Christmas is over, and whilst for some the holiday season is some way off, for skiing enthusiasts, winter marks the start of the most exhilarating time of year for them – their chance to hit the slopes, and experience the sheer glory of Mother Nature in her most spectacular – and dangerous – form.
Record snow falls over Europe this winter have led to perfect skiing conditions in many resorts, however, the risk of avalanche is incredibly high, but thankfully generally monitored well by ski resorts. However, there are still tragedies reported every single year in the pursuit of the ultimate thrill of hurtling down a mountain at incredible speeds. This seems to go hand in hand with the risk of the sport, however, there are measures that can be taken to ensure that, outside of weather conditions that no-one can control, you remain as safe as possible.
Firstly, do your research, and book with a reputable company. Second, follow the rules of the slope, and listen carefully to your instructor, and resort guides, who can pass on vital information about slope conditions and areas to avoid. Thirdly, wear appropriate safety clothing – in some European countries it is compulsory for children to wear helmets. Fourthly, know your physical limitations. Try to build up some skiing experience on a training slope and be prepared for the high altitudes which can take a physical toll on the body. Lastly, ensure that you have appropriate insurance cover in place before you go.
It is also advisable not to be too self-indulgent with the apres-ski which, although this goes almost hand in hand with skiing culture. This is highlighted by the recent tragic death of a young British man who had been drinking in the French Alps resort of Risoul, who was found frozen to death the next day.
Amateur holidaymakers will often indulge in lunchtime drinking, and then return to the slopes afterwards, with their judgment and physical capabilities impaired. Ask yourself, would you get in a car and attempt to drive after a few glasses of Gluhwein? If the answer is no, then try to adopt the same principle when considering heading back up the mountain.
For further details on how to keep yourself safe on the slopes, refer to the #SkiSafe guide published by the government.