British Consul in France offers safety advice for skiers in the Alps

Posted on 09 December 2013

The British Consul for Southern France and his team have launched a safety initiative aimed at protecting British people on the slopes in France this season.

Owners of ski property in the French Alps about to visit the slopes should take note of Consul Simon Taylor’s advice. He said: “We’ve been working closely with tourist offices and town halls, and also with the ski companies out here. And we’ve also been speaking to the Gendarmerie Mountain Rescue Team and sharing good practice.

“In the run up to Christmas and the start of the winter sports season, we’ll be holding more meetings in the ski resorts to meet the tour operators, seasonal workers and local authorities, and make them aware of our top tips. We’ll also be distributing stocks of flyers specifically aimed at the British skiing community, detailing our top tips.”

Advice from Consul Taylor includes:
– Take out insurance – and check what it covers. It might not cover off-piste skiing unless you are with a qualified guide.
– Have a medical check-up before you travel out to your ski home – one of the major causes of hospitalisation and death on the slopes is heart attacks.
– Don’t drink and ski. Alcohol can affect you more quickly at high altitudes and dangerously limits your awareness of risk and cold.
– Most skiing injuries are caused by collisions with other skiers – watch your speed and distance.
– Don’t attempt slopes you’re not experienced or fit enough to tackle.
– If going off piste, carry a shovel, a probe and a transceiver in case of an avalanche. Also remember that you need proper training on how to use a transceiver.
– If you are going out on a glacier, you must wear a harness. If you fall into a crevasse, this will help the rescue team get you out.
– Make sure someone knows where you’re going and tell them of any changes to your plans.
– Only go off piste skiing or climbing with someone you have met previously and can trust.
– Many insurers insist you wear a helmet. Protect your head and your policy.