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We have all heard stories about what can go wrong on a ski vacation, but if you prepare yourself in advance, get to know the rules and pay attention while on the slopes, there should be nothing standing in the way of a wonderful and safe experience.

Exercise in advance

Even if you have a good level of fitness, it is important that you start working the muscles used for skiing before your vacation. Once on vacation, give your body a quick workout and 10 min of stretching every time before you hit the slopes.

Make sure you're insured

Before you decide it's time to attempt that black run, make sure that you have an adequate winter sports insurance and read the small print of what's included.

Take some lessons

Even if you have been skiing before it could be a good idea to refresh your skills. In addition to excellent beginner sessions, many Austrian ski resorts are now offering ski comeback courses to ensure you get back to the slopes safely.

Keep track of the weather

Most Austrian hotels will have a daily weather report available at reception, but if unsure, ask. If you get caught by changing weather, call it a day rather than wait until it's too late. Despite avalanche risk assessment ( - German only), there is always a chance of unexpected avalanches in snowbound areas. If you are skiing off-piste, never go alone, take an avalanche pole, a transceiver or a shovel and - most importantly - a professional guide.

What to wear

UV rays are stronger at high altitudes and intensified by snow glare so wear ski goggles and apply sunscreen. Wear layers to adapt to the constant change in body temperature - not only caused by the going in and out of mountain huts! Children under 16 must wear a ski helmet and parents or other responsible adults must ensure that the helmet requirement is met.

Pay attention while on the slopes

Familiarize yourself with the FIS "Rules of the Slopes" before departure and watch out for others on the slopes. If you've had enough then allow yourself a rest off to the side of the slopes. Watch your speed and know your limits. It's a holiday after all, so no need to push yourself to the max. And if you feel it's time to call it a day, then even more opportunity to get to know Austria's legendary après-ski.

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