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Ski tips this winter

Expert travel lawyer Clare Campbell, who has represented hundreds of people who have obtained injuries whilst on holiday, explains how best to plan for your trip to ensure you know what to do if something should go wrong.

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Clare is a travel litigation expert who specialises in accidents abroad, claims under the Package Travel Regulations, maritime and aviation cases and large group illness litigation. She tweets as @HolidayEagle
This is expected to be one of the busiest ski seasons on record as the popularity of winter breaks continues to grow, but as more people head to the slopes for Christmas, and New Year, concerns about the safety of the sport are also growing.

The perils of skiing were thrust into the limelight late last year, when seven-time Formula One winner Michael Schumacher suffered a serious head injury following an accident on the slopes of the Méribel resort in France.

Statistics show that beginners sustain more than 20% of all injuries on the slopes but Schumacher’s accident shows how even the most experience skier is vulnerable.

There are key things that you can do to ensure you are well prepared for a skiing holiday, all of which are essential to keeping safe whilst out in the snow.

My first tip, and most vital, is to ensure you have taken out adequate holiday insurance - always make sure that this includes cover for winter sports, as not all policies do.

Surprisingly one in four people still don’t check to see if their insurance covers them adequately. This can lead to all kinds of problems if emergency medical care, repatriation home or legal assistance is needed whilst abroad.

At ski resorts the slopes are categorised based on people’s experience, always be sensible and know your own capabilities. This means never going on a slope that is beyond your skill-level.

Learning to ski is about taking it gradually, never putting yourself at risk or endangering others. 

Before you go it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the rules of the slope, such as who has right of way. I would recommend that you have a look at the rules for conduct provided by the International Ski Federation.

It is also essential to educate yourself on what to do if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident. Make sure you have the number for the ski patrol to hand wherever you are out skiing.

Make sure that you get the medical attention that you need immediately, and never leave an injury untreated, even if you believe it to be only minor.

You should then get a report from the patrol about the incident and get the details of any witnesses who saw the event.

Keep any receipts or invoices related to the event and keep track of any treatment that you have received.

Finally, if you do need any advice following an accident it is always best to seek the assistance of a trusted travel lawyer who knows the law as it applies not only in the UK but also in the country in which you had the accident.

Skiing holidays can be very enjoyable and they are a great way to keep active whilst on holiday, but you must always make sure that you are fully prepared before you embark on an adventure on the slopes.

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