How to Stay Safe on the Slopes

Man skiing down slopes.

Unfortunately, accidents happen and there’s always a friend of a friend who’s hurt themselves in some way on the slopes. The risk of ski or snowboard injury is somewhere in the region of 1 in 1,000 skiers per day. It’s a given that wearing a helmet is a must but the best way to stay safe is to use what’s inside it; your head.

Assessing risks may sound like the furthest thing away from maximising ski holiday fun but it could be the difference between returning home with amazingly fun memories or with your leg in a cast. Whether you consider yourself a pro or it’s your first time, you should assess all the risks from weather to snow-type.

Lessons- Always learn from a professional instructor. This will help you learn the correct techniques for everything from starting and stopping to dealing with different snow conditions.

State of mind - Only go skiing when you are relaxed. Never ski when overly stressed — and certainly not when over tired.

Beware of the “Last Run”- Make sure your last run of the day a really good one where you’re still alert and not longing for the après ski bar. Pushing yourself outside safe limits, causes your risk of injury to soar. That last ski run is proven to be one of the biggest risks of the sport.

Fitness- The less you’re struggling to catch your breath, the more fun you’ll have. Even if you’re jetting off to the slopes in a week or two, it’s still not too late to get a spot of jogging or cycling in. Increase your piste stamina and you’ll increase your enjoyment.

Have The Correct Gear- From your boots to your helmet; make sure you have all the necessary protective gear.

Don’t Show Off For The Camera Or For Friends- Know your limits and don’t feel pressured to tackle slopes beyond your skiing ability. Also, while the thought of a great profile photo on Facebook might encourage you to take some risks, be careful. Why not settle for the nice safe group shot as your cover photo instead? Perfect.

Learn How To Fall- Relax and if you’re on your skis, keep those knees together. Cruciate ligament knee injury is the biggest problem in skiing. Fractures are a lot less common these days with modern skis, boots and bindings.

Understand Ski Etiquette- Rest at the side of the piste. If you snowboard, avoid resting just on the fall line, in the middle of the piste. You are risking collision. Look up the hill when joining a piste lower down. Overtaking skier/boarder keeps clear.

Trees: Avoid them. Safety in the form of a helmet is always good but avoidance is always best. Most serious injuries and fatalities, outside avalanches, involve hitting trees or a fixed object. Think about the terrain and what you’ll hit if you fall.

In the event of anything going wrong, having travel insurance is a must. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a veteran, AIB helps you stay safe on the slopes in 2015 with 25% off annual policies when you buy online before 13/02/2015.. To get a quote or to find out more, click here .Discount is based on current telephone rates.

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is an agent of AIB Insurance Services Limited in relation to provision of general insurance products. AIB Travel Insurance is exclusively underwritten by ACE European Group Limited. AIB Insurance Services Limited and Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.