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$100,000 USA Ski Accident

Hundreds of Australian’s injure themselves each year on the slopes. 52 year old mum, Holly Bisnette from Sydney knows this all too well after a ski accident in the USA.

Thankfully, the Bisnette’s 1Cover Travel Insurance policy, including snow sports, covered Holly’s significant medical expenses which amounted to $100,000 along with their additional flight costs of $24,000. 

Holly’s story, detailed below, is a warning, and a reminder to pack travel insurance when hitting the slopes.

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Holly Bisnette and her family on holiday before the accident.

“The whole purpose of the trip was to go and visit Brandon's [Holly’s husband] grandmother,” says Holly. “We'd always said that we would go for her 100th birthday. We thought, let's go and see her, and then we could do a bit of skiing as well at the resorts weren't very far from where she lives.”

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The Bisnette family get together for a milestone birthday in Connecticut

After a week spent in New York sightseeing, Holly and her family headed to Connecticut for some family time and later, the local ski resorts.

“The kids and I were having a really great morning and I had just said to them, I feel like I'm skiing the best I've ever skied. And that was the kiss of death for me.”


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Things quickly went downhill for Holly

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The Bisnette's on the slopes before the accident

“I was coming around a corner and the tip of my ski hit a clumpy icy bit and I fell.”

“I knew that I couldn't stand up.  I was very, very cold. I felt calm as I thought help would come, but I was concerned it was a bad injury.”

As Holly’s daughter Lauren had been skiing just ahead of her, she was able to alert ski patrol who would organise a skidoo rescue off the mountain. 

After being treated for shock at the ski patrol clinic, Holly’s ski boot was removed, and her injuries assessed.

After being taken to hospital, X-rays revealed that Holly had broken both her tibia and fibula (the calf and shinbone) and would require emergency surgery. A common injury in skiers, a tibia/fibula break is said to be particularly painful and almost always requires surgical intervention.

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AA post-operative Xray of Holly’s bone reconstruction.

What’s more, Holly also tested positive for Covid prior to her surgery and was unable to see her kids or much of her husband while recovering. Her accident also meant that the remainder of the family’s holiday plans, including a stay on a Boston houseboat, had to be cancelled.

“The kids had to fly home and have their last week of holidays there, while Brandon and I stayed in the US, it was quite distressing and unsettling for them.”

Holly’s injury also meant she was unable to fly home for another month.

“I wasn't going to be permitted to fly unless my leg was elevated so my 1Cover arranged for me to fly business class,” she says. “I was also using crutches, so my husband stayed with me for assistance.”

Despite her holiday setbacks, Holly acknowledges her relief in knowing she was covered by travel insurance.

over $100,000 in medical expenses covered

Thankfully, the Bisnette’s 1Cover Travel Insurance policy covered Holly’s significant medical expenses which amounted to $100,000 along with their additional flight costs of $24,000. The family’s Airbnb cancellation fees were also covered.

Holly notes that without travel insurance, she doesn’t know how they would have fared.

“It’s the sort of stuff that could financially cripple people. I mean the ambulance alone was over $5,000. And the per night fee for the hospital was just ridiculous. Knowing that it would all be covered was a massive weight off our shoulders.”

Snow sports stats- ski injuries abroad

Whether you’re skiing in Australia or abroad, the costs associated with medical treatment and rescue on the slopes are huge. Should you require an emergency rescue, the cost of skidoo or helicopter evacuation in Europe can soar into the tens of thousands. 

While skiing is a relatively safe sport, data from Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) shows that injury rates can range anywhere between 1.5 and 3.9 injuries per 1000 skier days. Knee injuries are especially common and can lead to long term complications. 

Skiing overseas poses unique risks in that skiers may not be familiar with local regulations and conditions. As well, depending on your destination, you may not have access to the same level of medical care or insurance coverage as you do at home. If you are even considering skiing on your next holiday, it’s essential to pack travel insurance and ensure you are covered for snow sports.

"You can’t afford to travel without travel insurance"

Holly says she wouldn’t consider travelling without travel insurance, particularly after her accident.

“After that experience I would say that you just can’t afford to travel without travel insurance. And if there's any possibility that you might ski, take the skiing or the winter sports option every time. The peace of mind knowing that you are going to have help is so worth it.”

Lastly, Holly adds that while she may not be skiing anytime soon, she doesn’t regret her experience. 

“Whilst I would prefer not to hurt myself skiing, I was having such a great day and I was doing something that I really enjoy doing with people that I love, and I would never take that back.”



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