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Show-Off Skiers Causing Chaos On The Slopes
Wednesday, 25 January 2006
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Show-off skiers are causing chaos on the slopes with almost one-in-10 Brits having accidents on runs that are too difficult for them.

Peer pressure, boastfulness and sheer bravado are the main reason why nine per cent come to a sticky end on the piste, according to new research by Direct Line Travel Insurance.

Seventy-one per cent of skiers admit to attempting runs too difficult for them to tackle with 38 per cent citing a fear of being left behind and 15 per cent sheer peer pressure as the reason for this.

A further seven per cent confess to showing off to impress someone with their on-slope action.

Direct Line Travel Insurance head Chris Price said: "It is cause for concern to see the high number of people taking to the slopes without having the basic lessons on how to stop, start or slow down.

"As well as the pain and inconvenience suffered, having an accident on the slopes can cost thousands of pounds, particularly if it involves being airlifted off the slopes.

"Whilst we cannot always safeguard against an accident occurring, making sure you have proper lessons means you are less of a risk to yourself and others as well."

Surprisingly more experienced skiers are more likely to find themselves out of their depth.

Eighty-six per cent of advanced skiers have found themselves on a slope that they were unable to cope with, compared to 54 per cent of more cautious beginners.

But it's not only bravado putting the country's skiers and snowboarders at risk.

Despite experts recommending 8-12 weeks of sport-specific training to prevent injuries, more than half of skiers and snowboarders (51 per cent) don't get themselves in physical condition for their trips - with 62 per cent of these being beginners.

Inevitably accidents are fairly common. Over all more than a third of skiers and snowboarders (35 per cent) have been involved in incidents - 11 per cent of which were serious.

The consequences range from broken bones and concussion (both 11 per cent) to fractured bones and dislocated
joints (both seven per cent, according to the survey of 830 skiers and snowboarders.

As a result ski accidents often write off significant holiday time - with five per cent losing more than a week to injury and 15 per cent forced to sacrifice over three days.

But despite the status of skiing as an extreme support and the heightened risk factor 18 per cent still take to the slopes uninsured.

Added Mr Price said: "The very nature of skiing and snowboarding means you're putting yourself at a greater risk than you would be on a beach holiday.

"It's important not to take unnecessary risks, though, whether by tackling runs that are too difficult for you or not preparing yourself physically in advance.

"We would certainly advise all skiers and snowboarders to be aware of their limitations, start exercising well in advance of their holiday and to make sure they are insured in case anything does happen."

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