11.01
2012 Advice and tips

Needless to say, an environment praised for its slippery surfaces carries an increased risk of injury for holidaymakers, so make sure you have all bases covered when you set off on a ski break in France. This means adequate travel insurance, suitable safety equipment and an understanding of the rules of the piste amongst other things.

Ski insurance

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Needless to say, an environment praised for its slippery surfaces carries an increased risk of injury for holidaymakers, so make sure you have all bases covered when you set off on a ski break in France. This means adequate travel insurance, suitable safety equipment and an understanding of the rules of the piste amongst other things.

Ski insurance

Basic travel insurance is unlikely to cover winter sports and you may need to consider upgrading your policy to one that offers you the option of extra cover in the event that you are injured, affected by piste closures or are unfortunate enough to have your equipment stolen – skis are an expensive piece of kit, after all!

Just as there are policies for home insurance and car insurance, there are policies designed specifically for winter sports. These are designed to offer more comprehensive cover than regular travel insurance. For example, if you unable to make use of paid for services such as skiing lessons, ski lifts and ski hire on account of injury or illness, a refund may be arranged.

Family friendly resorts

The Famille Plus Montagne label is recognized by the French Ministry of Tourism and signifies an approved environment geared towards families on holiday in the mountains. In order to qualify, a resort must have facilities and entertainment suitable for children, as well as professionally trained staff to supervise them and a dedicated medical service for children.

Equipment

- Helmets

In 2009 the actress Natasha Richardson was killed as a result of a head injury sustained during a skiing lesson – she was not wearing a helmet. A year after, the BBC reported that the incident had inspired a ‘ski helmet boom’. However, there remain arguments both for and against as some people argue that helmets encourage more risky behaviour.

Helmets may be hired at the same time as your skis but depending on the frequency of your ski trips, it might be worth buying your own. They range from around £50 to £100 and a wide variety of colours and patterns ensure that even the most style conscious are happy to strap one on.

- Wrist guards/supports

Worn under gloves or mittens, these are designed to protect against fractures associated with snowboarding. Snowboarders tend to fall on their hands a lot when starting out. As both their legs are strapped to the same board, they will attempt to break their fall in a different way to skiers. Wrist guards are not expensive and can be picked up for between £10 and £20.

Ski etiquette

The International Ski Federation (FIS) promotes a safe skiing code that includes:

- Showing respect for other people on the piste
- Staying in control of your skiing
- Taking care when starting or re-entering a marked run and when overtaking
- Avoiding stopping on the piste unless absolutely necessary
- Keeping to the side when moving up or down a slope on foot
- Paying attention to signals and markings
- Helping out in the case of an accident

This article first appeared on FrenchEntrée.com

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