By Vicky Anscombe on 11 December 2015

Having your kit stolen or damaged is bound to put a dampener on your winter sports holiday - so how can you protect yourself?

The Ski Club of Great Britain has done some research into winter sports theft, and discovered that one in eight people - that’s 13% of winter sports holidaymakers - have had their ski or snowboard equipment stolen during a trip.

The research also shows that 70% of skiers and snowboarders own their own ski or snowboard kit, and over a third value it at £500-£800 - so theft is a very expensive problem.

Despite the financial and practical hassle of losing your kit while on holiday, the research showed that winter sports fans aren’t great at looking after their kit. 61% make no attempt to mark or identify it, and a quarter don’t put their kit somewhere safe when they leave their skis or snowboard unattended. Something to bear in mind when you stop for lunch or you’re having a few drinks when the day is over.

Opportunistic thieves tend to find easy pickings, as only one in 20 people use lockers to store their equipment. So, how can you take some steps towards protecting your kit? The Ski Club of Great Britain has some recommendations to keep it safe.

  • Always mark your kit with a UV or infrared pen, and use your initials or driving licence details. UV and infra red ink is invisible to thieves, but it’ll mark out your gear if someone tries to sell it on
  • Make a note of the serial number on your kit - if it’s stolen, the police will want these so they can track your kit
  • If you’re renting kit, note down the serial number on skis or boards or the number on the hire shop code sticker
  • Always use lockers and secure storage areas in hotels and bars if they’re available, and add your phone number to equipment, so it can be easily returned if it’s taken by accident
  • Take a picture or make a note of where you leave your kit to avoid a long search after lunch or dinner, and to avoid embarrassing mix-ups with other skiers’ kits
  • If you and a friend or partner mix up your skis to deter thieves, make sure each mismatched pair is placed far away from the other
  • Good quality ski and snowboard locks are a great deterrent

We know that losing your equipment can be distressing and can potentially ruin your trip, so we’ve included up to £1,000 worth of cover for winter sports equipment if it’s lost or stolen.

Alison Wild, Head of Marketing for Columbus Direct, says: “We’d all like to think that our fellow skiers and snowboarders are just looking for thrills on the slopes, but sadly, that’s not always the case. It’s a great idea to protect your kit as much as possible when you’re on the mountains, but in case the worst happens, we’ll be able to help you cover your lost or stolen equipment.”

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