or too warm.
  • Wear sun protection. Don't underestimate the sun when you're on the ski slopes even on cloudy days - the rays that reflect off the snow are always stronger than you think!
  • Wear eye protection - you should have good quality sunglasses, goggles and sun screen.
  • Find out how to use the ski lifts safely including how to get on and off the lifts.
  • Be aware of the snow conditions and how they can change very quickly.
  • Make sure you warm up and down thoroughly. Spend a few minutes stretching your hamstrings, thigh muscles and calves before entering the slopes as well as after finishing your activity.
  • Try to avoid drinking too much alcohol at lunchtime. Its effects can be heightened at altitude.
  • If you do fall, don't try to get up until you have stopped sliding. This will reduce the risk of serious knee injury.
  • If you witness an accident be aware that you are duty bound to help the ski patrol with any information.

We also strongly advise you to buy appropriate Ski Insurance or Snowboarding Insurance as soon as you book your winter sports holiday.

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