Texans love to ski.
And, with thermometer-busting temperatures in Texas, and back to school preparations in full swing, your thoughts may turn to upcoming trips to cooler climes. Now, when most of us hit the slopes, we are thinking about hitting a kicker perfectly or carving fresh powder like a pro. But there are many other details that you should consider before you go.
With that in mind, here are the five things people don’t tell you about a ski trip:
1. One in Five Skiers Drink On the Slopes
Drinking on the slopes is a common occurrence for many – and for some, it’s a fundamental part of their ski vacation experience. Après-ski no longer means a few beers at the end of a ski session, but rather a full day of excess. Despite the physical demands of skiing and snowboarding, we do not associate them with other sporting activities. Not many people will drink to excess and then hit the gym, but when the Austrian Road Safety Board breathalysed 600 skiers, 1 in 5 of them had alcohol in their system.
Nearly a third of those skiers were above the legal limit to drive. We do not trust this level of risk on our roads, but we accept fellow skiers endangering our safety while already engaged in a high-risk sport. An on-piste rescue can cost north of $500, while repatriation after an accident can be as much as $8,000 by land and $14,000 by air. Needless to say, if your accident is caused as a result of your drinking or drug use, then no policy will cover you. But it’s not just our actions that we have to account for – we have to be wary of other skiers, too.
2. Not All Insurance Policies Cover Skiing
Many complimentary policies offered by credit cards or booking agents don’t cover winter sports – meaning that, when people experience an injury, they are left out in the cold. A night in intensive care in Europe can cost $120, and if you stay stateside it can rise to $12,000 a night. Many of us forget to take out a policy or make the mistake of believing our standard travel insurance is enough. Beyond medical costs, non-winter sports policies often don’t cover cancellations, passports and baggage loss, all of which can incur hundreds of dollars in losses.
3. Wearing a Helmet isn’t Mandatory, But, it Should Be!
It may sound patronizing, but helmets are crucial for skiing safety. We’ve come a long way from the boiled leather caps of the 1900s. With over 31 brands of helmet manufacturers to choose from, you’re sure to find something to fit your taste. Nova Scotia is still the only destination in the world which has made helmets mandatory, but when technology is making us safer all the time it seems crazy that skiers are not changing with the times.
4. Ski Injuries Can Last Years
The lasting effects of a ski trip can be felt years after returning home, and impact your ability to ski and snowboard in the future. Fractured collar bones and wrist fractures can require a piste rescue and result in a shortened vacation, while a fractured tibia or fibula can require surgery and a prolonged stay for recovery. The worst-case scenario – a cranial or spinal injury – can mean surgery and a long recovery away from home. All of these risks come with skiing and, beyond the financial costs, it is always important to consider the emotional toll injuries like this can take and to avoid them through good practice.
5. It’s More Fun Than You Will Have Ever Imagined!
With all the risks involved, why do people flock to the mountains every year? It’s because skiing and snowboarding are fun! It’s always important to quantify risk, and to make the correct preparations because you want to be free to enjoy one of the best vacations of your life. Carving the piste, pushing your skills and taking on the challenge of a mountain with friends and family will keep you coming back year after year.
Disclosure: This article is a collaborative post and contains affiliate links.