Winter sports are attracting more and more holidaymakers. Several disciplines are very popular: all forms of skiing (downhill, cross-country, off-trail, telemark…), snowboarding and its associated activities (mountain surfing, free riding, rando surfing, kite surfing…), but also ice-skating, bobsledding, snow-shoeing, tobogganing, curling, dog-sledding, all terrain snow biking, and even sub-ice scuba diving.
The mountains, snow and sun make for an exhilarating vacation, but one that is not risk-free. Every year, hundreds of accidents and injuries are reported. Skiing and snowboarding are very physical sports and are particularly hard on joints; your body must be well prepared and in good shape. In addition, winter sports combine the ill effects of the cold, high altitudes and the sun: therefore it’s important to anticipate all aspects of your winter holiday in order to safely embark on your snow-filled adventure.
Follow these recommendations and fully enjoy your winter holiday in the snow:
Bigger children, adolescents and adults can take advantage of all the wonders that mountains offer in the winter. However, these high altitude “snow” sports are ill-advised for those with heart disease, respiratory deficiency, chronic bronchitis, asthma – if provoked by the cold or physical effort, early or late pregnancies and certain blood diseases or psychiatric troubles. All of these situations require a medical opinion before planning a ski holiday.
As for children, choose your ski resort carefully and consider the altitude. If your child is less than one year old, you should avoid resorts above 1,200 meters (3,600 feet). From one year on you can take your infant to a ski resort situated up to 1,500 meters (4,500 feet), but use your good judgement. Only at four years old can a child fully enjoy all the fun and activities of snow and high altitudes. Be particularly careful and cautious when using the chairlifts and gondolas, because of the dramatic change in altitude.
Before three years old, small children ski only a little, if at all. They are consequently particularly susceptible to the cold due to their relative immobility. It’s very important to keep them well covered. Total sun block and high-level protection sunglasses are a must for all children.
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