Every winter we read reports in the media of serious injuries and deaths of skiers and boarders which make snow-lovers concerned about the sport’s safety. For many years, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and its members have worked together with accommodation and transport providers as well as other tourist services overseas to try to raise standards and promote a safer skiing environment.
In addition to this, Crystal Ski Holidays has fully-trained health and safety advisers overseas who, during the season, diligently audit suppliers using existing guidelines. All operational staff also go through health and safety training relevant to their position before the season gets underway. The FTO holds quarterly meetings in the UK with all ABTA ski operators which Crystal attends and contributes to significantly. Joint initiatives in how to further improve customer safety while on holiday are regularly discussed and put into place.
Following the successful safety awareness initiatives in the last few years to tackle alcohol misuse in ski resorts as well as pushing the need to have full travel insurance cover, the British Consulate in Marseille, in partnership with Crystal, has decided to continue with this campaign this coming winter and has organised a series of workshops in the French Alps supported by the police, the rescue services, and tourist offices.
What will be discussed at these workshops?
- How to prevent accidents and injuries
- Role of the different support services (i.e. Gendarmerie, municipal police, British Consulate, tour operators)
- What messages we want to get across to skiers and boarders and how we do that
- Q&A forum to give teams an opportunity to raise their concerns and share their thoughts
British Consul Simon Taylor said: “We hope to make as many people as possible aware of the specific dangers in the Alps so that their trip remains fun and trouble-free. We’ve been working closely with tourist offices, town halls and ski companies out here and we’ve been sharing good practice with the Gendarmerie Mountain Rescue Team. In the run up to Christmas and the start of the ski season, we’ll be holding meetings in the ski resorts to meet the tour operators, seasonal workers and local authorities to discuss safety on the slopes. We’ll also be distributing flyers specifically aimed at the British skiing community detailing our top tips and British Ambassador to France, Sir Peter Ricketts, has joined the campaign by video to remind people of some of our most important messages”
Crystal’s overseas director Nikki Hooper added: “It’s not about spoiling people’s fun, but we want to remind British skiers that prevention is always better than cure.”
Events and venues:
16 December – Les Deux Alpes
17 December – Alpe d’Huez
18 December – Tignes in the morning and Val Thorens in the afternoon