The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), a UK government agency controlling interests of the UK overseas, has urged winter sports holidaymakers to exercise caution before hitting the slopes.
The agency is campaigning for raising awareness amidst Britons visiting European winter sports resorts this winter, against the dangers of attempting to ski on mountain slopes beyond their physical fitness levels.
The agency reported that in 2012, there have been around 12 serious accidents reported from the ski slopes in France, with seven resulting in deaths.
New research conducted by the FCO stated that only 1% of the respondents who visit ski slopes regard themselves as expert skiers, while the others rate themselves as beginner or intermediate skiers.
Around two thirds (65%) of winter sports travellers have admitted to skiing or snowboarding on slopes beyond their expertise in order to stay with a peer group; while 70% admitted to not having worn a helmet while skiing or snowboarding, highlighting a lack of awareness amongst ski loving Britons.
Simon Taylor, the UK Consul based in Marseille, France, said, ‘Last year we saw a high number of British nationals end up in hospital with serious injuries. Sadly this included a number of deaths. Many of these accidents can be prevented by taking simple precautionary steps.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll be fine if you’re with more experienced skiers or snowboarders. It is significant that a large number of cases we have dealt with have involved off piste skiing.
Those lucky enough to survive an accident and end up in hospital can face months of recovery, so it is important to think carefully beforehand about the very real risks out there.’
The study has also reported that around 38% of winter sports holidaymakers admitted to not having taken travel insurance on all winter holidays; while 31% said that they don’t always check their travel policies to see if they are insured against winter sports activities or not.