11 Feb

Skiers and snowboarders urged to stay safe on the slopes this half term

Ahead of one of the ski season’s busiest weeks, ABTA and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) are urging the almost one million Brits heading to the slopes this season to check they are adequately prepared for their holiday.

Following Michael Schumacher’s accident in December 2013, there has been increased awareness of ski safety and much higher numbers wearing ski helmets, but a third of people are still skiing and boarding without helmets.*

Winter sports holidaymakers are also running the risk of high medical bills as almost a third (31%) ** of people do not have the correct insurance before they hit the slopes. Families are more likely to put themselves at risk as they are less likely than average to take out the appropriate insurance. 35% of people with children over five do not ensure they are covered.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA, said: “Winter sports holidays have long been a popular British holiday option, but with several incidents already this season, it is more important than ever for holidaymakers to ensure they have the correct kit and travel insurance. A medical evacuation is incredibly expensive, and simple steps can avoid what should be an exciting and enjoyable holiday turning into an awful experience.”

Brian Jones, Responsible for Consular Services in northern Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: “We want everyone who takes a winter break on the slopes this year to come home safely with great memories. Too many skiers and boarders are left with huge medical bills and serious injuries each year and we want others to make sure they don’t find themselves in similar situations. Protect your head and your wallet on the slopes this year – get yourself a helmet, get yourself insured and get yourself home in one piece. #SkiSafe”

Ensuring people have the appropriate equipment is vital. With this in mind, ABTA has produced a guide to the kit skiers and snowboarders need on the slopes. Available here 

* http://www.columbusdirect.com/content/schumachers-accident-having-little-effect-on-winter-sports-fans/

**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 2003 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2015. Fieldwork was conducted in July/August 2015.