Keeping safe abroad

The intention of this document is to provide students from the University of Strathclyde participating in trips abroad with guidance, in such a way as to keep safe and manage their affairs to minimise risk and liability in the unfortunate event of an individual having an accident.


Passports, Visas & Travel Insurance

If travelling abroad it is each participant’s responsibility to ensure they have current and valid passports and visas for the country they are visiting, details on which countries require visas can be found at

Participants should also be responsible for purchasing their own travel insurance and ensuring it is adequate for their needs. This is advised for all overseas trips, especially on Winter Sports trips where medical treatment may be private.

You must take precaution of personal insurance requirements should when travelling abroad for Snowsports activity – you will require Winter Sports insurance as part of your own Personal Travel insurance policy.

Please note, for the avoidance of doubt, insurance from Sports Union membership does not provide cover medical care when abroad, nor when taking part in activity outwith auspices of the Sports Union, University or Students’ Association.

All participants are urged to take out their own personal injury policy. Obviously there is inherent risk in undertaking any sport but please ask questions of yourself when thinking about taking part in your sport, like if you were to lose the use of a limb how would that affect your career prospects? If you are studying for engineering for example and you lost the use of a hand that could be detrimental to your studies and eventual career path. For a relatively small fee you can take out your own personal injury and accident insurance that will cover you should the worst happen.


European Health Insurance Card

All participants must ensure they have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling in Europe. This card entitles you to reduced cost (or sometimes fee) state-provided healthcare where treatment becomes medically necessary during a temporary visit to other countries of the European Economic Area or Switzerland. It gives you access to treatment under the same terms as people who line in the country you are visiting. Please visit for more information.


Risk Assessment

Risk assessment attempts to highlight some of the risks associated with your respective sport, and to suggest how control measures may be put in place. Participants should contact the Activity Leader to request a copy of the club risk assessment.


Participant Responsibilities

Participants should note however that everyone has a responsibility for safety to some extent. As a group member therefore you have a responsibility to report any dangerous occurrences or accidents you are made aware of so that these are included in next year’s risk assessment. Similarly participants have a responsibility to make the trip organisers aware of any medical conditions which may affect their abilities in this sport.

Safe participation in all sport is very important. If you have any medical condition or previous injury that may affect your safe participation you must consult your GP to obtain medical clearance. Prior to any activity participants have a responsibility to inform activity leaders (in confidence) with regards to any medical condition.

By being taking part in sporting activity you may be participating in activities which involve an above average element of risk, in an environment where professional medical and rescue services may not always be immediately available.

It is the participants responsibility to ensure that they fully understand the exact nature of each activity they undertake, the risks involved, the skill levels required and the equipment needed for their safe participation.

Participants should ensure that they never take part in any activity where they are unsure of any of the above aspects. It is the participants responsibility to notify their next of kin of their desire to participate in the sport before engaging in the activity.


Emergency Procedures

All University of Strathclyde sports clubs adopt USSU’s Emergency Procedures for all club activity. These procedures identified below should be followed in the event of a SERIOUS ACCIDENT or MAJOR INCIDENT involving club participants whilst on a club activity, trip, tour or holiday.

If your club has a minor accident, non-life threatening injury to a participant or has incurred damage to a hired vehicle/piece of club equipment – all which DO NOT involve contacting the Emergency Services, please complete an Accident Report Form and return to the Club Captain/President as soon as possible. You are not required to use the Emergency Procedures in such instances as these.

Definition: A serious accident or major incident is one which results in people being killed, detained in hospital, arrested or rescued.

To view the Emergency Procedures visit /resources.


Alcohol, Drugs & Substance Misuse

The University of Strathclyde takes a zero tolerance approach towards drugs and substance abuse. Acts involving illegal activity will be reported to the Police.

A participants , who misuses drugs or substances will, in the absence of strong mitigating circumstances, be considered to have committed an act of serious misconduct and potentially gross misconduct. This also applies to any participants who is believed to be buying or selling drugs and/or substances, unlawfully possessing drugs and/or substances, who has stolen drugs and/or substances, or who is or has been involved in the attempted illegal manufacture of drugs and/or substances.

Participants have a responsibility to:

  • Not to misuse alcohol, drugs or other substances to the detriment of their club, Sports Union or University.
  • Not to bring illegal substances when taking part in organised activity, or collude in so doing at any time.
  • Not to supply illegal substances or collude in so doing, in connection with their involvement in university sport.
  • To report to the respective Activity Leader if they reasonably suspect an individual  is misusing alcohol, drugs or substances in a respective sports club falling under the auspices of the University and by doing so is placing themselves/others at risk.
  • To cooperate in full with any procedures put in place.


Taking Care

All beginners are encouraged to take lessons prior to going on an organised trip and are reminded that injuries are much more common in beginners and bad habits learnt early on are difficult to resolve later.

Once participants are on the slopes they are responsible for their own actions and must follow the rules of the slope operators as detailed on lift passes. Participants should never ski alone. You will be encouraged to work in twos with less experienced skiers and snowboarders often being paired with someone more competent.



Before going onto the slopes students are responsible for checking their own equipment and that it is all in good working order and that it fits and feels comfortable. If at all unsure you should consult a more experienced participants for help.

Skiers and snowboarders should be equipped with adequate clothing and have a change of clothing if the slopes are some way from the accommodation. Clothing should be warm and windproof.


Guidelines for Skiers & Snowboarders

Users of marked Piste

  • You ski/snowboard at your own risk.
  • Pay attention to all signs and markers.
  • Please ski/snowboard on marked runs – these are protected from unexpected alpine dangers.
  • The areas outside the marked runs are not patrolled or groomed.
  • Watch out for Piste machines.
  • Respect nature – take care not to ski/snowboard in areas where young trees or wildlife will be disturbed and don’t drop litter.
  • Consider taking lessons on a dry slope and fitness sessions before going on holiday.


Pistes are often classified according to their difficulty:

Easy : Green
Intermediate : Blue
Medium Difficult : Red
Difficult : Black



  • Outside the marked pistes and itineraries are areas which are NOT protected from alpine dangers:Signs around the ski/snowboard area will warn you when avalanche danger is present
  • Even when there is no warning of avalanches there could be localised snow slides

Participants are strongly encouraged not to ski/snowboard off-piste. You should be aware that if injured whilst offpiste you may not be covered by your Personal Accident insurance as this may be classed as an ‘activity undertaken in the pursuit of danger’ – check your policy!


Skiing & Snowboarding Alone

No one should ski/snowboard alone (except perhaps at bottom of a nursery slope and in full view of public) for two reasons:

  1. Respect – Do not endanger others
  2. Control – Adapt the manner and speed of your skiing to your ability and to the general conditions of the mountain.
  3. Choice of route – The skiier in front has priority – leave enough space
  4. Overtaking – Leave plenty of space when overtaking a slower skier
  5. Entering & Starting – Look up and down the mountain each time before starting or entering a marked run.
  6. Stopping – Only stop at the edge of the Piste where you can easily be seen.
  7. Climbing – When climbing up or down always keep to the side of the Piste.
  8. Signs – Obey all signs and markings – they are for your safety.
  9. Assistance – In case of accident provide help and alert the rescue services.
  10. Identification – All those involved in an accident, including witnesses, should exchange names and addresses.

All the above rules are binding in law and apply to both skiers and snowboarders.


Dry Slopes

When on dry ski slopes remember:

  • As a spectator not to go on the slope.
  • Not to put hands through wrist loops.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves and trousers to protect yourself from chaffing on the matt when you fall.



Beginners are encouraged to attend lessons to gain skills and experience. These can be arranged through the club at a dry slope or alternatively at a resort.



Individuals should be aware of what time transport is leaving and make sure they return at that time. If you do not return to the minibus it will be assumed that you have encountered difficulties on the slope and the Ski Patrollers will be informed.

Finally, remember skiing is a safe sport if all guidelines are respected. Follow the FIS Code on Piste Safety (see above): it may sound dull but the overwhelming majority of accidents occur because someone breaks this code. Additionally, in this day and age of accident litigation, the FIS Code is frequently being used by lawyers seeking damages to define negligence on the slopes – ignore the code and you may well be held liable.


First Aid

Due to the nature of sports activities it is important to have First Aiders in attendance at club activities in the event of an accident or injury. Check with the Club Captain/President to ensure the holiday rep provider ensure that First Aiders and the appropriate First Aid equipment are available for the activity. Any accidents should be reported immediately following the University incident reporting procedures.


Further information

For more information on health & safety guidelines and resources please visit /resources.