Category Archives: Ski Insurance

Planning A Ski Holiday – A Guide For Beginners

If you want to know how to do something well, you need to find out from those in the know! We asked some leading experts on the ski scene about what to pack, how to get fit, where to head, what to do to avoid injury, and a bit about etiquette so you can hit the slopes with confidence this ski season!

Ten Things You Need To Know Before Learning to Ski

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

Paul Deadman, ski expert at Neilson Holidays, shares ten things you need to know before skiing abroad for the first time.

  1. The fitter you are the more fun you’ll have. There’s no need to go into any extreme fitness training before a ski holiday, but doing a small amount of exercise in preparation will make a big difference to your fun factor.
  2. You need the right shoes. As well as packing ski boots you’ll need shoes for off the slopes too. Resorts are still snowy and can be icy, so take practical shoes – a sturdy pair of trainers or walking boots work well. Bars and restaurants won’t turn you away if you’re not in fancy heels or polished brogues – slope style is much more relaxed, think more along the lines of ‘practi-cool’.
  3. You still need sunscreen. Even if you don’t think it’s sunny, the sun reflects off the bright white snow and increases the chances of sun damage to your skin. Take lip balm with UVA and UVB protection as well as sun cream for your face and apply regularly over the course of the day.
  4. Helmets are a must. Hire or buy your own, but either way don’t hit the slopes without one.
  5. Accept that you will fall over. A lot. The people who get to grips with skiing the fastest are those who aren’t afraid of falling over. Don’t be discouraged by falling down, it would be really weird if you learnt to ski without falling over at least eight times a day!
  6. Après ski is the post-ski social scene. The ski lifts usually close between 4 and 5pm. This is when everyone comes off the mountain, back to the town and enjoys some après ski. Bars and restaurants will have live bands or DJs, some more lively than others, and you’ll find somewhere to relax to suit you whether you want a chocolat chaud, a vin rouge or a round of Chartreuse.
  7. Ski boots feel a bit odd at first. In my experience, at best ski boots are mildly uncomfortable and at worst can prevent you from enjoying skiing completely. Putting ski boots on will feel strange the first time, and for your first trip it’s worth getting someone with experience to help you with your boot clips to make sure they’re tight enough each morning. The correct boot should feel tight, but not unbearable, you should be able to wiggle your toes…just. Tip: make sure you wear thick socks when you pick them up – you don’t want to get a pair fitted in thin socks to realise that they’re too tight when you put on your ski socks.
  8. Pistes are colour coded. For most European resorts the ski runs (pistes) are marked to show what ability they’re suitable for. Nursery or green slopes will be where you’ll start your ski education, and you could progress to slightly steeper blue runs by the end of the week. Red slopes suit intermediate skiers and black runs are for advanced skiers. ‘Off piste’ refers to any territory that isn’t on marked out ski runs and isn’t something you’d need to worry about as a beginner. North America and Canada mark their pistes slightly differently so make sure you know what the colours are for the resort you’re travelling to.
  9. Lessons start early! Lessons typically start first thing in the mornings (approx. 9.30am) each day and finish at lunch.
  10. You might get hooked. Skiing is one of the best feelings in the world! It might feel like hard work, but the mountain views, endorphins, delicious food and après ski will make you want to return year after year. It’s that feeling you get when you nail that tricky run you’ve been struggling with all week that really gets you hooked though!

How To Get Fit For The Ski Season

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

Luke Thornton, Fitness Advisor to Discount Supplements takes us through the best moves to boost physical fitness for maximum on-piste performance.

Balance is one of the most important aspects of fitness for snow sports. Twists, turns and high speeds mean you need to have a strong core and an incredible sense of balance. These exercises focus on full body movements and stabilising exercises to really tax your midsection, and lock in that core strength.

Squats – a fantastic movement for working your entire body. This move not only uses your glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads, but also your core for stabilising your body whilst in motion. Keep your abs tight, place your feet shoulder width apart with your head up and descend down into a sitting position, then using your legs, drive upwards until standing. Repeat for 8-12 reps. These can be done with just body weight, or you can add a barbell to increase resistance.

Press Ups – the king of all upper body moves. The press up works your triceps, biceps, chest and shoulders. Add an advanced variation with an exercise ball to increase your core stability and improve balance. Lie face down and place your hands on the floor either side of your shoulders. One by one put your feet onto an exercise ball and assume the push up position.

Long Distance Cycling – not only is this fantastic for your overall cardiovascular health, it also increases endurance and strength in your legs, which is essential for snow sports. If you don’t have a road bike or access to one, use a stationary bike at your gym. Start short at 2km, then move to 5, 10 and 20. Mix it up and try to beat your time on each distance.

Lunges – another brilliant move for leg development, core strength and balance. Try adding walking lunges at the end of every workout to increase endurance in the quads and glutes, and to mix up your cardio. Try 10 stationary lunges for each leg, then 20, then move onto walking lunges. You can also mix it up further by walking with dumbbells.

Packing For A Ski Holiday

Image by tookapic CC0

Image by tookapic CC0

While toothbrush, passport and boarding passes may be obvious items to pack, there are a few essentials that might not be obvious to a first-time skier. Claire Flynn at Powder Beds shares some insider tips.

Skis, boots and helmet: For novices or people relatively new to skiing, it’s worthwhile renting skis, boots and a helmet, rather than buying them AND paying for ski carriage on a flight. Skiset work in resorts across Europe offering different ski hire packages depending on what you want. It’s also worth booking in advance to make sure you get the best deal and what you want.

Taking your own ski equipment? Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) have created a nifty Baggage Allowance Finder. The tool helps you find the baggage allowances for major airlines across the UK, perfect for finding out how much it will cost to get your skis across the skies!

Clothes for the slopes: Bring thermals, fleeces, warm jacket, salopettes, thick socks, goggles and don’t forget proper waterproof gloves. Also, neck scarves (Buffs) are useful for keeping your face warm on the slopes.

Sun protection: Make sure to bring suncream (or buy it in the resort), and apply it even when it’s cloudy. It’s also a good idea to bring a decent pair of sunglasses, so you can change out of your goggles if you stop for lunch on the slopes.

Clothes for off-piste activities: Bring warm clothes and decent shoes with good grip for walking about the resort in the evening.

Other items that might make your time in the snow warmer, easier or more fun are:

Sundown Lock

Sundown Ski Lock, Blacks

• Day rucksack
• Water bottle
• Ski Lock
• Thermos
• Hand warmers
• Foot warmers
• Muscle rub/soak
• Ankle, knee and wrist supports

Check out skiclub.co.uk for a foolproof packing list, and if you are looking to grab some ski clothes and accessories – without paying a design label premium – Blacks have a superb range.

WINTERSPORT INSURANCE

ossur-image-2-ski-mega-blog

© Courtesy of Össur

WINTERSPORT INSURANCE IS AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF YOUR KIT WHEN YOU HEAD OUT ON SKIS! Even if you are holidaying in the EU, you should make sure that your travel insurance covers you for the activities you plan to do. Wintersports insurance from worldwideinsure.com provides cover for equipment, ski packs, cancelled flights, medical assistance and repatriation for all destinations including even if you want to go off-piste, heli-skiing, and parapenting!

Best Ski Resort for Beginners – Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

• Only truly car-free resort in France.
• Offers access to the fantastic Portes du Soleil ski area.
• Perfect for beginners thanks to the several easy green runs through the village, plus a great selection of ski schools, including Le Village des Enfants (located in the heart of the resort with two distinct areas for skiing abilities). Avoriaz Alpine Ski School is another excellent ski school – small team of British and local instructors offering high quality tuition, for all ages.
• Also great range of runs for intermediates and over 30 black runs for advanced, including the World Cup Downhill which drops from Les Hauts Forts.
• One of the world’s leading freestyle centres with three snowparks and a superpipe.
• Good areas for beginner and intermediate boarders, as well as plenty of powder for freeriding.
• One of the highest resorts in the Alps so snow cover isn’t often a problem, except for some of the runs below resort height.
• Accommodations are generally all ski-in/ski-out offering easy access to the slopes for first-timers.
• Also great non-ski activities available to keep everyone busy – Aquariaz claims to be Europe’s highest waterpark, complete with a main pool, lazy river, half-pipe, mini flume, Jacuzzis and tropical vegetation. There’s also dog sledding, snowshoeing and ice skating.
• Where to stay – Residence L’Amara offers luxurious ski-in/ski-out apartments at the entrance of the resort, with a private car park, indoor swimming pool, fitness room and Deep Nature Spa.

Best Ski Resort If You Are Travelling With Intermediates – Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

• One of the biggest resorts in the Alps, with a choice of four different base villages, located in the huge and varied Paradiski area.
• More than 125km of fast long and blue and red runs on the Les Arcs side of Paradiski alone – superb for intermediate skiers.
• Can also use the Vanoise express to cross over to the La Plagne side to experience more terrain. Although, as there is so much terrain in Les Arcs, it is only worth doing this for a day, so opt for the Paradiski Discovery Pass rather than the full Paradiski pass.
• Also has a strong reputation for advanced terrain with more than 40km of black runs, divided into 19 runs.
• Beginners are also well-catered for with gentle slopes right by the four base villages. Plus, the relatively recent Mille 8 development in Arc 1800 includes a dedicated beginners’ area.
• Also great for snowboarders – the Apocalypse Snowpark is fitted with tricks and treats for all ability levels, with great progression from beginner to intermediate to advanced features. Well-maintained and one of the better parks in the Alps.
• Non-ski activities also available – mostly from Arc 1800 – snowshoeing, dog sledding, bowling, shopping and there’s a small cinema.
• Where to stay – La Source des Arcs offers stylish and spacious ski-in/ski-out apartments in the highest altitude village of Arc 2000. However, if you’d like to be closer to the action in Arc 1800, try Residence Edenarc.

Best Ski Resort If You Have Advanced Skiers In Your Party – Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

• Ski area traditionally known as Espace Killy, although more commonly known as Val d’Isere-Tignes these days – regarded as one of the most exciting ski areas in the world.
• One of the world’s great resorts for advanced skiers with 25 black runs to test your abilities on – including the world famous La Face run (descends nearly 2 miles from its peak) – only those brave enough should attempt it.
• The area is most famous for its off-piste (10,000 hectares), with forested areas like Daniades, accessed from the Solaise Express among the more popular.
• Also a great ski area for intermediates, with over 100 blue and red runs in the Espace Killy.
• With the redevelopment of the Solaise area due to open for this winter, Val d’Isere is also set to become a great resort for novices, with a new dedicated beginners’ area.
• Also great for boarders with a highly regarded snowpark spread over 35 hectares. Other terrain parks to try out across the Espace Killy into Tignes too.
• Also, one of the most snowsure resorts in Europe thanks to its high altitude.
• Always stays at the forefront of winter sports but has remained a picturesque main resort village, meaning it continues to attract guests from all over the world.
• With a sports centre, glacier walking, husky racing and 70 shops available, there are plenty of non-ski activities to keep you entertained also.
• Where to stay: for self-catering, opt for Chalets du Jardin Alpin, but if it’s a luxurious hotel you’re after, the five star Hotel Christiania in the centre is a very popular choice.

Après-Ski – Social Life On The Slopes

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

If going out for drinks after a long day on the slopes appeals to you, make sure to pick a resort with a good après scene. Val Thorens is great, with several bars on and off the slopes, as well as Malaysia, the highest nightclub in Europe. Val d’Isere is also a good option, being the home of the original La Folie Douce. Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes, Meribel and Verbier are also renowned for their après scenes.

The off-slope vibe may be laid back, but make sure you show your fellow après party people some respect. Here are some top tips:

Pack your gear away before heading to the bar. No one wants to have to manoeuvre their way around a bunch of skis and snow boots!

Welcome strangers into your fold – in other words, don’t hog a huge table to just a few of you. Likewise, don’t be shy if someone offers you a seat at their table – the après scene is a great way to get to know people.

• Come as you are, which means there is no need to get showered and dressed up as soon as the lift stops spinning. Unless of course you are heading to a hot tub – in which case always, ALWAYS rinse before going in.

And one more thing: If you respect your fellow guests, endeavour to not puke on them. High altitudes will have a major affect on your tolerance to alcohol. Pace yourself and have a glass of water in between drinks – skiing is heaps more fun without a hangover anyway!

Injuries At Altitude

Courtesy of Össur

© Courtesy of Össur

Nothing can bring a fun holiday to an abrupt halt like hurting yourself, and on a ski holiday the head, wrists, knees, ankles and spine are all at risk. We asked injury experts Össur for some top tips on how to avoid injuries on the slope and what to do if things don’t go to plan.

How to avoid injuries on the slope

Whilst on the whole injuries are unavoidable and sometimes just happen, there are things you can do to minimise the risk as the last thing you want is to injure yourself on day one and spend the rest of your holiday looking at the slopes rather than being on them.

1. Wear the right gear
Wearing the right gear is a good start. Without a doubt you need to wear some good winter clothing as it’s cold up in the mountains but there are a few other things which could help you.

• Helmet: Would you ever ride your bike without a helmet? No? It’s the same for winter sports. We’re not just talking rocks that you could land on, as compacted snow could be just as hazardous if you whack your head on it, so stay safe.
• Knee Bracing: Prophylactic knee bracing is becoming more popular with many professionals now sporting these carbon fibre (lightweight and strong) exoskeletons to protect the knee from injury following a fall but also to offer stability to help manage pre-existing injuries.
• Wrist Guards: Everyone falls down on the slopes, some more often than others. When we fall we put our arms out to break our fall but that can lead to broken wrists, arms, or dislocated shoulders. Wrist guards offer a degree of protection when you fall.
• Boots: A standard piece of kit but make sure you pick something suitable. Have a chat with the professionals and see what is best for you given your expertise and what you want to achieve, as more freedom of movement may be good for tricks but potentially bad for your ankles.

2. Know your limits
If you’re just starting out then it’s understandable you want to follow in the footsteps of famous skiers, but it is important that you take it easy and practice, even Jonny Moseley had to start somewhere. It’s ok to push yourself as that is the only way to get better, but you know yourself what is pushing yourself and what could be considered a little foolish.

3. Take lessons
Taking lessons is a great way to start and even the experienced skiers still take lessons to brush up on their skills, especially if you’ve had a few months off (like when there is no snow). Lessons ensure you have the right technique and most importantly, know how to fall (as in minimising the risk of injury) so book them in, listen and learn.

4. Stick to the path
When you finally arrive at your resort you’ll be as giddy as a kid at Christmas and want to do everything. Just remember that there are routes designated for each level of ability so stick to them and practice before moving up and deciding to do something adventurous. Being on the slopes is extreme enough when you’re starting out without going off-piste in search of something different and potentially dangerous.

5. Be aware of your surroundings
It’s important to remember where you are on the slopes and that you don’t only have to watch what you’re doing but also what everyone else is doing as well. It only takes one person to either do something daft or lose control and they could wipe you out as well as leave you battered and bruised, or worse.

What to do when you’ve been injured

Following an injury there are a number of steps to consider both in the immediate aftermath and throughout your overall rehabilitation journey.

1. Stop what you’re doing
If you’re injured then stop what you’re doing as carrying on could make it worse. Sprains, for example, are graded 1 to 3 depending on their severity, with a 1 being a few days of hobbling and 3 being a few months using crutches. If you sprain your ankle when running then failing to stop could turn a grade 1 to a grade 2, as you’re increasing the chances of your ankle rolling as a result of the instability.

2. Remember RICE
It’s the standard protocol following an injury and stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Rest is simply giving the body time to repair itself and heal naturally.
Ice can be used to help manage inflammation as well as offering a degree of pain relief.
Compression is typically achieved through bracing but helps to manage inflammation when on the move, again having pain relieving qualities,
Elevation is the act of raising the affected area of the body above the level of the heart to reduce blood flow and in turn reduce inflammation.

You will know if an injury warrants urgent medical attention, in which case, you should seek this right away to minimise the risk of the injury worsening.

3. Obtain a professional diagnosis
If RICE doesn’t work after a few days then you should seek a professional diagnosis as it may require additional treatment following a more detailed examination.
You may be sent for an X-ray, an MRI or simply referred to a physiotherapist depending on how severe they believe the injury to be.

After a professional diagnosis you may need physio, a brace and even surgery. Overseas this can be a lot more complicated. Make sure you contact your travel insurance provider and discuss what procedures and treatments are covered.

Well, that’s the essentials covered, but nothing compares to the real thing – stay warm, stay safe and have fun wherever you end up!

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

For more information about getting the right wintersports travel insurance for this ski season, get in touch with one of the team on 01892 833338

Top 10 Adrenaline Fuelled Activities For Your Bucketlist

Looking for a way to put the excitement back into your out of office adventures? You won’t go far wrong with these extreme sports and activities on your bucketlist – as long as you have a head for heights and frights! 

1: White Water Rafting 

White Water Rafting in California. Image by Kaydin Carlsen CC by 2.0

2: Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata Image courtesy of honister.com

3: Sandboarding

Sandboarding in Namibia. Image by Luke Price CC by 2.0

4: Canyoning

Canyoning in Utah. Image by Cyril Bele CC by 2.0

5: Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jumping in Switzerland. Image by Alan Light CC by 2.0

6: Ice Hiking

 

Ice Hiking “Wolverine”, Helmcken Falls Spray Cave in British Columbia, Canada. Will Gadd and Brit Tim Emmett discover a new universe of ice climbing where a 500 foot waterfall sprays the underside of a gargantuan cave with fantastical ice formations.

7: Skydiving

Skydiving. Image by Philip Leara CC0 1.0

8: Zero Gravity Flight

Zero Gravity Flight in the USA. Image by Steve Jurvetson CC by 2.0 

9: Bull Riding

Bull Riding in California. Image by Peasap CC by 2.0

10: Shark Diving

Shark Cage Diving in Hermanus. Image by Hermanus Backpackers CC by 2.0

GET SPORTS TRAVEL INSURANCE! We cover loads of activities including Shark Diving, Via Ferrata, Dude Ranching, Canyoning, Sandboarding, White Water Rafting, and Bungee Jumping in the UK and overseas. Call 01892 833338 if you’d like to know more, or get an online quote.

 

Heli Skiing – Exposing The Thrill For First-Timers

Southern Lakes Heliski

Courtesy of powderhounds.com

If you like living life on the wilder side, chances are heli skiing is on your list of Awesome Travel Adventures, and if it’s not – it should be! We caught up with a couple of heli ski operators to find out more about the tantalising temptation of pure powder.

What the Heli ski?

Heli skiing is pretty self-explanatory, it involves a helicopter and skiing. Contrary to many people’s ideas, you do not take to the slopes by jumping out of a helicopter (a la 007), the helicopter takes you to some of the best untouched powder snow out there, and lands safely to let you out. Heli skiing isn’t an extreme sport, just for daredevils or stunt skiers – it’s suitable for strong intermediate to expert powder riders, and there are even some heli skiing operations that are well suited to first timers.

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing www.powderhounds.com

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing Courtesy of powderhounds.com

How good do you need to be to heli ski?

If you’ve never tried skiing, you’ll definitely need to get a bit of experience under your belt to take on heli skiing. At a minimum riders should be able to ride a red run in any condition at a ski resort, although some operators say that experience on an ungroomed black run at a ski resort and feeling comfortable on tree runs is the best place to be before trying it out. If you aren’t sure, you could always take a soft approach by booking a day heli skiing as part of your wider ski holiday. Day heli skiing is a convenient and a relatively low cost introduction. Be warned – this teaser is likely to leave you wanting more!

“Heli skiing is for those who love skiing or boarding powder but are tired of the tracked out slopes at the ski resorts.” Lyndell Keating, Powderhounds

Get fit to get the most out of it!

A pre-season fitness regime focusing on legs and lungs will add to your heli skiing enjoyment, because guess what – if you are a powder virgin, you are going to find taking on the deep stuff pretty tiring! When you get there, and the conditions are perfect, nothing will be more frustrating than your body preventing you from making the most of an adventure you have spent years dreaming about.

Southern Lakes Heliski

Southern Lakes Heliski Courtesy of powderhounds.com

When and where to go

The heli ski season varies significantly depending on where you want to go. For Canada and the lower 48 of the US, the peak heli ski season is February, with operations generally running from December to early April. The main Alaskan heli skiing season is March to April, when there are adequate daylight hours. The New Zealand and South American heli skiing season is from July to September, with the peak season being in August. In Europe, January & February is usually colder, with more fresh powder about, but inclement weather can stop play. March and April on the other hand tends to have more ‘bluebird’ days and the alpine terrain is generally more accessible.

An adventure worthy of a bucketlist?

We believe so!  Heli skiing should be on every serious skiers bucket list – it is a realistic aspiration that is easy to fulfil. This is what operators Powderhounds and Scott Dunn had to say on the subject…

“Heli skiing or heli boarding should absolutely be on the bucket list of every avid powder hound or adventurous skier or snowboarder. The helicopter rides are amazing in themselves. The spectacular vistas up high in the remote mountains are intoxicating and then the trip down in the virgin powder is often sublime. Heli skiing is the ultimate skiing or boarding experience.” Lyndell Keating, Powderhounds

“There comes a time in every skier’s life when you feel the need to try something new and experience something quite unlike anything you have ever experienced before. The adrenaline starts pumping with the sound of the first thud of the rotor blades and you are whisked off on an exhilarating ride to places where vast fields of beautiful virgin powder lie in wait. Gliding through blankets of pristine powder away from the crowds in the heart of the mountains is something that every skier should experience, at least once.” Kirsty Edwards, Scott Dunn

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing Courtesy of powderhounds.com

What are you waiting for? Book it!

Canada, Alaska, US, New Zealand, South America and Japan heli skiing packages from PowderHounds.com

Heli for First Timers (Canada) from PurePowder.com

European heli skiing trips from ScottDunn.com

Scott Dunn offers a 7 night stay at Chalet Chinchilla in Val d’Isere, France from 1,985 per person based on six sharing and including return British Airways flights, luxury coach transfers, private chef and chalet host. 1 day heliski packages departing from Scott Dunn’s chalets in Val d’Isere start from £360 (€429) per person (based on a private group of four). 

 

DON’T FORGET YOUR HELI SKI INSURANCE! Extend your worldwideinsure.com wintersports insurance to include heli skiing, and you can go play in the powder knowing that we’ve got you covered should your holiday not go to plan. Call 01892 833338 if you’d like to know more, or visit our homepage to get an online quote.

Skiing in Summer – Where to go for Summer Snow

Ever thought that your chance to hit the slopes is gone once spring arrives? Well think again, there is plenty of fun to be had at some of the top ski resorts overseas even in the summer months. We tell you where to go, and answer some of the most common questions about summer ski holidays.

What you need to know:

It is unlikely to snow in summer, so there is less chance of fresh snow, but there are still plenty of off-piste skiing opportunities.

It is possible to find black runs, but most places will have a mix of blue and red.

Opening times are different in summer, some parks open as early as 7am, but may be closed as early as lunch.

Passes are far more flexible, an acknowledgement of the limited area. Many places allow passes to be valid on non-consecutive days, and the passes often include free entry to most of the other fab activities on offer!

Where to go:

France

Where: Les 2 Alpes

When: June to August

Size: 90 Hectares

Other activities: Terrain park, tobogganing, ice skating, mountain biking, swimming.

My Favourite Run by Kasper Sorensen

Website in English: les2alpes.com

Austria

Where: Hintertux

When: May to October

Other activities: Terrain park, Nature Ice Palace, mountain biking, hiking.

Hintertux Ice Palace

Website in English: hintertuxergletscher.at/en

Switzerland

Where: Saas-Fee

When: July to October

Size: 20km

Other activities: Terrain park, aerial trekking, wine tasting, forest walking, ice grotto, revolving restaurant.

Website in English: saas-fee.ch/en

Canada

Where: Whistler, Blackcomb Mountain

When: June 21 to July 27, 11am to 3pm *Note: due to a recent heatwave, the glacier is much smaller than usual, as a result this year passes are being sold on a day-to-day basis.

Size: Huge

Other activities: Terrain park, hiking, bear tours, mountain top BBQs, ride the world’s longest and highest lift, helitours.

Website: whistlerblackcomb.com

 

worldwideinsure.com do really great ski and snowboard travel insurance for 1 to 94 days. Policy provides medical cover, rescue from the slopes, and insurance against equipment loss, damage or theft.

Snow Kite Day at Col du Lautaret in France

As the new year begins, we thought it would be great to give you a wintery treat to welcome you back to work!

Our recent blogs have featured an array of exciting winter sports that make a change from heading off piste on a pair of skis. One idea for a Winter Wonderland holiday included Snowkiting. An intriguing pastime that we felt deserved more attention!

Super Snow Kite day was filmed almost a year ago to the day at Col du Lautaret in France. It features some spectacular stunts set to some great tunes too!

Highlights:

A bunch of excitable young chaps riding big mountains in the Alps, flying high in the sky – holding on for dear life no doubt to their trusty Snow Kite!

Abe learns how to hill glide

Lolo does a crazy mega loop

Benoit shows off his super-looping skills

Fancy Snowkiting? So do we! Exploco Snowkiting is an excellent place to start searching for the best locations around the world! Wishing you a snowy start to 2014!

 

Top Five Alternative Winter Sports Holiday Activities

It might be that you’ve out-and-out mastered the art of skiing and snowboarding, or perhaps quite the opposite, and you’re looking for a new sport to dip your snow boots into… whatever your reason, welcome to the world of alternative winter sports! We’ve compiled a top five list of ultra-exhilarating activities that give you the same rush of adrenaline, without the ski pass. Are you brave enough to tick them all off?

Dog-sledding

Calling all pooch lovers! This is the sport for you! Get your kicks on snowy excursions with a thrilling ride from a pack of beautiful huskies. Go soaring through stretches of uninterrupted white desert with the wind whipping away at your face, and experience the sheer strength of these amazing animals. But don’t be fooled — it’s not as effortless as it seems! Be prepared for sore arms in the morning.

Dog Sledding in Prince George British Columbia by Kris Krug

Dog Sledding in Prince George British Columbia by Kris Krug

And where can you go to experience this time-honoured mode of transport? We recommend Norway, the destination of choice for lovers of this sport.

Snowkiting

If having your feet firmly on the ground seems oh-so-safe and ordinary, why not give snowkiting a go? All of the exhilaration of skiing with the added rush of a power kite to send you shooting off at super speeds. This daring sport gives you the feeling of being weightless, lifting you off the ground and allowing (for the braver sportsmen) the chance to do some awesome mid-air moves.

Eddy Zooming by Big Dubya

You’ll want to head over to the Northeastern USA to give this one a go.

 

Night Sledding

Why spend weeks perfecting the art of snowboarding when you can quite easily pop yourself on a sled and whizz off down the slopes almost effortlessly? Sledding (or tobogganing) is the number one winter sport for beginners. But if you’re looking to spice things up a little, try doing it at night. The slopes are flood-lit for your safety but the danger element is definitely present, which is what makes this sport so much fun.

Take a trip to Morzine-Avoriaz in France for a first rate night sledding experience, and you can even opt for a head torch rather than floodlights for the invigorating experience of a lifetime.

 

Broom Ball

If you’ve found yourself a little weary of putting yourself in constant danger, try getting your kicks from a sport that is played on flat ground. Broom Ball is the fun and fresh cousin of your normal game of ice hockey, but is played wearing special rubber shoes and with a ball not a puck.

This latest craze originated in Canada, but is spreading like wildfire through the USA, Europe, and beyond.

 

Broom Ball by Ed Schipul

Snow Rafting or Tubing

Those tantalising ski slopes are just begging to be soared down, so why not experiment with your equipment and give tubing ago! Similar to sledding, you go rushing down this compressed snow at high speeds, but with a rubber dinghy or doughnut underneath you instead – for minimal drag and maximum thrill! Gather your friends and descend in a pack, or take it solo and ride alone.

Although snow rafting is common throughout Europe, Switzerland seem to be leading the pack with some of the best slopes to give this a go on.

 

If you’re venturing off on a winter holiday this year, why not give one or more of these awesome sports a try? But always remember to wear a helmet and be safety-conscious, and make sure you’re fully insured so you can go adrenaline hunting worry-free.

Are You Crazy? Coasteering Guide for the Staycation Generation

 You don’t have to head to foreign climes to get your fix of adrenaline! Nope, here in the UK we are blessed with a wonderful coastline that is perfect for one crazy sport – Coasteering! If you fancy getting your feet wet, but think leaping of a cliff is more fun than paddling, check out our guide to Coasteering in the UK (and a great Go Provideo of some folks having fun on the Isle of Man!)

What is it?
It is a way of getting back to nature – quite simply by traversing the coastline at sea level, getting in the water and out again as the rugged terrain dictates. The extreme bit is actually optional, you don’t have to choose a course that requires climbing a cliff face and jumping into the water – but, that to be honest is what attracts adrenaline junkies to this sport!



Coasteering on the Isle Of Man Filmed on a Go Pro HD3 Courtesy of Nick Shimmin

Who would enjoy it?
Anyone with a sense of adventure, who likes a dip in the sea and getting up close and personal with the natural world. The views are guaranteed to be amazing, you don’t have to be a super-strong swimmer, or be able to scale a cliff face like Spiderman.

What do you need?
Most places will have all the equipment you need for taking part – this includes:
Wetsuit
Helmet
Buoyancy aid
Trainers or thick-soled wetsuit boots

How do I get started?
Sign up to one of the many accredited Coasteering providers that base themselves around the best locations on the country! You can go on an all day adventure, or just try it out for a couple of hours.

Where are the best places to go?
Well, the lovely bunch in the video we found chose the Isle of Man. Other places renowned for attracting a Coasteering crowd include:

  • Cornwall
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Wales
  • West Scotland

If you are new to Coasteering ALWAYS make sure you go with an accredited and insured guide. If you are an extreme sports junky, with many moons of experience under your belt – how about you check out our Wintersports Insurance Policy, it covers everything from shark diving to glacier walking!

Best Ski Fails of 2012

Our last post was all about avoiding the most common injuries skiers and snowboarders sustain on snowy slopes on a wintersports holiday. To lighten up the tone, this week we bring you a compilation from GoForBroke featuring the best ski crashes filmed during 2012, set to music from Saxon.
Expect some spectacular snow fails as these unlucky lot faceplant, skid and slide to what we expect were reasonably painful stops. Remember, if you like attempting this kind of fun, you better get some pretty good travel insurance. We do one perfect for extreme activities like these, our wintersports insurance.
Enjoy!

Wintersports Injuries and Safety Tips for the Slopes

If you are considering heading off to the piste this winter to enjoy some fun in the snow, you need to make sure that you are equipped to deal with the weather, and of course an injury – so you need really good wintersports insurance (a speciality of ours – see our blatant self promotion below!)

Ski Slope by 1banaan

Ski Slope by 1banaanSkiing

 

Skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and parapenting to name but a few wintersports are activities with a higher than average injury rate, with stats suggesting that the majority of injuries are from the popular pastimes of downhill skiing and snowboarding.

User error is the root cause of most injuries, with is isolated falls from going too fast, or tackling a terrain that is beyond the skills set of the person in question being the main cause. Collisions are responsible for 10% of injuries, as are lift related incidents, and finally 5% of injuries are due to equipment failure.

 

Most Common Ski and Snowboarding Injuries

  • 90% of all injuries involve an arm or leg
  • In skiers 60% of injuries are to the lower half of the body
  • The most common skiing injury is a damaged ACL, a very important ligament in the knee (21%)
  • 12 % of skiers sustain a damaged MCL, another very important ligament in the knee
  • Skiers Thumb affects 7% of skiers
  • The most common injury in snowboarding involves the wrist (20%)
  • 12% of snowboarders sustain a soft tissue injury in the shoulder
  • Ankle sprains affect 6% of snowboarders
Prince Ski Event by Tsutomu Takasu

Prince Ski Event by Tsutomu Takasu

Avoiding Injury on the Slopes

Warm Up – it is easier to injure a cold muscle than a warmed up one. Do some stretching before hand and ease yourself into those difficult slopes or more challenging manoeuvres.

Familiarise yourself with your surroundings – go out in good visibility so you can see where rocks, trees and treacherous patches may be, that way avoiding them will be a lot easier and less likely to result in injury.

Stay alert! – Tiredness can lead to lack of concentration and reduced reaction time as well as poor decision making. Rest well and avoid alcohol before taking to the slopes.

However, accidents do happen, no matter how well prepared you are, so you need travel insurance that won’t break the bank even if you break a collar bone! Talking of which…

 

Blatant Self Promotion

We are a leading provider of insurance for adrenaline junkies who like to push themselves to the limits in colder climates. Our ski insurance can cover the following winter activities:

  • On piste skiing/snowboarding
  • Off piste skiing/snowboarding
  • Cross country skiing/snowboarding
  • Skidoo/snowmobiling
  • Heliskiing/heliboarding
  • Sledging/tobogganing
  • Parapenting
  • Ski touring
  • Ski acrobatics/jumping/racing
  • Bob sleigh/skeletons
  • Glacier walking

If you are heading off on holiday, get in touch for a quote. We can tailor your policy to meet your needs whatever activities you decide to do!

Snowboarding Off The Cliff by planetxau

Snowboarding Off The Cliff by planetxau

Wintersports and Ski Insurance Advice

If you are weighing up whether or not to take out wintersports or ski insurance, then take a moment to consider what the real cost might be if you don’t. The cost of travel insurance, with wintersports cover is negligible compared to the cost of medical bills abroad should you take a tumble – Imagine being faced with a medical bill of thousands of pounds knowing that for a little over £10 you wouldn’t have had to pay a penny. That is the equivalent of a couple of a post-piste drinks on the slopes.
It is all too common to hear that people have taken a risk, and gone on holiday without some sort of travel insurance, but when it comes to a winter getaway you’d be a fool not to take out ski insurance, which provides cover for a whole host of activities including snowboarding, ice skating and heliskiiing. Let’s face it – these are pastimes where you are more likely to push yourself to the limits and take a risk just for the thrill of it anyway. Our advice is that you make sure that they are the only risks you take on your winter holiday – not the one where you could lose yourself a lot of money by not having the right cover!