Dedicated ski and snow sports lovers will be looking forward to hitting the slopes this winter. As much as you’re looking forward to having fun in the snow, it’s also important to make sure your prepared for your winter sports holiday.

To help make your trip memorable for all the right reasons, here are some of ABTA’s tips to help keep you safe and healthy during your holiday in the snow. 

Before you go

  • Don’t forget to buy travel insurance which covers you for your holiday, winter sports and any other activities.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous and want to do unusual sports activities like tobogganing, or heli-skiing, always check that they are covered under your insurance policy. 
  • Book your activities and excursions from a reputable supplier, ask your travel provider for more details.
  • Get a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which entitles you to state medical care in participating countries, mostly within the EU. However, GHIC won’t cover you for costs if you have an accident and need to be airlifted off the slopes or flown home. Check when buying your travel insurance policy that this is included. 
  • Check out the International Ski Federation’s FIS Rules of Conduct, this ‘highway code’ for the slopes helps everyone stay safe. 
  • Get fit before you travel with some basic exercises to help minimise injury whilst you are away.
  • Read the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for your destination for important information such as entry requirements, medication restrictions, health, safety and security advice, local laws and customs etc. Revisit the advice before you travel or sign up to receive FCDO country-specific email alerts, to get important updates.

Hitting the slopes

  • Check the forecast and snow conditions at the lift company or tourist office before heading off on the slopes.
  • Take down cable car, lifts and funicular closing times, and shuttle bus times too, you don’t want to get stranded!
  • Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand, ski or snowboard lessons can help improve your skills and confidence.
  • It is advisable to wear a helmet and in some countries it is mandatory. If you don’t own a helmet, you can hire one in resort.
  • The sun is stronger at altitude. Apply high-factor sunscreen frequently and take extra care with babies and children.
  • Wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes against snow blindness. 
  • Be alcohol aware – the effects of drinking alcohol increase with altitude; and your judgement, coordination and reaction times can be affected. Drinking to excess in low temperatures can also put you at risk of exposure, frostbite or hypothermia. 

Après ski

  • Apply the same personal safety rules on holiday that you would at home.
  • Avoid carrying too much money or wearing excess jewelry and keep valuables close to you.
  • Stay with your group, keep your drink with you, or nominate a friend to watch it.
  • Avoid poorly lit areas and if possible, never walk home alone particularly after you have been drinking.
  • Never accept a lift from an unlicensed taxi or a stranger.

For further information and advice, download ABTA’s Safe and Healthy Holidays leaflet.

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