In collaboration with the FCO, Columbus Direct have produced a video outlining the results of a survey (Ski season 2011/2012) of winter sports holiday makers and advice on how to be safe on the slopes.

Columbus Direct is one of over 500 travel industry partners that supports the FCO’s – Know Before You Go campaign – whose aim is to help Brits stay safe and healthy abroad.

And with the ski season in full flow, the Know Before You Go team has sent us the results of a recent survey of winter sports holiday makers.

The survey revealed that:

  • 22% admitted they don’t always read the small print of their travel insurance policy
  • 36% had previously injured themselves on a winter sports holiday
  • 40% are considering going off-piste on their next holiday
  • 18% admit to taking to the slopes while under the influence of alcohol
  • 65% also wished they’d been in better shape during a previous winter sports holiday

Unfortunately every year the FCO see numerous incidents where families are faced with huge medical bills following an accident on the slopes. This is often because people have not taken out travel insurance, or have not read the small print of their policy. The costs of an accident on the slopes can be significant – for example a fractured leg in the United States could land you with a medical bill of up to £40,000 and a knee injury in Austria could set you back £8,000.

Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said:

“We strongly advise anyone hitting the slopes this winter to take out comprehensive travel insurance and make sure you have an up-to-date EHIC card. Don’t forget to check the small print – most insurance policies will not cover you if you’re under the influence of alcohol or venture off-piste. If you’re unlucky enough to have an accident and you’re not covered, you could find yourself thousands of pounds out of pocket.”

And in regards to getting in shape before you head off to the slopes, Aidan Harington, Head of Snow School at SNO!zone in Castleford, advises:

“Winter sports holidays can be great fun, but of course like with any sport there can be risks involved. But with the right tuition, from qualified instructors, and if the sport is carried out in a safe and responsible manner you can reduce your chances of running into trouble. Not getting the correct instruction beforehand is just not worth the risk…taking a few lessons and getting some sessions in at the gym can be the difference between the holiday of a life-time and a holiday from hell.”

There are plenty of other things to consider before you go, so make sure you check out the FCO Know Before You Go website and stay safe on the slopes.