Resorts have decided to charge people who request first aid.
According to the Valle d' Aosta, tourists who have ski slope accidents whilst abroad will now need to pay up to €200 if they require medical assistance. The cost is to cover, for example the calling out of a helicopter, snowmobile or toboggan. The scheme is already operational in the Plan de Corones District of Trentino, with other regions like the Alto Adige following soon.
Nicola Bosticco, managing director of Bardonecchia district in Vasusa, said "Having rescue services which you have to pay for, discourages abuse." Nicola Bostico added, "Sometimes skiers want to be brought down to the valley in a snowmobile just because they've had too much to drink at the bar. A fee will therefore encourage tourists to make an informed decision before asking for the resort's rescue services."
The decision to charge tourists at resorts if they are involved in ski accidents whilst abroad is also (according to Aurelio Marguerettaz, counsellor for tourism in the valle d'Aosta) partly due to higher running costs and a reduction in profits over the past few years. In the past the costs were covered by regional authorities. Ferruccio Fournier, President of Valle d'Aosta's Cable Car Association, said that "It is an excellent service, and we want it to remain that way, but we need to guarantee a financial balance". He continued, "In the Valle d'Aosta region alone, rescue services come to the aid of around 3,500 skiers each year but many clients are already covered by insurance." In addition to this, there are stiff penalties if the system is misused, for instance, you would be liable to pay a penalty if you request a helicopter and are not in need of emergency medical care or are not in immediate danger. Resorts in regions like Veneto, Valle d'Aosta and Trentino are already implementing these charges, whilst others like Piedmont and Lombardy will be following soon.
The scheme however does not get the support of everyone, the President of the Alpine Rescue, Piergiorgio Baldracco commented, "Why should people who get hurt in the mountains have to pay for help when people who get into a car accident in Italy whilst talking on the phone don't have to? In this way, you risk disadvantaging a part of the population."
The countries that neighbour Italy do not offer free rescue services. Tourists normally buy insurance with their ski pass to avoid high fees in case of alpine accidents abroad. For example, policies are offered from €3 by Monterosa, Cervinia, and Courmayeur-Mont Blanc resorts.
Avoid a fee if you have an accident whilst abroad
Skiers are advised to have an insurance policy in place before they leave.
Have you been the victim of an accident whilst abroad that was not your fault? You may be able to make a personal injury claim.
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