Preparing for a winter holiday
Posted by: the personal injury help and advice team
Whilst personal injury and illness shouldn’t prevent the opportunity of well-earned getaways, preparation is essential to reduce the chances of further injury, as well as stress and anxiety.
Researching the most accessible destinations and putting a planned structure in place may be necessary, as well as considering some basic but important health and safety precautions. Our personal injury help and advice team have listed a few areas to consider when embarking on a winter getaway.
Appropriate clothing should be a priority when preparing for a winter holiday. Good quality, warm and waterproof clothing can make the difference between a miserable time and an experience to remember.
Incorporating various layers to an outfit, from technical thermals to insulating fleeces, will allow the body to adequately manage the combination of cold temperatures and high activity. Pockets on items such as jackets and ski pants are a useful way to store and access essential items, for example medication, sun cream and insurance details.
As well as this, accessories such as gloves and socks shouldn’t be overlooked in freezing climates. Cold hands and feet can result in physical discomfort, with temporary to permanent effects; therefore purchasing higher quality products such as waterproof gloves and ski socks is an important move.
For most winter holidays, goggles or sunglasses are necessary in protecting the eyes from spray, wind and sunlight. When purchasing these products, be sure that the lens is suitable in all light-levels or adjustable.
If a lens is made solely for sunny days, its dark filter will make it difficult to see when the weather turns. At the same time, if a lens is made for whiteout conditions, it will not provide enough protection once the sun comes out.
Whilst a helmet may not be a glamourous choice of apparel, it is an essential piece of equipment for winter sports in case of an accident, and can often be hired at no additional cost. During inevitable falls, a helmet will substantially protect the head from serious injury and damage.
Altitude can make daily activities that bit more difficult, so it might be helpful to practise some light exercise and work up a base level of fitness before a winter holiday. There are a multitude of exercises and options available to suit individual needs.
For those who prefer to exercise at home, yoga is a good way to build up core muscles and slowly develop strength and stability. When trying a winter sport such as skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating, good overall fitness, posture and balance can be beneficial; specific training for these areas may improve performance.
If it’s been a while since practising a winter sport, or if it’s a first, have the patience to understand the correct techniques and learn them first. Follow advice from a GP, work at a pace that you feel comfortable with, and stop if you experience any discomfort, breathlessness or pain. But limited mobility or lack of confidence might mean winter sports aren’t a possibility.
Winter landscapes are full of hidden dangers, whether that’s tree stumps and rocks, icy ground and glaciers or the risk of avalanches. Taking caution, being prepared and following weather warnings is essential.
Whilst it is exciting to venture off-piste and discover untouched snow, it is important to seek professional advice. Always stay away from closed areas, and hire an all-mountain instructor if you wish to welcome the best spots safely.