Photo: © Courchevel Tourisme
Top Tips for Staying Safe when Skiing in the Alps
Issue 42 / 07 August 2020

Top Tips for Staying Safe when Skiing in the Alps

Discover our top tips for staying safe in the Alps making sure you can enjoy your well-earned break in the mountains safely

Alicia Bryan

Whether you are a first-time skier or a seasoned pro, we have put together a list of top tips for staying safe in the Alps so you can enjoy your well-earned break in the mountains safely.

1. Ensure you have the correct equipment

When embarking on a skiing adventure, avoid borrowing equipment and instead, rent from an experienced ski shop to make sure your boots and bindings are fitted and adjusted properly. It goes without saying that you will need both skis and boots for your alpine adventure but one of the most important pieces of equipment we would recommend is a helmet. With head injuries making up 20% of skiing injuries and skiers reaching speeds of up to 50mph, wearing protective headgear is always a sensible precaution.

Those looking to snowboard rather than ski should also consider wearing ski gloves with built-in wrist guards. With broken wrists and sprains a common injury amongst boarders, these gloves will give you extra protection should you fall over.

Finally, while sunburn might usually be associated with tropical destinations, watch out for the sun on the slopes. With the snow on the ground creating a reflective canvas, skiers can often fall victim to the sun, so remember to protect your eyes with ski goggles and apply suncream to avoid the dreaded goggle mark look for après-ski.

2. Ski safely off-piste

Before venturing off-piste, make sure you have checked the avalanche forecast. Should the warning be high, save the backcountry adventures for another day and discover the alternative winter activities your resort has to offer.

If you are looking to ski off-piste, speak to locals to learn about the hidden off-piste gems of your resort, as well as areas to avoid when skiing off-piste. Always be prepared for the worst-case scenario and carry safety equipment with you such as a shovel, transmitter and probe. Never ski alone off-piste and if possible tell people where you are planning to ski.

For more information on backcountry safety, take a look at our "Top Tips for Skiing Off-Piste".

3. Be prepared

Once your chalet is booked, don’t forget to get travel insurance and disclose that you will be skiing. While no one likes to think they will have an accident, it is always best to be prepared. When you have arrived in your resort, the weather on the mountains can be unpredictable and change rapidly, so check the forecast throughout the day to organise activities accordingly and remember to wear waterproof ski wear with plenty of layers to stay both warm and dry.

4. Take breaks

Skiing is a great form of exercise that works many muscles in your body, you will be exerting a lot of energy on the slopes, so make sure you take regular breaks to refuel and stay hydrated throughout the day. With plenty of mountain restaurants on hand, this is also the perfect opportunity to indulge in some local cuisine.

For some of our favourite mountain spots, take a look at our food and drink guides in our online magazine.

5. Know your level

Know your limits and never feel pressured to ski out of your comfort zone. If you are looking to push yourself in a safe environment, private skiing lessons are a great way to improve quickly with the help of an experienced ski guide, while group ski lessons are also a fun way to improve your skiing skills with like-minded people of a similar level.

6. Follow piste rules

To keep the mountains as safe as possible, the International Ski Federation has listed several rules for skiers and snowboarders to follow.

When on the slopes, always be considerate of other skiers around you and if possible, do not stop in the middle of the slope. Make sure you take note of the warning signs on the pistes and adapt your speed based on the conditions.

If you would like to discover the best runs and local spots of your resort, why not book a local ski guide for the day. With years of experience and local knowledge to hand, they will know both the pistes and off-piste of the resort like the back of their hand.

7. Practice social distancing

In the current climate, it is important to adhere to the resort's rules when it comes to social distancing and face coverings. Ski resorts have had a good test run this summer with leisure, entertainment and tourist attractions all open. However, it is still important that visitors keep to the recommended social distancing and hygiene practices during their stay.

You can also rest assured that chalets are reviewing their cleaning and changeover procedures for the coming season, ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness, as well as improving social distancing practices amongst staff and guests. To book with confidence take a look at our Flexible Cancellation Collection of luxury chalets which are offering full reimbursement should you be unable to leave your country of residence, enter the destination country due to official government restrictions or if the ski resort is closed due to COVID-19.

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