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Mountaineer, Skier, and Snowboarder Security

First aid was administered nearly 2000 times on the ski slopes of Bulgaria’s mountains last year. It addition to those mountain rescue services conducted 79 large-scale rescue operations. The sad thing about it is that five persons died on the mountain. Since the start of the season as many as 150 people received help in Bansko, 80 percent of them being foreign nationals. Over 400 rescuers were involved in these operations, says the Head of the Mountain Rescue Service with the Bulgarian Red Cross, Mr. Metodi Todorov.

  • Experts offer the following advice to mountaineers and skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts:
  • Never come to the mountain without a mountain health insurance policy. These provide a week, 15 days, six or 12 months of coverage. LEV INS offers Active Care Insurance which covers the cost of using a rescue helicopter in case of an accident. This unique insurance product costs 6 to 18 Bulgarian Levs and can be purchased at any one of the ticket counters of the Bansko ski lift system. According to Metodi Todorov a 3 to 4-hour rescue operation would cost you over 700 Bulgarian Leva if you did not have insurance. If the rescue operation calls for the use of a helicopter, the costs would go even higher.
  • Reliable equipment, worm clothes, and preparing your ski are a must.
  • Tourists and skiers must get in at least 2 hours before dark. If a trail takes 1 hour to complete in the summer time, in the winter you should allow yourselves at least two.
  • Cellular phones must be fully charged and battery time should be preserved.
  • Tell your family and friends about the route you are going to take, tell them your destination and your estimated time of arrival;
  • Gather information and ask the Mountain Rescue Service about the state of the ski slopes and the trails.
  • If you are a skier or a snowboarder you should always be mindful of all the other people on the slope.
  • If you wish to off-piste, never trust old tracks blindly.
  • Learn to overtake in a correct and safe manner.
  • Avoid stopping in narrow areas of the ski slope where visibility is limited. If a skier or a snowboarder should fall, it is the responsibility of the ones coming behind them to secure the area uphill of them and, if the fallen skier cannot get up under his own power, they should inform the mountain rescue officers on duty.
  • Every skier/snowboarder must abide by the instructions posted on the signs and notice boards.
  • Never ski without stoppers and security straps.
  • Do not ski without your gloves on.
  • When it is misty you should decrease your speed and increase the distance between you and the people ahead of you.
  • Remember that winter days are shorter.
  • Pay attention to the weather conditions and the messages regarding the state of the ski slopes.
  • Take meticulous care of your ski equipment!
  • Use well adjusted ski bindings and wear warm winter clothing.