Stay safe on the slopes this season with a little winter sports wisdom. When you are out there in the vast, white terrain, surrounded by cold and unpredictable snow, you need to understand the environment and the potential threats to avoid mountain emergencies. In the case of serious danger during your skiing or snowboarding adventures, knowing what to do can save your life.
What To Look For
Aussies are amazing at outdoor survival, but the snow, cold and altitude present unique circumstances and risks. Watch out for the following:
- Treewells are areas of soft snow directly beneath evergreen trees. Falling into one of these is extremely dangerous as once you fall, you can keep sinking deeper because the snow is so soft. Suffocation can happen quickly.
- Hypothermia is a serious risk facing skiers and snowboarders, as well as frostbite. When you are exposed to the cold for too long and core body temperature lowers, you are at risk for hypothermia. Watch out for shivering, progressive feelings of weakness, confusion, and pallor. These are sure signs you need to get out of the cold. As hypothermia progresses it can be extremely dangerous, even fatal.
- Physical injuries can pose a huge threat to your safety. Falling, running into hazards, or simply moving your body in an improper way can quickly lead to torn or damaged muscles, ligaments and tendons. Your knees are the most vulnerable area – you don’t want to find yourself at the top of the mountain with a torn ACL.
- Getting lost may not seem like an obvious threat, but it is what frequently leads to calls for mountain emergency and rescue services. Don’t be tempted to explore beyond the range of the ski patrol. You may find yourself up against the true vastness of the mountain – in other words, realize you are freezing cold, exhausted, incredibly hungry and have no idea where you are or how to get back to your ski resort.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. Make sure you are using and wearing high-quality snow gear to help prevent injury, frostbite, and hypothermia.
- Stay in shape. Skiing and snowboarding are intense sports. Make sure you are staying conditioned all year round. Before hitting the slopes, try stretching and warming your body up with light exercise. This can help to prevent injury.
- Become familiar with your mountain’s emergency protocols and phone numbers.
- Never go solo; always have a partner with you when you ski or ride.
- Never stray from well populated areas and never venture beyond the scope of the ski patrol.
Winter holiday trips are a world of their own – the snow, the sports, the adventure. It helps to have ski insurance to protect you against all the potential problems that are unique to a ski vacation, like rental issues. No matter how much of an expert you are at the rental shop, you still can run into surprises. You can accidentally damage your equipment while you are on the slopes. In some cases, skiers have had their rental gear stolen, leaving them with a hefty replacement bill.
Having a plan in place that will cover you in case of accidental damage, loss, or theft to your snow ski equipment will give you the peace of mind that you need to enjoy your holiday. If you want to avoid charges in cases of theft or damage, then make sure you are covered for ski equipment hire excess.
Ski Insurance knows the slopes – and the pitfalls. Check out plans designed specifically for the winter holiday traveller in mind.
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