A leading travel insurance company has announced it won’t provide winter sports cover to any skier who goes on the slopes without a helmet. I don’t think it’ll be the last.
Essential Travel, an online travel insurance company, won’t provide insurance cover to travellers who don’t wear a helmet when they’re skiing, claiming to be the first British firm to adopt such a policy.
I think it just makes sense to protect yourself. If I planned to go horse-riding or cycling at speed, I’d always reach for a helmet. Hurling myself down a mountainside is no different.
A change of attitude at altitude
Not that I’ve always thought that way. I’ve been skiing since I was nine years old, on slopes in Scotland, Europe, Canada and the States, and I’ve happily whizzed down runs wearing only a woolly hat (and the rest of my ski gear!). But three years ago I changed my mind.
As I say, I’ve been to ski resorts around the world. I’d spent three consecutive years skiing in the States and Canada. Over there, the mountains are vast, the lift queues are almost non-existent and the slopes at times can be empty. I was confident in my ability, so why would I need a helmet?
Fast forward to my ski session in St Anton, Austria. It’s a busy, intermediate resort and I can hardly traverse without another skier getting in my way. Again I wasn’t too worried about myself taking a bad tumble, but the amount of skiers who managed to fall into me from behind was alarming. After one too many incidents, I was sold on the idea – I was off to buy a ski helmet.
A boost of confidence
And what a difference a helmet makes! I‘m much more confident now – bring on the black runs. Yes, I’m aware that a helmet alone won’t reduce all injuries, but I now wonder why I ever risked skiing without one. And I’m not alone – 77% of British skiers now claim to wear a helmet on the slopes, up from 62% in 2010.
With this travel insurance company saying that it will offer reduced premiums to those who wear a helmet on the slopes, I’ll certainly be reviewing my winter sports policy when it’s due. Do you wear a helmet when you ski or snowboard? If not, would a reduced insurance premium encourage you to wear one?