Skiers typically chose their holiday ski destinations on the basis of a number of factors, usually including the likely weather at the time of the trip; the cost and quality of the accommodation; the local language, distance from where the skier lives and even the food likely to be on offer.
Another consideration might be how much the skier might have to pay if he or she were to break their leg while skiing.
That, at least, is one of the takeaways from research just released by Bupa Global, the UK-based health insurance giant, which is based on claims data it has assembled from policyholders who’ve broken their legs in what the company says are “the world’s most popular winter sports destinations”.
According to Bupa, whatever else might be said about Canada’s attractions as place to go skiing, a broken leg there “could cost consumers £5,097 more” than it would cost them if they chose to break their leg skiing in the UK.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, Bupa experts point to the findings as evidence that wherever one is planning to go skiing, having insurance in place is probably a good idea.
“Our data clearly shows that… travellers could be out of pocket if they haven’t got the right cover in place before they set out,” says Bupa Global’s Dr Soren Carstens.
“Our experience dictates that quality global health insurance is necessary whether you’re at home or away, as it gives you access to the best possible care and continued treatment once you get home.”
In addition to recommending skiers take out insurance – preferably from Bupa Global – before strapping on their skis, the company makes a number of other suggestions that it says could make a difference in ensuring skiers make it home in one (unbroken) piece:
1. Warm up properly. “Resist the urge to jump straight off the plane [and] into your skis,” Bupa Global says.
“[And] stretch before you begin skiing, and start with the small slopes.”
2. Wear a helmet. “Wearing a helmet when skiing can absorb the force of an impact, reducing the severity of a potential head injury,” Bupa Global points out.
“You’d wear a helmet cycling – and skiing has a much greater potential of collisions.”
3. Consider which slopes suit your ability. “Be honest with yourself and others when it comes to your skiing or snowboarding ability,” Bupa Global advises. “Don’t take on a slope that you’re not experienced enough to master.”
It also suggests skiers “never underestimate the benefit of a couple of skiing or snowboarding lessons”.
4. Check the weather conditions in advance, and plan your day’s skiing according. It may seem obvious, Bupa Global notes, “but conditions play a huge part in the risk of accidents while skiing or snowboarding”, particularly as heavy snowfall can increase the dangers of avalanches.
5. Last but not least, the insurer recommends skiers double-check their existing insurance policy, assuming they have one, to make sure they’re covered for any accidents that might occur on the slopes.
“Many basic travel insurance packages won’t cover skiing as a sport, so ensure your policy covers where you’re travelling to, and what activity you’re taking part in,” Bupa Global says.