by Olivia Rudgard, The Daily Telegraph, January 18, 2017
Thousands of holidaymakers going on skiing trips are dismayed at reports of bare slopes, with dry conditions meaning many resorts have been reliant on snow cannons.
It’s been a terrible week for skiers, and there are fears entire resorts will have to close as drought warnings mean snow cannons have to be switched off. A more positive forecast suggests this may now be avoided – but if you have been unable to ski, can you claim compensation?
Will my holiday be affected?
Some parts of the Alps have seen more snowfall than others, so it depends on the resort you are visiting.
According to website weathertoski.co.uk, conditions are improving in the Alps, with some resorts in Austria and Switzerland benefiting from snowfall.
More snow is forecast, so things are looking up. However, many pistes and lifts are still closed, limiting skiiers’ options.
If you’re heading to Canada or America conditions have been very good and you should have no problem finding somewhere to ski. And if your holiday was booked during the period when many pistes were closed, this will be little consolation.
Am I covered?
It depends on your insurance policy. If you have a winter sports policy then it should include compensation for days you cannot ski.
However, it is unlikely that a lack of snow will be accepted as a reason to cancel the holiday altogether, though some specialist policies provide this.
Many policies also won’t cover you if your resort is below a certain level, for example 1,600m, or if you took out the cover within 14 days of the holiday, unless you booked the trip at the same time.
If you haven’t bought insurance yet, buying it now with a view to claiming compensation will be seen as fraudulent by insurers, who will check whether the poor conditions were “public knowledge” at the time you bought the insurance.
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How much compensation can I get?
It depends on the policy, but insurers generally pay out around £25 to £35 a day for piste closure.
It’s designed to cover the cost of travelling further afield to find snow, or of alternative activities.
This only kicks in if it’s been impossible to ski – so will not pay if even a small bit of the resort is open.
It may also be scant consolation for skiers who have paid out hundreds on flights and hotels.
For example, Nationwide will pay out £35 a day per insured person, up to a maximum of £525.
Some insurers, such as LV, will also pay out for the cost of unused lift passes, guides, equipment hire and tuition.
However, the insurer will not cover you for costs if you cancel or cut the trip short.
You have to provide evidence from a tour operator or resort manager that pistes were closed.
This article was written by Olivia Rudgard from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.