Skiers and snowboarders on the slopes should take care this winter – an estimated 1.26m skiing and snowboarding UK adults did not receive any training on how to undertake their winter sport the first time they tried it, according to new research from InsureandGo, a travel insurance specialist. This raises the prospect of many poorly prepared holidaymakers hitting the slopes this season.
40% of skiers and snowboarders surveyed received informal training from friends or family the first time they went skiing or snowboarding. The vast majority had only 1 to 4 hours of informal tuition.
Older skiers and snowboarders (aged 65+) are the worst at not being formally trained, with 33% of them taking to the slopes without being professionally trained the first time they went skiing or snowboarding. Overall, women are slightly better at getting trained than men, with an average of 5.3 hours of professional training against men’s 4.7 hours, when they were novices.
Perry Wilson, Managing Director of InsureandGo, says: “Based on this research we have to expect that there will, unfortunately, be a lot of accidents on the slopes this winter. Untrained skiers and snowboarders are a real danger and are more likely to cause injury to themselves and others. Anyone tackling a slope – even if they think they are experienced – should be professionally trained and insured.”
Roz McDonald from the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) comments: “These findings are shocking. A proper series of 10 two-hour sessions with a qualified ski or snowboard instructor costs from £30-65 and is invaluable in preparing people for their time on the piste. Mountain slopes are dangerous places and need to be treated with respect. No one should tackle them without full professional training beforehand.”
All InsureandGo policies cover children under 18 for free and include over 40 adventure sports, while its annual policies include winter sports automatically.
Travel insurance: News update: January 2008