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Going downhill fast skiers risking expensive medical bills

Thousands of British skiers hitting the slopes this winter ski season are unwittingly risking mountainous medical bills, warns the ABI.

This is despite the fact that the costs of treating even a minor ski-related injury can easily cost more than the price of the ski trip. For example:

• £6,000 to treat a ruptured ligament and arrange repatriation back to the UK from France.
• £5,000 for medical treatment for a fractured leg and a nurse-escorted flight back to the UK from an Austrian ski resort.

Skiers on the slopes risk crippling medical bills due to:

• No travel insurance protection. In a recent Government survey1. Nearly a third (31%) of people admitted that they did not take out insurance to cover their winter sports holidays.
• Over-reliance on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC does not pay for private medical treatment, mountain rescue or medical repatriation back to the UK - all of which could easily cost thousands of pounds.
• Too much alcohol. One in five skiers admit drinking too heavily while on skiing breaks, with 40% saying that they have skied nursing a hangover from the night before 2. Accidents caused by too much alcohol are unlikely to be covered by travel insurance.
• Inexperience and tiredness. Ski instructors say that people pushing themselves beyond their abilities and fatigue are the biggest cause of accidents among British skiers.

Nick Kirwan, the ABI's Assistant Director of Health and Protection, stresses:

"Skiing is exhilarating but can also be dangerous, so it is alarming that nearly a third of people planning winter sports holidays do not intend to take out travel insurance. Skiing injuries can result in financially crippling medical bills, so ensuring that you have travel insurance that covers your ski activities is essential before you set of for the slopes."

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Last updated 01/07/2016