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Skiing can seem a little crowded when families and novices all pile on piste at once. If you are a seasoned skier with the skill to ski off piste, Essential Travel caters to you by providing travel insurance for skiing off piste with, and without a guide.

What is classed as Off-piste Skiing?

Finding proper insurance that will cover off-piste skiing can often be a challenge. What's more, many insurers are unclear as to exactly what they will cover, and what is classed as off-piste skiing can vary.

Generally, off-piste skiing is classed as skiing beyond the marked boundaries of the ski resort. However, this explanation can often be more than a little confusing. What happens when a resort decides to mark an existing piste as out of bounds? In this instance, you'll find that were skiing out of bounds goes against resort safety recommendations, your cover will not be valid.

Off Piste Skiing Insurance

For off-piste skiing, you will need to add extra Sports Cover. There are two sports grades you will need to choose from depending on the type of off-piste skiing you'll be engaging in.

Off Piste Skiing with a guide
For skiing off-piste with a guide, add 'Winter Sports' to your quote. This will give you standard level cover when you ski off-piste, so long as you are accompanied by a qualified guide.

Off Piste Skiing without a guide
Although most insurers won't cover skiing off-piste without an accompanying guide, with Essential Travel this isn't the case. If you don't want a guide, just add Sports Grade 4 and Winter Sports to your policy and you will be covered.

Under either of these cover options, it's still your responsibility to use good judgement and follow resort safety guidelines.

Staying safe off-piste

Check the avalanche risk - Before striking out into the unknown, it's absolutely essential that you check the avalanche risk. Avalanche risk charts for different locations can usually be found online, as well as at most ski lifts and stations. The risk is scaled from 1 to 5, with 5 indicating the highest risk of unstable snow and avalanche. Skiing off-piste during periods of high risk is not advised, not least because of the added dangers, but because this could invalidate your cover should you choose to ignore the recommended safety guidelines.

Use a buddy system - Even for veteran's of the back country, taking a friend along when you go off-piste is highly recommended. Even so, stick to travelling in smaller groups of two to three people, as when there are more travellers on a snowpack, the likelihood of hitting a weak spot and triggering a slide is increased.

Don't forget to wear a helmet - Intermediate skiers can reach speeds of up to 30mph, with more experienced skiers topping 60mph, so personal safety gear is essential. Make sure your safety gear is in good condition before you hit the slopes: depending on the usage, your helmet should be replaced at least every three to six years.

Types of Winter Sports Cover

There are 3 types of travel insurance policies available to which Winter Sports can be added:

  1. Single Trip
    One trip up to a maximum of 87 days with up to 17 days of winter sports (ages 2 - 65*)
  2. Annual Multi Trip
    Multiple trips for year of up to 45 days each with winter sport cover for up to 17 days per year (ages 2 - 65*)
  3. Backpacker Trip
    Continuous cover for 2 years with up to 31 days of winter sports cover (ages 19 - 55)

*If you are 65 or older, find out about Travel Insurance for Over 65s.

Winter Sports Medical Cover

In addition to providing you with access to cover for mountain rescue, helicopter rescue and repatriation, your skiing holiday insurance will also cover the following:

Ski Equipment

Off Piste Ski protection includes theft, loss or damage to your personal gear as well as any pre-paid fees.

Feature Cover Limit Excess
Replacement or repair of equipment up to £750 from £75
Loss or damage of hired equipment up to £510 nil
Closed piste up to £500 nil
Unused ski packs up to £600 nil

Additional Winter Sports included

Listed in the table below are a range of ski-related activities and other winter sports that you are covered for at no extra cost with your Winter Sports add-on.

Winter Sports covered in the same quote
Air boarding Glacier Walking
Big Foot Skiing Huskey Dog Sledging organised and non-competitive
Blade Skating Ice Karting
Bum Boarding Ice Skating
Cross Country/Nordic Skiing Ice Windsurfing
Dog Sledging Kick Sledging
Dry Skiing Langlauf
Ski - blading Snow mobiling
Skiing - alpine Snow Shoe Walking
Skiing off piste with a guide Snow Tubing
Skiing on piste Tobogganing
Sledging Winter Walking (using crampons and ice picks only)
Sledging pulled by horse or reindeer as a passenger Snow boarding

Medical Conditions

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Single, Annual and Backpacker

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