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Are Australians The World’s Worst Skiiers?

March 1, 2017 Insurance No Comments Email Email

Australia is not known for snow and optimal skiing conditions, and especially the desirable, deep powder that Japan is lucky enough to have on its slopes. This means that when Aussies actually get to Japan to ski or snowboard, according to new data from Travel Insurance Direct, they can be very bad at it.

In the past twelve months, Travel Insurance Direct have had close to 200 claims related to skiing, with the average cost of a claim being $4400, and almost all of them for injury and medical expenses.  Over half of these claims were made in Japan, making it potentially the most dangerous place to ski, followed by Canada, Europe and then New Zealand.

The most common injuries on a snowboard concern the wrist, knee, collarbone, ribs, teeth and shoulder dislocation.  For skiers, they tend to claim for injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament, lower leg or the head, so wearing a helmet is vital.

“We get a huge amount of claims from skiers and snowboarders. It can be a very dangerous sport and Aussies by nature like to ‘have a go’ and throw themselves in at the deep end. Unfortunately we just aren’t used to the snow conditions that are found in other countries such as Japan and North America so they get hurt” says Phil Sylvester, Travel Safety Expert at Travel Insurance Direct. “It’s not just on the slopes where Australians injure themselves: one customer claimed on their policy after falling off a ski lift in Japan.”

“Injuries can happen to anyone, and so often we hear about them happening on the first day of skiing,” says Susan Daniel from Ski Travel Company. “Ease into your skiing and snowboarding – its probably been close to 6 months or more since you last did it, plus jetlag might be a factor, as well as unfamiliar conditions or terrain. Take it easy on your first day, and don’t be afraid to call it quits early and go and check out the the bar!”

As for why Japan is such a fantastic ski destination, Susan says “Japan benefits from the cold winds blowing from the extremely cold Siberia, across the sea of Japan and into the mountains, where it rises and causes significant snowfall. And often that snow is brilliant, dry, powder – the best kind! Skiing and snowboarding in deep, light, dry powder is definitely a challenge the first few times, so it’s no wonder that Aussie’s, who aren’t used to it, tend to get injured.”

The President of the ski patrol at Australia’s Perisher Blue, Peter Kaim, says “The best advice I can give to Australians who want to get better at skiing and avoid injury is to read the Alpine responsibility code,” he says. “The code’s first two points are ‘ski in control’ and, most importantly, ‘get lessons’. A lot of skiers have a gung-ho attitude but never had a lesson, which is just asking for trouble.”

It isn’t all broken legs and dislocated shoulders though over in Japan during ski season. “You can’t forget the unique Japanese culture and how it makes for such a different ski holiday experience than anywhere else in the world” adds Susan. “Sake at lunch time, delicious food and the friendly Japanese hospitality will have you coming back time and again.”

Are you heading to Japan to go skiing?

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