13.2.2009 klo 11:49
Finns are well placed in downhill skiing safety statistics, compared with, for example, skiers in Central Europe, and also well familiar with proper conduct on the slopes. But occasionally we have near-accidents and unfortunately actual accidents, too.
"Staff in skiing centres want to prevent accidents and make this family hobby safer and safer," says Sari Tollet, Managing Director of the Finnish Ski Area Association (FSAA). "For example, we make rental helmets available to all skiers, and indeed, over half of all skiers wear one, and practically every child. This is also shown in the statistics in that head injuries tend to be less severe.
"In the coming season, we will use a uniform reporting system with the Finnish Red Cross for skiing centre accidents. Even the smallest thumb strain injury will be registered and we will try to learn from near-accidents.
Rules resembling road safety regulations
As both skiing equipment and the skill level of skiers have increased, so have speeds on the slopes. As in road traffic, it is important to control your own speed on the slope so that you can slow down or stop whenever necessary.
The rules for giving way are the same as in road traffic: the one coming from behind - that is, from above - gives way. You must also keep an eye on other people on the slope, so that you can go past them without danger. A snowboarder may move surprisingly quickly from side to side, and those coming from behind must be alert to this.
Ski patrols to help beginners
In addition to small children, all beginners are a challenge on the slope, and there are more and more of the latter every year, both Finns and foreigners. Not being used to snow or familiar the rules of conduct on the slopes is shown as uncertainty and sometimes dangerously high speeds.
"We train ski patrols for our skiing centres for the safe use of the slopes and lifts." Sari Tollet also recommends that you take skiing lessons. "Your instructor will tell you the rules and also the latest tips.
"We can work together to reduce accidents, but there is no way we can prevent them all. In case of accidents on the slope, we have cooperated with Pohjola to offer an insurance policy that covers damage both in Finland and abroad for up to EUR 8,500. The insurance is part of the Ski.fi card.
The continuous Eurooppalainen travel insurance provides cover for skiing and other leisure time accidents and illness during travel and also for your luggage. And what's more, the policy also covers family members under 15 travelling with the insured.
The insurance is valid on marked slopes, not if you go off-piste.
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