Ski and snowboard enthusiasts will soon be heading for the slopes, but those lucky enough to be planning seasonal breaks should not skimp on winter sports travel insurance, warns Europ Assistance. Like everything else, the costs of emergency repatriation services are going up.
With bills for recovery from the mountainside, emergency treatment and getting home after even relatively simple injuries running into five figures, it is not worth the risk of being uninsured.
200 million skiers and 70 million snowboarders hit the slopes every year, with UK residents alone spending over £500m on seasonal holidays and weekend breaks.
Skiing casualties run into six figures globally every season and the costs of rescue, treatment and repatriation quickly add up, with the increasingly popular North American resorts being the most expensive, warns Europ Assistance.
In Canada, a skier with a broken leg ran up a bill for £28,000 before arriving safely home in the UK
A claim for a wrist injury in Chile added up to nearly £6000
A skier who fractured a leg on the slopes last winter in Italy ran up costs of just over £4,000
An elbow injury in Germany would have cost a skier £2500 had he been uninsured.
Happily all were fully covered by their travel insurance with Europ Assistance.
But these were not even major injuries: extreme or severe cases can lead to medical bills of up to £250,000, especially if you require surgery.
To bring a patient back from central Europe or the French Alps costs around £6000. However, if a jet air ambulance is required the cost rises to as much as £9000, so it is easy to see how quickly the costs stack up from further afield.