30 Oct

ABTA calls on skiers to hit the gym before they hit the slopes

Top British skier Chemmy Alcott supports the call as rsearch reveals a third of skiing novices do no physical preparation at all

ABTA is calling on skiers to get fit for ski as new researchi reveals today that a third (33%) of winter sports novices, (those who have never been on a winter sports holiday before), are risking serious injury by doing no physical preparation before they hit the slopes. The research also reveals 4 in 10 [39%]of regular winter sports enthusiasts say they’ve injured themselves at least once, highlighting the importance of getting in shape and warming up properly before taking to the slopes. 

To help educate consumers on what they should do to properly prepare for a ski holiday, ABTA has joined forces with The Foreign and Commonwealth Office to produce a Winter Sports Checklist, which contains guidance and advice for skiers. ABTA has also produced a leaflet on “How to have a safe and healthy holiday in the snow". Both are available for travellers and ABTA Members here: www.abta.com/getfitforski.

Chemmy Alcott, the number one British woman skier and now Monarch’s brand ambassador for its new ski routes this winter season, is supporting the Get Fit for Ski campaign and said: "There is no beating around the bush - skiing is a dangerous sport. But there is lots that can be done to prevent injury as much as possible - first and foremost you can get in shape before you hit the slopes. This will result in a double whammy positive - your body will be better prepared to handle the physical excursions of skiing and you will be able to ski longer for harder thus getting more value for money!"

Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said: “Winter sports are becoming increasingly popular with an ever more diverse fan base. But like any activity that involves rigorous exercise you need to prepare yourself properly. By being physically prepared you can help ensure you remain injury and strain free and make the most of your time on the slopes.”

Winter sports insurance

ABTA researchii also found that a third (31%) of those going on skiing and snowboarding holidays do not take out travel insurance that includes specific winter sports cover. This, combined with people not physically preparing, suggests that a significant number of holidaymakers are putting themselves at risk of sky high medical bills should they have an accident or injury on the slopes.

Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: “We strongly advise anyone going on a winter sports holiday to ensure their travel insurance policy covers them for all winter sports activities.  We see many cases where British nationals have ended up with massive debts at the end of their holiday because their policy didn’t cover them for what they were doing. It’s important to have an up to date EHIC card as well as comprehensive travel insurance and to read the small print, as most insurance policies will not cover you if, for example, you ski off-piste or have an accident under the influence of alcohol.  Visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel for more information on travel insurance and preparing for a holiday abroad.”  

Common injuries

Of those who had injured themselves, 6 out 10 [59%] suffered a significant injury such as a leg break or muscle tear, with 73% of injuries caused by a fall and 20% by colliding with someone else on the slope. 38% of respondents are also risking serious head injuries by not wearing a helmet.  The risk of injury on winter sports climbs steadily with age. 70% of those aged 65-74 have suffered some form of injury reflecting the fact that winter sports enthusiasts return time after time to the slopes increasing their chance of injury.

For more information and to download the advice leaflets please visit our website

i Consumer research was conducted on behalf of ABTA and Responsible Ski by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The distribution targeted people with a known-vested interest in skiing – through ski show databases, popular winter-holiday related ski brand facebook pages and winter-sports market and travel related consumer mailing lists. Thus, the data reflects people with a good base knowledge of winter-sports holidays and generally with a good deal of past-experience to reflect on in the answers provided. Research was conducted between 19 September 14 October 2012.

ii Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2008 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to September 2012. Fieldwork was conducted in September 2012.