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舊 2013-11-23, 15:35   #1
cppoon
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Trip to New Zealand: a Cautionary Tale (or not)



It’s a little bit more than 12 weeks after the surgery and I am finally allowed to walk without crutches this weekend. While I am ecstatic to finally be allowed to walk unaided, there is probably still a long road ahead. I guess there are some lessons to be learnt in what happened. However, this is not the point of this post; I just need to vent my annoyance over the whole incident somewhere as I am not eligible to blame anything other than myself. When an accident involved nothing other than me and gravity, as much as I want to be angry with gravity it seems unreasonable to accuse it being the party at fault here..

It sounds like such a cliché that I broke my leg skiing. Remember all those times your colleagues jokingly told you not to break your leg just before your holiday? I responded with “Statistically speaking, this is unlikely to happen. It’s going to be just a week. You guys won’t even notice that I’m away” this time. Of course it ended up SOOOOO wrong.

There has definitely been a shortage of ski buddies in my life. That is why I said “yes” right away when a friend suggested to go skiing in New Zealand even it is nowhere near the top of my “to-visit” list recently. We quickly sorted out flights, car hire, hotels and ski rental. The plan was simple enough: arrive Christchurch on Saturday, leisure drive to Queenstown on Sunday, ski on Monday to Friday, leisurely drive back to Christchurch on Saturday and fly out on Sunday morning. My friend is a third week skier whose last trip to the snow was over ten years ago. We figured we would have a leisurely trip, take it easy, visit the one ski area a day and decide what to do as we go.

此篇文章於 2013-12-01 11:54 被 cppoon 編輯。.
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舊 2013-11-23, 15:37   #2
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Apart from my dropping a 3-seater sofa on my foot the day before the trip and the 3.5-hour delay for our flight, the first three days went incredibly smooth. We could not stop commenting how lucky we’re on this trip. (As a nurse pointed out later on, we’d probably jinxed it.)

The first day of skiing was in Coronet Peak. The snow cover was thin with grass showing through everywhere and the condition was quite slushy with icy patches. We had a good time nonetheless. My friend found her ski legs quickly and could handle herself on slope quite well. I used T-bars for the first time. (I fell down once and the bindings released promptly so it seemed to me that the release force setting was not far off.)

We went to the Remarkables on the following day. The snow condition was much better than Coronet Peak. For some reason I felt really cold that day when it was actually quite warm, I moaned about being cold all through lunch, the first lift up after lunch and on the part of the way down. (Yes, I have not complained about being cold ever since.) It’s our first run on that side of the resort. I had the famous last word before we started on that one “Follow me. Just make sure you’re in control all the time.”
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舊 2013-11-23, 15:39   #3
cppoon
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I skied slowly that two days and had long traverses between turns to show her the easy way down the run. That run was the same. I let the skis ran a little bit faster at flat sections. Knowing that we got some distance between us, I slowed down just after I got onto a steeper section (still a very gentle slope). If I remember it right, I was mentally complaining about the cold when I lose my balance. It’s both funny and alarming that I had no idea how it happened.

I can’t remember how I lose my balance. I know I was traversing at very slow speed when it happened and could not recover from it. Based on the end results, I believe my weight was thrown backward as my trouble started, spun around, and the bindings did not release. I heard the crack from my right leg as I came down but hoped it would mean other things. I didn’t lose any vertical during the fall -I suspect I would have fared better had it been a steeper slope and I cartwheel/slide downhill when I came down. When it all ended, I was on the ground legs twisted the wrong way and the right leg hurt.

Yes, I fell over on pretty flat and empty slope in good condition (good snow coverage and no icy patch that I was aware of) while skiing very slow. There was no tree, rock, fencing or other people involved. Some damage was done (and I didn’t know how bad) because the bindings did not release – and the bindings seemed to work fine prior to that.

此篇文章於 2013-11-24 04:48 被 cppoon 編輯。.
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舊 2013-11-23, 15:42   #4
cppoon
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I took off my skis and tried to stand up. While I could stand on one leg, there was no way I could step my other leg into that ski. I knew I was in trouble but hoped it’s something minor like a bruise. To cut a long story short, after 3 people asked “are you sure you can’t ski down?”, I finally got down the slope in a toboggan to the clinic at the lift base.

From there, I had 3 ambulance rides to go from there to the medical centre, hospital in Queenstown and finally hospital in Invercargill, where I had an intramedullary nail implanted (the description of the injury on the medical report is comminuted tibial fracture).

I was still at the hospital when my scheduled flight departed. After being discharged, I got delays over medical clearance, weather related cancellation, travel insurance’s emergency assistance services communication errors and their travel agent’s booking error. Even without the broken leg, I had never run into so much trouble in one trip.

It has been an interesting trip in a morbid way. Despite what happened, there were moments of joy and delight in this trip in NZ. I came to learn more about myself over this incident and got really thankful to my family for their help and support.

For me, I’m pretty sure I’ll miss the 2013-2014 ski season and most likely the 2014-2015 season as well. So, to all of you in this forum, enjoy your up-coming trip and stay safe!


此篇文章於 2013-11-24 04:50 被 cppoon 編輯。.
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舊 2013-11-25, 17:53   #5
Hakuba
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Sorry to hear your story. Bones heal quite quickly. Good luck with the recovery.

Professional snowball maker.
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舊 2013-11-25, 19:13   #6
Skifreak
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sorry about the mishap ! hope you get well soon !

btw, is there anything you can share regarding the insurance claim / purchase / process ?? what should we be focus in and the service that comes along ??

touch wood I never make any medical claim with my travel insurance and never know what is the must do one two three and so forth...

But I know that it is pertinent to know what we should do in order to make the claim smooth and easy.....

But if you think its too painful to recap, pls forget about my inappropriate question.
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舊 2013-11-26, 00:10   #7
hy
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CPPOON, sorry to learn about your injury. Just wish everyone has a safe and enjoyable ski trip.

For the insurance claim, usually it is not difficult as long as you got all documents, medical letters, receipts, etc available. My own experience is that some companies have a big sum for medical treatment with different limits for local and oversea treatments. Some companies have a similar but small sum but no separate limits for local and overseas. Personally, I found the local expenses is always the constraint. So, I prefer the latter one althought the total sum is smaller. It is also desirable to buy insurance as early as possible so that some accidents before departure would be covered.

Besides, it is also advisable to improve our physical conditions for injury prevention.

Have a safe and nice holidays....
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舊 2013-11-26, 08:30   #8
Mike
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Touch wood, I never had to claim my insurance for injury. However, I had to make a claim for my travel cancellation couple of years ago.

My planned trip was on 31st Jan, and the commencement date of my travel insurance policy was 30th Jan. Due to family reason, I had to cancel my trip in mid January, so I called up my agent and told her that I had to make a claim. After submitting all the documents to prove the bookings and the necessity to cancel the trip, I got full refund from the insurance company for my cancelled trip, incl. hotel cancellation charge, air tickets cancellation charge and even my ski season pass which I bought months ahead.

Keep all receipts until your trip is over, just in case.
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舊 2013-11-26, 11:07   #9
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Touch wood, I never had to claim my insurance for injury. However, I had to make a claim for my travel cancellation couple of years ago.

My planned trip was on 31st Jan, and the commencement date of my travel insurance policy was 30th Jan. Due to family reason, I had to cancel my trip in mid January, so I called up my agent and told her that I had to make a claim. After submitting all the documents to prove the bookings and the necessity to cancel the trip, I got full refund from the insurance company for my cancelled trip, incl. hotel cancellation charge, air tickets cancellation charge and even my ski season pass which I bought months ahead.

Keep all receipts until your trip is over, just in case.

does all travel insurance only became effective when journey start ?? what is the criteria for claiming insurance even the journey not even commence ??
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舊 2013-11-26, 11:47   #10
Mike
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作者: nadal 查看文章
does all travel insurance only became effective when journey start ?? what is the criteria for claiming insurance even the journey not even commence ??
It becomes effective on the commencement date of the policy. So make sure the commencement date is before you start your journey.
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舊 2013-11-26, 20:24   #11
cppoon
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作者: Skifreak 查看文章
btw, is there anything you can share regarding the insurance claim / purchase / process ?? what should we be focus in and the service that comes along ??

But if you think its too painful to recap, pls forget about my inappropriate question.
Definitely don't mind to talk about it. I haven't mentioned this and other lessons learnt because I knew I have the tendency of going on and on and on... Will tell you more when I got time.
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舊 2013-11-27, 04:03   #12
B2L2
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Sorry to learn about your injury. Slow speed incident could hurt. I once twist my ankle on a super slow speed fall on a basically flat surface. And I saw ACL torn on a slow speed half-turn tumble.

Play safe.
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舊 2013-12-01, 11:54   #13
cppoon
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作者: B2L2 查看文章
Sorry to learn about your injury. Slow speed incident could hurt. I once twist my ankle on a super slow speed fall on a basically flat surface. And I saw ACL torn on a slow speed half-turn tumble.

Play safe.
Thanks.
I was really surprised that it was the tibia that broke as I thought torn ACL is the typical injury for this kind of falls. But it's really lucky that I didn't injury my joints. (got a small fracture at my ankle as well but it's one of those that doctors would just leave alone)

此篇文章於 2013-12-23 19:15 被 cppoon 編輯。.
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舊 2013-12-01, 12:02   #14
Mike
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Thanks.
I was really surprised that it was the tibia that broke as I thought torn ACL is the typical injury for this kind of falls. But it's really lucky that I didn't injury my joints.
A fall while skiing or running into another player during soccer game, are lower energy injuries that can cause tibial shaft fractures. These fractures are typically caused by a twisting force and result in an oblique or spiral type of fracture.
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舊 2013-12-28, 22:57   #15
cppoon
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Lesson Learnt 1: Travel Insurance

It was somewhat lucky that I did not have major issues with the insurance coverage (the emergency assistance of this insurance was another matter). It’s worth noting that I have been getting travel insurances from [what I thought as] the same online company for years.

I started using this company when I bought insurance for my first trip the New Zealand. It was picked because of it was the cheapest insurance that covered skiing with the unlimited medical/repatriation cover overseas and reasonable sub-limits in all the standard categories (and there was nothing weird with their exclusions in the PDS – yes, I used to be a compulsive fine print reader).

That company became my travel insurance of choice since then because it’s consistently the cheapest with the cover levels at items I cared about the most (overseas medical, repatriation, cancellation and travel delays) every time I checked. I had become far less detailed when purchasing travel insurance over the years: generally buy the insurance just before the trip from the same company after made a quick comparison online and checked the general exclusions. There was some dumb luck involved that I did not run into major trouble in this incident.

a. Timing:
I just got booked into a tour group in Morocco for this Christmas on the day of my accident. The plan was going to London, then to Morocco, then to the Alps for a week of skiing before going home. It was pure luck that I had not bought my plane tickets at that point. From past experience, I probably would have bought some non-changeable and non-refundable tickets and won’t get insurance until December. If that’s the case, it would have been an expensive trip to cancel. So my lesson learnt here is to get insurance as soon as made your travel booking.

b. Insurance coverage:
(1) My policy did not cover mountain rescue. I always suspected it based on my reading of the PDS but was too lazy to confirm it with the company. I usually just get carte neige on top when I remember it while skiing in France. For this New Zealand trip, I was too lazy to find out about the billing mechanism of piste rescue there and simply thought it’s unlikely to be an issue as I was going to have an easy, low risk trip. Thankfully the piste rescue turned out to be free in the Remarkables; it could have been an expensive item to pay for in some other countries.

(2) Not me. But a young fellow at work commented on he just noticed the insurance policy for his ski trip in Japan last year did not cover skiing. He turned pale at the thought of something like that could have happened on his holiday and not covered by his insurance. Always make sure the policy covers what you're planning to do on the trip.

c. Check coverage every time when buying [what seems to be the same] policy from the same company:
(1) Right after my claim went through, I took a look at the latest PDS of the same insurance (partly for my parents’ trip) and found out the policy no longer covers skiing automatically. While I did check on this occasion and I knew skiing was covered for the policy I purchased for this NZ trip. But this scares me as there were some occasions that I did not double check the exclusions and inclusions of the travel insurance when I bought policies in a rush (or just lazy) as I was reasonably comfortable with the company over the years. I can be caught up by the changes in the list of exclusions if I am not careful.

(2) The company and website are just a shell. I was surprised when I looked through the PDS’s over the years and realised that the underwriter has changed from Allianz to Lloyd’s (and the business registration number has been changed) at some point and I never paid attention to it. Yes, I noticed the style of emergency contacts has changed on the insurance certificate but it never occurred to me that it has become another company completely at some point.
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