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Winter sports safety tips

There's no better way to embrace the winter months than by indulging in your favourite snow sport, whether you like to hit the ski slopes or have a love of snowboarding. While your winter holiday is about having fun, remember that safety should always come first. There are some key things you'll need to bear in mind to help you avoid injury and, consequently, high medical bills. We've put together a safety checklist to help you prepare for your winter holiday.

Choosing the right travel insurance

Before you set off for your winter break, make sure you've got adequate travel insurance to cover you in the event of an accident. Don't assume your policy covers all incidents - speak to your provider in advance of your trip to check your policy meets all of your needs.

Wear warm clothing

Don't be fooled by the sunshine on the slopes - you'll feel the chill unless you wrap up warm in close-fitting garments. Layer up as much as possible before heading out for a day of activities - you may want to include thermals in your getup.

Stay hydrated

Your body can become dehydrated more quickly at higher altitudes, so take an ample supply of water with you everywhere you go on the slopes. Make sure your friends and family do the same.

Protect your eyes

It's obviously important to be able to see where you're going when you're skiing or snowboarding, so make sure you've invested in a sturdy pair of goggles to keep the sunshine out of your eyes. These will also protect your eyes from stray branches and stones.

Wear sunblock

The intensity of the sun is stronger than you'd think at higher altitudes, so it's essential to be prepared for this. Purchase a high factor sunblock to protect your skin and avoid getting painful sunburn.

Know your piste etiquette

You must respect your fellow skiers and snowboarders, so choose routes that won't endanger those around you, and assist others if they have an accident. Overtaking is usually permitted, as long as you leave enough space for the person you've overtaken to move.

Enter and exit runs safely

Make sure you take care when re-entering a marked run, and pay close attention to all signals and markings. What's more, if you're going off-piste, always take a friend with you. Visit the International Ski Federation website for more information on safe slope behaviour.

Know your limits

If you're a beginner, take things slowly and stick to slopes that match your ability level. You could end up feeling out of your depth on the harder courses, and this will put your safety at risk.

Wear your helmet

There's no better way to embrace the winter months than by indulging in your favourite snow sport, whether you like to hit the ski slopes or have a love of snowboarding. While your winter holiday is about having fun, remember that safety should always come first. There are some key things you'll need to bear in mind to help you avoid injury and, consequently, high medical bills. We've put together a safety checklist to help you prepare for your winter holiday.

Listen to the professionals

Don't feel tempted to skip professional advice in your excitement at hitting the slopes. The instructors will have the training and experience to keep you safe, so make sure you adhere to their instructions.

Be avalanche aware

So that you're clued up about the weather conditions for the day ahead, read or listen to avalanche forecasts each morning before you hit the slopes. Don't cross any boundaries into unsecured areas - if you're confused about where you're allowed to go, always ask an instructor.