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More people are planning a winter sports holiday this year, but many of them will set off without the right travel insurance, according to travel agency association ABTA.

Without winter sports insurance, skiers and snowboarders put themselves at risk of having to pay huge medical bills if they have an accident or get injured on the slopes.

ABTA has teamed up with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to warn skiers and snowboarders about the dangers of travelling without the appropriate insurance. They pointed out that the under-35s, who are most likely to take a winter sports holiday, are also the least likely to take out winter sports insurance. Almost a third (32%) of this group travel without adequate winter sports insurance.

New and experienced skiers should check their insurance to make sure it is up to date and includes winter sports cover.

Martin Redmond, from the Foreign Office´s Know Before You Go Team, commented: “Whether you are an experienced skier or hitting the slopes for the first time, it is crucial to take out appropriate travel insurance. Those who don´t do so risk having to pay thousands of pounds in medical bills, so we urge British nationals going on a winter sports break to choose a policy that covers them for everything they want to do.”

People going on ‘winter wonderland´ style breaks, including trips to Lapland, also need to think about what their insurance covers because it may not include activities such as reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobiling and ice fishing.

ABTA found in a recent survey that one in five (19%) people in the UK intend to take a winter holiday this year, and 18% of those are planning to go skiing or snowboarding. That´s an increase from 15% in 2013 and 10% in 2012, which ABTA said was partly due to so-called ‘lapsed skiers´ planning a return to the slopes as the economy recovers.