Safety gadgets such as avalanche airbags are giving skiers a false sense of security, with many taking unnecessary risks while going off-piste, it is claimed today.
There is a risk of creating an illusion of safety, with several reported incidents of safety gadgets causing harm instead of protecting their users, according to travel insurance policy provider Alphatravelinsurance.co.uk.
In one case reported this year, a skier was caught in an avalanche while skiing off-piste. Although he was prepared and was wearing an avalanche airbag, the deployment sent him hurtling into a tree,
The warning came following a winter season which has seen multiple deaths on the slopes in Europe.
The insurer’s brand manager Chantelle Dadd said: “Attitudes in the holiday industry are changing, with the onus being put back onto the customer when it comes to safety.
“With that in mind, injuries that involve another person carry a risk of being part of a liability claim later on, with the injured person(s) able to make a claim within three years after the incident, and children being able to do so until the age of 21.
“The rising popularity of personal injury lawyers reflects the way in which our culture is changing, showing that incidents while on holiday can extend beyond your own personal claim for medical expenses, often incurring hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not more.
“Alpha always recommends that holidaymakers take reasonable precautions when taking part in any activities and always make sure it is it is covered under the travel insurance policy.”
Ski resorts across Europe suffered from poor snowfall and unusually warm temperatures at the beginning of the season leading to a sharp rise in the level of ‘no snow’ insurance claims over the previous winter.
Just 7% of winter claims were made for no snow in 2013-14, whereas this season has seen almost half (44%) of these claims made for the same reason.
However, the average cost per claim, with the average cost of a no snow claim for the 2013-14 season at £109.76, compared with the current season of £81.50 – a reduction of 26%.