As the February half-term approaches, ABTA is reporting that British skiers and snowboarders are more likely than ever to wear a helmet on the slopes.
The February half-term is traditionally one of the busiest ski weeks in European resorts and with an estimated one million Brits going skiing this season, ABTA Members are seeing increased interest from people in safety equipment, both to hire and to purchase. This is particularly the case for ski helmets, with experienced skiers and snowboarders more likely than ever to purchase their own.
Last year America’s National Ski Areas Association reported that 70% of all skiers and snowboarders wore a helmet* and similar numbers have been reported in Europe – up to 76% of skiers now wear a helmet in Switzerland**. This season the high profile story of Michael Schumacher’s accident on the slopes has resulted in heightened interest in ski safety and ABTA expects that the trend will surpass last season’s peak.
ABTA Members are reporting that the increase in numbers wearing a helmet is being driven by younger people. This is also the group most likely to take ski holidays, with over 1 in 10 (11%) of 16-24s*** taking a winter sports break this season – suggesting that people who grow up wearing a helmet will continue to do so, especially in countries such as Austria and Italy where it is a legal requirement for children.
Whilst younger people may be driving the trend towards helmet wearing, ABTA research shows that they are still the least likely to take out adequate winter sports insurance; nearly half (47%) of under 35s now go without purchasing specific winter sports insurance, compared to over a third (36%) of Brits overall.
Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said: “Having the right equipment is an essential part of any winter sports holiday and ABTA urges all skiers and snowboarders to wear a helmet. We want people to be able to make the most of their time on the slopes and knowing you have the right kind of equipment is one less thing to worry about. It is still alarming to see the numbers travelling without adequate insurance however.
"Along with arranging the right safety equipment, purchasing the right level of travel insurance, and checking that annual policies are extended to cover action sports like skiing should be a top priority.”
***Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd 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 August 2013. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2013.