The ultimate ski and winter sports insurance guide

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Our Ultimate Guide To Winter Sports Safety

At ERGO we understand the importance of safety. We want you to get the most out of your trip and your cover. That’s why we’ve developed this Safety on Snow Guide to help you make the decision on how to protect yourself.


Before you go:

Skiing and snowboarding can be extremely demanding sports and it’s good to make sure you are in good physical fitness before heading out to the slopes. It is also a good idea to do some extra daily stretches in the weeks before you go to loosen up tight calf muscles!

Make sure your equipment is checked regularly; alternatively use a reputable equipment hire company once you reach your resort. Pack adequate layered clothing, and good quality gloves, helmet, sunglasses, goggles and sunscreen.

Keeping safe on the slopes:
If you’re not a frequent or experienced skier it might be a good idea to book yourself some lessons to get yourself comfortable on the slopes.

If hiring boots, check they feel right and fit comfortably, if not get them checked. You’ll barely be out of them!

Take a break. Recognise when you are tired and need to rest. Most accidents take place in the afternoon.


Wearing a helmet

Wearing a helmet can prevent potentially fatal head injuries. It is important to bear in mind that even with a helmet you are not invincible. You still need to take the same precautions that you would if you were not wearing a helmet. Maintain your awareness of what is going on around you.

ERGO have not made it a mandatory requirement to wear a helmet as a policy condition but strongly supports their use, except where it is impractical or counter-productive.


Choosing a helmet

Make sure your helmet fits you; a well fitting helmet should be snug when the chin strap is fastened, and shouldn’t roll off backward. It is a good idea to try on a number of helmets to make sure you have chosen the best fit for your head shape.

Try on your goggles with your helmet to check it still fits; your helmet should not push up. Adjust if there is any uncomfortable pressure. There should be an inch between your eyebrows and the front edge of the helmet, and the back of your helmet should not touch the nape of your neck.


Choosing a helmet for your child?

Get one that fits, don’t be tempted to buy one with growing room!
Inspect your helmet on a regular basis to ensure there are no cracks or dents. Helmets generally last two to three years.


Going off piste. How does ERGO define off-piste?

We define off-piste as any area off of a designated marked trail or run. This includes unmarked areas between runs which are inside the resort boundary and areas located outside of the resort boundaries in the backcountry. It is important to note that ski parks, although designated and prepared, and the activities conducted within them, have a different risk and would therefore require the “Pro” level of cover.

When considering the limits of your off-piste cover it is important to take into consideration the particular resort you are visiting. Laws and practice vary from country to country, and place to place, so it is necessary that you observe and comply with local law at all times. This includes taking account of signs, information and advice given by the local resort authority each day. If local advice and laws are disobeyed, your cover may be compromised.


Off-piste with a guide: considering your guide

If you have chosen our “Adventurer” cover, this will cover you off-piste with a guide. At ERGO we define a guide as a qualified professional who is recognised as a guide by the resort, or advertised as such by a tour operator. When choosing your guide you will need to take this into consideration. We want to ensure that when you are going off-piste, you are being guided by someone with the necessary skills and expertise.


Taking reasonable care off-piste

Equipment musts: probe, shovel, transceiver (and training/knowledge of how to use these)
Recommendations: mobile phone, first aid kit, whistle, rope, extra clothing.
Don’t venture off-piste when there is an avalanche rating of 3, 4 or 5.
Keep to terrain appropriate to your level of experience, accompanied by an experienced guide. Never go off-piste alone.


Avalanche rating

An Avalanche rating scale is used to represent the risks posed on a particular day; highlighting the probability of an avalanche being triggered.

There are 5 Avalanche Risk levels, with 1 being the lowest (the least likely to trigger an avalanche) running through to 5 at the top of this scale where the danger level is very high and conditions are the most unstable. It is essential to be aware of the Avalanche Warnings in your local resort as advised by the resort authority, and study these each day before going out.

We advise against going off piste when the resort or local authority has designated an Avalanche Warning Grade of 3 – 5.

As well as heeding professional advice, be attentive to avalanche warning signs such as the snow cracking beneath you, and factors that can increase the risk of an avalanche such as a high snowfall in a short space of time (e.g. a rate of 2 cm per hour).

5. Very High: Many large and multiple very large natural avalanches are expected

4. High: Triggering an avalanche is likely. Medium- sized and large-sized natural avalanches can be expected

3. Considerable: Triggering an avalanche is possible, and in some cases large-sized natural avalanches are possible

2. Moderate: Low danger of natural avalanches.

1. Low: No danger of natural avalanches.

Note: This is a general guide to ski safety information and winter sport safety in general. It is down to you as an individual to pay attention to local rules and regulations when participating in winter sports activities.


Family Ski Insurance

At ERGO we understand that not all families are the same, especially when it comes winter sports holidays. When you’re busy balancing baggage and organising itineraries – it’s hard to accommodate both young groomed slope skiers and teenagers with a passion for ripping stunts in the organised parks! – we know the last thing you want is the hassle of finding a suitable family ski insurance policy.

But we can help take the stress of family ski.

All you have to do is choose your base cover, and then decide if your family is a Rookie, Adventurer or Pro…



If you and your family want to stick to the groomed slopes, take in the scenery or take each grade of slope at your leisure, then you may want to consider our Rookie level. The Rookie level is included as standard.



Designed to add a little more excitement, Adventurer takes you off the trodden track. Whilst the kids are at ski school, you and an organised group might decide to tame the untouched powder off-piste! Or if your children are experienced enough, you could all carve a new trail into the snow!

Our Adventurer upgrade caters for a variety of different activities (refer to “Choose your product” below). Generally if you are looking to experiment slightly beyond the groomed slopes, or try your hand at a slightly more adventurous activity, this upgrade may be of interest to you. Simply select “Adventurer” when you get a quote.



If you and your family demand more from your winter sports holiday, and the groomed slopes are just not enough, our Pro cover may be of interest! For the family who live for untouched powder without the assistance of a guide, or for family members who want to try their hand at stunts in an organised park, you may want to consider our Pro cover.


Cat Skiing

The concept of Cat Skiing came about a few decades ago when a new breed of vehicles – Snowcats – enabled people to climb up steep, snow covered mountains with ease. The skiers then ski down the hill, while the vehicle heads to the bottom to await their arrival.

It is an exciting and rewarding pursuit, and is popular in Canada in particular. As with all winter sports it pays to make sure you have the right insurance, just in case something goes wrong!

The concept of Cat Skiing came about a few decades ago when a new breed of vehicles – Snowcats – enabled people to climb up steep, snow covered mountains with ease. The skiers then ski down the hill, while the vehicle heads to the bottom to await their arrival.

It is an exciting and rewarding pursuit, and is popular in Canada in particular. As with all winter sports it pays to make sure you have the right insurance, just in case something goes wrong!

Cat Skiing Insurance

At ERGO we can offer you a selection of insurance policies designed for speciality breaks, including many winter sports policies that will cover you for a cat skiing holiday. The range of policies we offer includes those that cover you for cancellations and disruptions, and we also have an annual policy for those occasions when you want to get away quickly.

Our specialist policies come complete with our Emergency Medical Expenses cover, and are further enhanced by free access to an Emergency Medical Assistance provider, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Furthermore, our Euro Center teams – English speaking medical experts in various locations across the world who are there to help you in your time of need – offer added peace of mind.

As part of Europäische Reiseversicherung A.G. Munich – an ERGO Group company – it is no surprise that we have carefully considered who we use as partners, and we have also made sure that our online booking and payment system is safe, secure and easy to use.

Our quote system is fast and simple, leaving you all the time in the world to plan your cat skiing holiday safe in the knowledge you have the right winter sports travel insurance for your needs.


Heli Skiing

When you no longer get an adrenalin rush from a black run, it might be time to step up your game and get even more adventurous on the slopes. With heli-skiing, you ditch the lifts in favour of a helicopter, which means you have access to hundreds of undiscovered slopes in their pure and natural state.


Heli Skiing Insurance

Fresh snow, uncharted slopes and utter isolation are just some of the attractions of heli-skiing and it’s becoming an ever more popular pastime with seasoned snow lovers. Of course, you won’t find any chalets serving hot chocolate and cheese fondue halfway down the slope. But that’s a small price to pay for the privilege of you and a guide being able to enjoy a whole mountainside of fresh, untracked snow.

Regular insurance packages won’t cover such adventurous pursuits, which is why we have created bespoke policies that you can tailor to your specific interests. You can add heli-skiing to our standard ‘rookie’ ski insurance policy, along with a number of other adventure ski options, so that your insurance reflects your pursuits.

Take your time to read through our winter sports insurance products and decide which is right for you. We’re confident that whatever you path down, or up the mountain is, we’ll have the right product for you.

Please note: There also a variety of different non winter sports activities you are covered for, please refer to the policy wordings for more information.


Off-piste ski insurance

Being the first to brush over light, perfect, untouched snow is a holy grail for skiers and snowboarders alike. And after mastering the black runs, the craving to carve through amazing scenery can be great – with the rewards even greater.

But if you’ve never experienced the sweet taste of off-piste powder and it’s your first time, we’d suggest that you don’t go alone. Research ahead, look for organised groups within your resort, find out what the experience will give you, and find out the safety procedures to ensure your off-piste trip is as perfect as the powder.

Be aware that some insurance policies do not provide cover for off-piste. So if off-piste with a guide is on your travel “to-do” list, you may want to consider ERGO’s Adventurer winter sports insurance product for your off-piste insurance.

Alternatively, if you’re an experienced off-piste pro, ready to take on the backcountry with your buddies without a guide, you may want to consider ERGO Pro off-piste ski insurance. This insurance not only covers off-piste without a guide, but also a wide range of hazardous activities to include freestyle in an organised park, heli-skiing and cat-skiing – see our range of winter sports products for further information.

And of course, before you take on the mountain, always make sure you take the necessary safety precautions. To help, we’ve put together the following off-piste safety guide – ERGO Off-Piste Guidelines

Most importantly, ERGO provide off-piste ski insurance that can cover you for off-piste with a professional guide and off-piste ski insurance without a professional guide if you are more experienced. Simply fill in our Quote selecting the correct criteria depending on your level of experience and the activities you are taking part in on your tour or ski holiday.


Freestyle Snowboarding Insurance

Winter sports offer great excitement and a welcome break, and freestyle snowboarding has to be one of the most thrilling of all. The speed and the adrenaline rush is something that will never be forgotten. If you are booking a trip to go freestyle snowboarding, we at ERGO can offer you a choice of specialist insurance policies that will give you the best cover.

We deal in a wide variety of different areas of insurance including many specialist winter sports insurance packages and can also insure you for cancellation or disruption. We have policies for European holidays, travel in the USA and group travel.

All of our policies include our Emergency Medical Expenses cover which is further backed up by access, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to an Emergency Medical Assistance provider. We also offer access to our Euro Centres, teams of English speaking medical experts located across the world and who will provide expert help in the event you are injured or unwell.

Our online booking, payment and quotation systems are designed ease of use, safety and security, leaving you the pleasure of planning your holiday and looking forward to an exciting time on the slopes.

All of our winter sports policies cover skiing and snowboarding as standard, but if you decide that you want to go off-piste, try a bit of heli-skiing or cat-skiing, even backcountry ski touring can be on your list. Check out our Rookie, Adventurer or Pro cover options to find the one that suits you and your activities.

Sometimes it’s good to escape from the crowds and cross country skiing is the perfect way to leave the masses behind and head out to uncharted territory. It can be exhilarating and unexpected, with no regimented runs to steer you in a fixed route down the slopes. But proper Cross Country Ski Insurance is essential if you’re planning to head into the backcountry.


Cross Country Ski Insurance

With cross country skiing, you’re free to explore the terrain and choose your own path across the mountainside. No queues, no speed freaks, no noise – just a few like-minded individuals, your skis and an endless vista of fresh snow. Cross country skiing is pure escapism and isn’t that what holidays are all about?

Of course, not all insurance policies encourage a sense of adventure. If you check out the fine print, you could well discover that many policies restrict you to the regular runs and won’t cover you for all the activities that make a winter sports holiday so incredible.

Not so at ERGO: we appreciate that a skiing holiday is about so much more than just a gentle green run and a hot toddy. We think our customers should be able to engage in all manner of winter sports and activities; they should feel free to indulge their adventurous side. That’s why all our policies include cover for cross country skiing, but it doesn’t stop there – you’re also covered for freestyle snowboarding, mono skiing and snowblading, as well as countless other sports and activities.

Depending on whether you’re a novice or a more seasoned skier, you can choose between our Red Rookie Cover or Black Rookie Cover. You then have the opportunity to add an Adventurer or Pro package to your cover, which is perfect if you want to race or go off piste. Our policies are transparent, so you know exactly what you’re covered for when you step off the ski lift.

Booking a ski mountaineering holiday is an exciting time, and there is so much you need to consider. One of the least exciting of these is insurance, but it is also the most important. At ERGO we have a range of specialist policies that can cover you for all your winter sports needs, including ski mountaineering insurance.


Ski Mountaineering Insurance

We can offer you cover for European or Worldwide destinations, so there’s not a mountain in the world that will be out of your reach when that “I need to conquer a mountain” feeling take hold, and also have available policies that are specially designed for ski mountaineering, and we are aware of the particular risks involved.

All of our insurance policies come complete with Emergency Medical Expenses cover, providing you with 24/7 access to an Emergency Medical Assistance provider for added peace of mind. Our Euro-Center teams are English speaking medical experts situated across the world, and are there to help you in the event you need assistance.

We also work closely with specialist medical assistance providers who are able to provide helicopter rescue should you need to be taken off the mountain in those hard to access areas.

At ERGO we select our partners very carefully in order to ensure that you get the best possible cover when you come to purchase your ski mountaineering insurance policy. We promise safe and secure online booking and payment, and have made sure the online process is as simple as can be.

Our aim is to make buying insurance for your skiing trip as quick and straightforward as possible, allowing you to concentrate on organising the rest of your holiday.

And if you need more convincing that ERGO are the ones to take care of you, then you can be rest assured that as well as an award winning winter sports insurance product, you’ll be buying insurance from the company that is trusted by some of the UK’s best instructor companies and athletes.

The thrills of mono-skiing cannot be described in words, for there is nothing quite like this extreme winter sport for excitement and indulgence. As it grows in popularity, many more ski resorts are offering packages that invite beginners and more experienced skiers to experience the sheer rush of mono-skiing. The key to getting the best out of your holiday is to have the peace of mind of the right holiday insurance cover.


Mono Skiing Insurance

At ERGO we can offer specialised policies that include cover for mono-skiing, as we know that being injured abroad can be expensive. We provide cover for both European and Worldwide destinations that are popular with winter sports enthusiasts. There are particular policies that are there to cater for skiers.

“A monoski is a single wide ski used for skiing on snow. The same boots, bindings, and poles are used as in alpine skiing. Unlike in snowboarding, both feet face forward, rather than sideways to the direction of travel” – wikipedia

You can also take advantage of our Emergency Medical Expenses cover which comes as standard with all policies, and which – coupled with access to 24/7 Emergency Medical Assistance providers – adds extra peace of mind for your holidays.

For further assistance we offer access to our Euro Center teams, a selection of English speaking medical experts who are located across the world and who are ready to help you should you find yourself injured or unwell.

With an easy to use, safe and secure online booking and payment system, and a quotation process that makes buying your mono skiing insurance quick and simple, ERGO can help with all your specialist insurance needs.




Andy Cresco

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