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Evacuation by helicopter: How much?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I need to get travel insurance (non UK) for my ski trip to St Anton/Ischgl. As an avid off piste skier heli rescue is quite key. The policy that I am looking at limits this section to $8000 but this could be raised by way of a higher premium.

Anyone got an idea how much these rescues cost? I guess it will very much depend how far the closest hospital is. I seem to remember that a Chamonix guide many years ago told me something like 5000 Euros but I think there is a hospital in Chamonix.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
snowman wrote:
I need to get travel insurance (non UK) for my ski trip to St Anton/Ischgl. As an avid off piste skier heli rescue is quite key. The policy that I am looking at limits this section to $8000 but this could be raised by way of a higher premium.

Anyone got an idea how much these rescues cost? I guess it will very much depend how far the closest hospital is. I seem to remember that a Chamonix guide many years ago told me something like 5000 Euros but I think there is a hospital in Chamonix.


In St Anton you can just buy this card & it will cover you for Helicopter Rescue (but read section 4)

Arlberg Safety Card (8-Days € 12 | Season '10-11 € 25)


http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/images/stories/pdf-dateien/sicherheit/ArlbergSafetycard.pdf


Ischgl

Evauation Rescue cost 200Euros
(again probably within the area of resposibility)

http://www.ischgl.com/skiing-area-tyrol-rescue-service.en.htm


Your Still NEED insurance.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
A friend of mine runs a heli charter company, and I asked him what the rate was after I was heli rescued to hospital in Switz'.

About £75 per minute flying time.
That is charged for the time to get to you, and the time to take you.
Only charged when the heli is off the ground....so if it was hovering to get you off a steep slope of crevasse that could be very expensive!
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It depends on two things;
1) How easy it is to get to you
2) How close the hospital is.

When my brother in law was helicoptered off (dislocated shoulder) it was from a Heli landing pad (so cheapest possible), if they just took him to the medical centre at the bottom of the mountain it was something like €2500, if to the hospital at Sallanches then that became €5000 if they had to go to Annecy then it was nearer €10,000.

The issue was that there was an inversion and therefore they thought they wouldn't be able to land at the bottom of the mountain or Sallanches so were looking at Annecy !!!

Fortunately, there was a hole in the cloud which meant that they could land half way down the mountain and be met by an Ambulance to take him to the Medical Centre... they still charged the €2500 plus €400 for the Ambulance (and then eventually another€400 for an ambulance from the Medical Centre to the Hospital in Cluses as the Medical Centre couldn't get his shoulder back in.

We had Carte Niege and no issues with Helicopter or 1st Ambulance as the CN covered evacuation to 1st point of medical care.... but we had to pay cash for the 2nd Ambulance..... not a good Christmas Day for anyone!!
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Helied off for a dislocated shoulder?? Massive pussy, you should be ashamed.
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yes, something like the 12th time he'd dislocated it in 10 years and they couldn't get it back in!!

Nor could the Medical Centre... had to go to hospital and be put out!!
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Interesting one this - and I'm still not absolutely 100% totally confident in what I'm typing, which is pretty well true of all stuff found on Internet forums Smile

I was helicoptered off last season after doing my ACL we were ski touring - and well away from any resort, and we were with a guide - all this is about 30km from Briancon, France.

The previous year, I had a nasty cliff fall, and in hindsight I should have been helied out of that, however I was off piste, in that I had gone down a recognised itinerary, which meant going under a rope with a sign and warning - even though I was well insured with DogTag at the time, I just did not trust the small print of the insurance, so we made our own way back down.

After that episode, I took out BMC mountain insurance which covers all the stuff I do (solo ski touring and the like) - so when I had my fall last year I just said to Per the guide call the damn heli in knowing that I was fully covered etc

However what I found out later was that the heli would not have charged anyway - in that it was like me having a fall in Snowdown etc and the Air Sea rescue coming out - the Mountain Police Heli based in Briancon (PGHM) is the same as our Air Sea rescue - if however I had been on the piste in the resort and needed to be helied off then it would be charged.

If you think about it, all the walkers and the like in the Alps in the Summer are going to be having accidents and they are not all covered by insurance!

Though maybe different countries have different rules....

Anyway here's the video of my heli evac


http://youtube.com/v/0S794ulZzew
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Weathercam, if I am reading that right then you are saying if skiing off piste (in France) there is no need for insurance. Or perhaps if you need to be outside of the resort domain completely? Interesting nonetheless.
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Layne, of course you still need insurance, that isn't what he was saying.It was only the helicopter rescue from the site of the accident that was free of charg. Had he needed ambulances etc at a later stage it would have been charged for. Weathercam was well outside the boundaries of any ski resort, so was rescued by mountain rescue which is paid for I suspect by French taxpayers.
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I once heard that the Austrian's do not persue Heli evactuation bills excessivley. Mind you it was an Austrian that told me so how true it is Smile
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Layne wrote:
Weathercam, if I am reading that right then you are saying if skiing off piste (in France) there is no need for insurance. Or perhaps if you need to be outside of the resort domain completely? Interesting nonetheless.


I think you need to be outside of the resort domain to be rescued FOC!

Also, during the summer months I think a lot of mountain bikers do have insurance to be rescued just in case.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hells Bells. Let's not get in to a debate about whether you need insurance per se. One of the issues many people have at the moment is that insurance companies are charging much more to cover off piste or are not covering off piste "if you don't follow local advice" or some such. The point being if PGHM don't charge anyway that wouldn't be an issue. But then of course from what I can make out the insurers would still stuff you because you were skiing off piste without cover anyway so wouldn't cover other thing. I am not sure I would risk it personally but I was interested in the possibilities. Also it's interesting from a POV of how the insurers like to big up their costs for these things when it isn't always the case.
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Helicopter rescue from pîste to resort in 2Alpes is 700€. Rates are set by the Conseil General and are department-wide. It's a legal requirement that they are also posted at every ticket office.

If you're hiking/climbing (either summer or winter) or ski touring outside resort in the winter, rescue is the responsibility of the PGHM, is part of the emergency services, and isn't charged for.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
^^^ Simple and Sensible from the French surley not! Seriously though this is a super Idea that all resorts should attempt to replicate.
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Lizzard, it's slightly more complicated than that. It is up to each individual commune to decide whether or not they charge for mountain rescue. Most communes have decided not to charge, but there are some important ones which still do. Beyond that, it then also depends on where the helicopter/rescue team actually comes from as well as the commune you're in at the time of your incident.

For example, here in Sainte Foy rescue is not free. However, if you need a helicopter, it will generally come from Courchevel where they do not charge.

We had a guest a couple of winters ago who got lost while snowshoeing and spent the night on the mountain. We had ski patrol (local) and mountain rescue (Albertville) looking for him overnight and he was eventually picked-up by a helicopter at first light. The 14-man mountain rescue team and the helicopter were free, but he got hit for about 2000€ for the team of pisteurs who attempted to locate him from the top of the ski resort!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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stevomcd, I think your post bears out the first line of my post really well - in that there's no hard and fast rule !

Yesterday before this thread appeared I was looking at insurance for this year as our BMC is about to run out - I was also a little concerned at whether I would be covered or not due to my incident last year - however reading the small print in the Medical Declaration https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/insurance/popups/MedicalDeclaration.aspx I think I am ok, in that I am allowed a previous ligament or tendon injury - provided you are not currently being treated - again all rather "grey" to a certain extent....

What was quite amazing is that the annual multi trip insurance has nearly doubled - so now looking at a couples cover for 3 - 87 days (we're out for just over 4 weeks) at £154 plus an additional £43 for snowboarding cover as me and the Mrs swing both ways wink

Now that is a lot of dosh, considering last year was £260 for an annual policy which covered us doing other stuff (me cycling in the Alps in the summer), plus still not too sure how much skiing / boarding I'll be able to do and whether I'll be going away from the resort etc etc.

But having now been exposed to two serious incidents in as many years can't help but think that things happen in three's Puzzled

All my mates I do Mountain stuff with are all insured by BMC - have four other "dudes" I know coming out to Serre for their one week fix who I know will probably just have basic insurance, now if I'm fit the question will be will I want to take them off piste down a couple of classic routes "out of bounds" as it were, because should anything happen I know could be an expensive problem - and that's without questioning whether they have shovels / probes etc...........

Oh and for the record La Grave is covered by the PGHM and is not classed as a ski resort.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I did post the costs of in-resort rescue for Serre Chevalier/Monetier on a thread recently.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
stevomcd, I was talkin g about here.
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Quote:

if I am reading that right then you are saying if skiing off piste (in France) there is no need for insurance.

I remember the sad story of the two brothers in tignes, a few years ago, caught in an avalanche off piste very early in the season when there was scarcely any snow around. One was killed. Their families got a very big bill for heli rescue IIRC. Also, note the point above about the high cost of search parties of pisteurs!
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T think you're all confusing pisteurs, who are lift company employees, with gendarmes, who aren't.
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I thought my helicvac was good value at EUR400 when I did my ACL off piste in France, all covered by insurance, that was 3 years ago, thought it was going to be way more.
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When we were in St Gervais and had the pleasure of a helicopter removal for one of ours. I commented that I was glad he had insurance but was advised that the gendarmerie operate their service and therefore there was no charge whether or not that was the case. Not much help for Austria I realise (and by the sounds of it, half the rest of France too!)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So yet again after numerous posts on t'internet we are none the wiser Twisted Evil

Moral of the story, is if you're doing stuff, then best to get covered as best as you see fit.............

That said, ten - fifteen years ago I didn't give a feck as I thought I was invincible..........

So there must be some sort of equation to derive an answer to this.....

age/experience over youff/inexperience over old fart multiplied by been there seen it done it Puzzled

Equals = you're still gonna be fecked!
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Weathercam, Laughing Laughing Laughing
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stevomcd wrote:

For example, here in Sainte Foy rescue is not free. However, if you need a helicopter, it will generally come from Courchevel where they do not charge.


Unless things have changed this season the Courchevel helicopter is leased by the department from the SAF and carries either members of the CRS or PGHM. The cost of the helicopter is charged to the local commune, who is responsible for you rescue costs. They may decide to pass that on to the victim or try and recover the money from the fire service budget (SDIS), actucally they'll probably try both. Cost is usually around 1500 euros.

If the helicopter carries anyone other than members of the CRS/PGHM/Fire Service then their time will be charged. For example a doctor.

What is certain, is that nothing is certain in rescue in France. For example, today a ski tourer had a fall in the French Jura. Normally the fire service would recover him free of charge with a helicopter based in Annecy but they were busy or there was a fault with the aircraft so they called the Swiss REGA to do the rescue. The result is the victim will be billed for the rescue by the REGA. This happens on Mont Blanc quite a bit too where private helicopters are often involved in rescues.
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Here in NZ, there's never any charge for rescue, and no need to carry additional insurance - it's a great system - all costs for sporting injuries/accidents are covered by a mandatory levy on wages - a bit like national insurance in the UK.

It also means that suing people for compensation over personal injury is almost unheard of.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The Monetier Mairie published the rescue charges last winter, but can't find a new one for this season. Just before the end of the meeting minutes.



http://www.monetier.com/PDF/CRcm10112011.pdf
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Membership of the austrian mountain rescue outfit, as posted above by Stanton, sounds a very good idea and cheap as chips. It's a good cause, even if you never need rescuing.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Most of my back country stuff's done in BC. As I'm generally getting in there by heli, the cost of rescue is available right there in the brochure. They don't care if they're rescuing you or taking you out for lunch, it's all the same stuff.

They charge for "collective time" - the time when they're "pulling collective". What you pay depends on the size of the heli. $3,000 gets you an hour in an A-Star, which likely costs closer to $2,000 wholesale. You can google that. Those will cruise at up to about 170mph, so where I ride I can get to the local hospital and the pilot can get home for a few grand, assuming I'm not quite dead. They have my credit card so there's no issue with any of that.

As with other people I know, all the rescues I've seen / assisted with have ended up being free, but it helps to know the worst-case costs just in case. They're not that bad - if I write off my car, for example, it's going to cost me more than a full on heli evac from the Monashees.

I would guess that in the Alps distances are smaller so flying times likely to be less. If you know how long it usually takes for the heli to arrive then you can compute the likely round trip time/ cost.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Air glaciers in Lauterbrunnen do a yearly rescue card available to individuals, guides, families and farmers, the charge ranges from 25chf (guides mountain hut caretakers and rescue dogs) up to 80chf (mum dad plus kids up to 18, or farmers plus their cattle), because of the difficulty of getting injured or dead cattle down from mountain slopes which even in the summer can be hard to access they transport dead and injured cattle to the nearest vehicle access using a big net beneath the helicopter. This does not include search time it is merely a lift from the mountain to a suitable location, that might be Wengen for relatively minor injuries or Interlaken hospital for serious stuff.

A good few years ago I was told a couple of Americans in their late teens or early 20's got lost off piste and ended up stuck above a cliff face where they had to be lifted off, bill was a few thousand francs which I think their parents had to pay as they didn't have proper insurance cover Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Folks. The helicopter rescue card in St Anton is limited to the ski area.

If you dont have the card You can expect a minimum €2500 bill. If they have to fly you to Innsbruck multiply that figure by 10.

If your off piste/back country like Hinter Rendl, Langham,Malfontal the card is not effective.

You should cover yourself with comprehensive off piste backcountry insurance to include being airlifted.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Costs in Tignes here:

http://www.tignes.net/data/template_entetecontenu/17785-secours.pdf
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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The Austrian Alpine Club rescue element of thier insurance for europe is for €25,000, and with 415,000 members I would assume is going to be generally adequate for summer or winter rescues.
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Never a charge in nz, all covered under the acc scheme
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The worst rescue costs I've heard of in France are a woman who lives in St Julien en Genevois and went for a walk on a path that crossed into Switzerland. In Swizterland she slid and sprained her ankle a few meters from the border and couldn't walk easily (shades of Steve McQueen here). A good samaritan called a doctor who called an ambulance (SAMU) which came a few hundred meters from St Julien hospital.

Normally you'd be looking at maybe 50-100 euros for the trip, however it was an International Rescue (dudadaduuh) and she was billed 1000 euros for her pains. As she told me "I would have bleedin' hopped to the border if I had known".

The moral of this story, never accept help from a stranger in France or Switzerland without first checking how much it will cost.
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davidof wrote:


The moral of this story, never accept help from a stranger in France or Switzerland without first checking how much it will cost.


In this woman's case, something like Carte Neige would have covered her for the helicopter wouldn't it?
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Miranda, Does French Carte Neige cover Switzerland? Sounds unlikely.

stanton wrote:
Folks. The helicopter rescue card in St Anton is limited to the ski area.

How do they define the ski area? Which bits of off-piste count?
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Quote:

Normally you'd be looking at maybe 50-100 euros for the trip, however it was an International Rescue (dudadaduuh) and she was billed 1000 euros for her pains. As she told me "I would have bleedin' hopped to the border if I had known".

The moral of this story, never accept help from a stranger in France or Switzerland without first checking how much it will cost.

If she'd had an ordinary kind of UK travel insurance they'd have paid, though she'd have been stupid (as she wasn't unconscious or anything) not to ring them herself and let THEM arrange and pay for it direct.

If she'd had Carte Neige it would have been no use to her at all, as I understand it, whichever side of the border she'd fallen on.

I would have thought people who live in St Julien would be well aware of all the frontalier issues.
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Carte Neige is an annual policy (running from October to October) and covers you for "randonnée pédestre, raids compris, en Europe à titre individuel et dans le monde entier dans le cadre des activités organisées par les clubs affiliés."

Sounds to me like that would cover you for costs encountered as a result of falling whilst hiking in both France and Switzerland...?

http://www.ffs.fr/pdf/carteneige/FFScn-assurance-12-13.pdf

Hope I haven't got the wrong end of the stick as I have assumed I've had cover via Carte Neige for summer hiking and mountain biking.
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Quote:

Hope I haven't got the wrong end of the stick as I have assumed I've had cover via Carte Neige for summer hiking and mountain biking.

No, I don't think you have - it was I who got the wrong end of the stick as I was just thinking of it as related to accidents skiing etc. Sorry for any alarm! I suppose strolling round the streets could count as a "randonée". But for any insurance, including Carte Neige I guess, it would be unwise to go for any big expenditure without their go-ahead, unless you were at death's door. I've found that insurance companies prefer to pay for something they arrange themselves - it would have been much cheaper for them if I'd used the local ambulance company, instead of the one in Sallanches, but they wanted to do it their way and it was no skin off my nose. And the ambulance fellows were even nicer than the first lot!
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