Safety first: winter sports checklist

15 February 2023


Stories abound every year about what can go wrong on winter sports. The good news: it’s partly in your control. So how do you make sure you get home unscathed? A checklist of the best safety-first tips in all things winter sports.

Preparation is essential
If you want to minimise the risk of injuries and other aches and pains, it is smart to get moving a few months before your winter sports holiday. Go to the gym, put on your running shoes, and do abdominal and leg exercises while watching TV. If you are fit, you are much less likely to get into trouble on your skis or snowboard. Has it been a while since you’ve been on winter sports? Book a few lessons at an indoor track at home, or schedule some lessons with a professional instructor during your first days on holiday.

Decent equipment
Good equipment is frighteningly expensive. But it’s better to spend a little extra than having to go back home with a broken leg, right? Skiing and snowboarding is safer and more pleasant on proper boots from a good brand, such as Fischer, Head or Lange. As for your outfit, it is smart to invest in a three-layer system: an underlayer of thermal underwear and socks, then an insulating layer of down or fleece over that, and lastly a protective outer layer. Also indispensable: well-fitting ski goggles, waterproof and snowproof gloves, a sturdy helmet, a warm hat, ‘normal’ sunglasses and a pair of snow boots with a good profile.

Suitable location
As a beginner, you can of course travel straight to Lech, home to Europe’s steepest ski route. With a gradient of 142 per cent, the adrenaline will surely course through your body! Gamsleiten in Austria’s Obertauern, with a gradient of 100 per cent, is also guaranteed to give you heart palpitations. But it might be better to practise on some more accessible, less steep slopes first. In places like Ellmau in Austria, Valmorel in France, Corvara in Italy and Lenzerheide in Switzerland, you will find relatively many blue slopes.

Wise with winter sun
The higher you get, the more powerful the sun shines. That effect is enhanced by the pack of snow at your feet, which reflects UV rays like a mirror. This makes it important to put on sun screen often and thickly during your winter holiday – even when the sun is not shining brightly. Use SPF50 for the first few days and at least SPF30 for the following days. Apply the first layer half an hour before you go out and repeat a few times a day. Tip: don’t forget your ears and lips, as they burn fastest.

Going off-piste
Going off the beaten track is adventurous and fun, but it also carries extra risks. Only do it if you are in good shape, always take an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe, pack your phone and a first aid kit, carry an avalanche backpack on your back, tighten your bindings a little more securely and save the number of the local rescue service in your phone. Before you leave, check the regular weather report and the avalanche weather report and only go off-piste if visibility is good and stays that way. Never go alone and enlist a guide if you go into unknown terrain. But… it is naturally always safer to just stay on the slopes.

How financially fit are you?
Besides a healthy life, you want a healthy pension. By staying aware of the pension market and react to it in a flexible way, we keep your pension in top condition. Do you already have a pension scheme with BeFrank? Then you can see how your pension is doing on your Personal Pension page. Here you will also find the most important updates. Do you not have a pension scheme with BeFrank yet? Ask your employer about the possibilities.