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Insurance for cat-skiing trip in BC?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Recently booked my first-ever cat-skiing trip with Mustang Powder in British Columbia; Gotta say, I'm super-excited. They look like a great outfit, and I'm sure everything will go fine...

 

That said, this trip had to be booked a lot earlier than I'm used to booking, it's in a foreign country, getting there will be an ordeal (many connections) with many opportunities for things to go wrong, and it's quite a bit of money. Furthermore, if there's anything their materials are clear about, it's that there's no rescheduling and no refunds, so while I don't normally get trip insurance for ski trips, I've been considering getting some for this trip.

 

I'm a US resident, have medical coverage through my employer, and I've confirmed with the insurer that my policy covers urgent and emergency care while traveling in Canada at the same levels that they do in the US. With that in mind, I'm mainly thinking about problems like missed flight connections, work emergencies, me getting hurt before the trip and being unable to go, etc.

 

I've read a few of the threads here that talk about insurance, but most of the situations seem considerably different than mine and appear to be primarily concerned with medical coverage. Does anyone have any trip insurance recommendations for circumstances like mine? Any other sage advice? Thanks!

post #2 of 23

BUY IT!  I had a very bad experience with Retallack last season. Even though we were told they offered insurance, they also told us if we couldn't go, they have no problem filling seats....

 

So, I got injured, they didn't even try to fill my seat, refused a refund. I sold my seat on TGR for 1/2 price.....  

 

BUY IT!  

post #3 of 23

First congrats and I'm jealousThumbs Up

 

 

second

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=trip+insurance

 

Many options there...trip cancellation is the type you are looking for 

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
 

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=trip+insurance

 

 

Woah! I hadn't thought to google for it! Oh wait... :)

 

Really, though... my hope in posting here was to solicit personal recommendations and/or anecdotes like what Finndog posted. Most of the trip insurance places that I found on google are brands unfamiliar to me, with less-than-completely-reassuring web presences -- if StateFarm or Allstate sold trip insurance I wouldn't be asking about it, but "Travel Guard", "Allianz", "AXA", etc. are all complete unknowns to me.

 

FWIW, I've had some pretty awful experiences with insurance companies in the past. I've even become the kind of guy who actually tries to read and understand the policy, but even so, I'm not a lawyer, actuary or underwriter. In matters like these, I like hearing from real folks about their real experiences with trip insurance companies.

 

Anyway, I'm not trying to get people to google for me (it certainly took me longer to remember my epic ski password than it did to google trip insurance), I'm just hoping to glean the benefit of others'  personal experiences.

 

Thanks!

post #5 of 23
I never ever bought trip insurance until my trip to Austria two years back. I only bought it because I thought my travel companion might suddenly cancel, so I went whole hog and bought the full "cancel for any reason" package. Thank God. I ended up on the hospital for a week, couldn't leave to go home when I was supposed to, etc. The insurance paid for additional rental car, the expensive one way replacement tickets, the hospital stay, everything. The hospital stay, although covered in theory by my insurance, would have bumped up against a non-participating provider deduction AND whatever codes they had for insurance here. Because the overseas hospital charged a per diem that included everything, surgeon, anesthesiologist, everything, not sure how that would have worked. But, the insurance covered it all. They have since changed underwriters and policy names, but the company (not the easiest to deal with, but they did pay up) was Travel Insured.
post #6 of 23

I know you already stated that you're not really in need of medical/evacuation/repatriation coverage, but for the benefit of anyone else coming across this thread I'll throw my $.02 in.  When I was looking into this before my first BC cat trip a couple years ago, pretty much everyone had language that seemed to exclude cat-skiing from coverage.  For example, Travel Insured that sibhusky mentioned, has this language:

 

 

SECTION IV. GENERAL EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS Benefits are not payable for any loss due to, arising or resulting from:
7. participating in bodily contact sports, skydiving or parachuting except parasailing, hang gliding, bungee cord jumping, extreme skiing, skiing outside marked trails or heli-skiing, spelunking or caving, or scuba diving if the depth exceeds 120 feet (40 meters) or if You are not certified to dive and a dive master is not present during the dive;

 

 

So for cancellation and general vacationing, I think it'd work fine.  But it sounds like you'd be in trouble if you got injured cat skiing and needed the policy to cover it.  I didn't do enough research to figure out if there are companies or specific policies that you can get that would cover emergency medical/evacuation while cat skiing, I rolled the dice and went without.

post #7 of 23

when i skied in chileI bought  he travel evacuation and medical insurance.  It was specifically for skiing.  I can try to find which on wit was.  

post #8 of 23

ipmcc,

 

I spend my winters at Sun Peaks, about a 2.5 hour drive from where you turn off the Trans-Canada Hwy to access Mustang Powder Cats, soooo if you get stuck and can't make it....let me know your dates as I may be around and available to take over your spot in an emergency.

 

I suggest flying into Seattle or Kelowna, not Calgary. Another option is to fly to Spokane and then ski Red Mtn. and Whitewater on the way to Revelstoke.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

ipmcc,

 

I spend my winters at Sun Peaks, about a 2.5 hour drive from where you turn off the Trans-Canada Hwy to access Mustang Powder Cats, soooo if you get stuck and can't make it....let me know your dates as I may be around and available to take over your spot in an emergency.

 

I suggest flying into Seattle or Kelowna, not Calgary. Another option is to fly to Spokane and then ski Red Mtn. and Whitewater on the way to Revelstoke.

 

Thanks! That is so kind of you to offer. My greatest hope is that I will never have to take you up on it. :)

 

Re: Transportation

 

The Mustang folks seem pretty adamant about guests NOT flying into Calgary. It's so tempting, because getting to Kelowna is looking like a total cluster-eff; Because of where I'm coming from (PIT) it looks like there is just no avoiding an extra night on both ends of the trip flying into Kelowna. Ten hours in the car from Seattle/Vancouver also doesn't sound like a fun way to bookend a trip either. I appreciate that it's not their problem, but the logistics are just crap. I assume it's the same for essentially all the Selkirk/Monashee outfits. Before I did my homework, I was incredulous at the thought that people would pay thousands of dollars for a helicopter ride from the airport to go cat-skiing, but I get it now: if two days of your life are worth more than the cost of the heli ride, it'd be a no-brainer.

 

Thanks for the reply. Will PM you the dates.

post #10 of 23

I've never purchased travel/pass insurance.  Just looking at the boiler plate,  makes me skeptical.

 

Like Dano mentions, you can minimize your exposure. 

Flying into Spokane, a few days early,  is an easy one.

Don't get a DUI.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

Don't get a DUI.

 

I've gotta ask... does this warrant mentioning for some reason beyond the normal, you know, "Don't get a DUI" sentiment that I suspect most of humanity shares? Is there a lower limit in Spokane or something?

post #12 of 23
Skip it. Done 10+ cat trips and never needed it, saved enough for a "free trip" by not buying. Fly to kelowna. Ski the morning of your lodge arrival day at one of the kelowna resorts. As for the return, you wont want to go from the lodge all the way to east coast after skiing. Next day travel is the way to go.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipmcc View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 
Don't get a DUI.

I've gotta ask... does this warrant mentioning for some reason beyond the normal, you know, "Don't get a DUI" sentiment that I suspect most of humanity shares? Is there a lower limit in Spokane or something?

I think he meant before you go. I've heard mention that the Canadians don't like them and like you even less if you don't confess to them.
http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/the-inspection-experience/prior-criminal-offenses/crossing-canadian-border-with-a-dui/#.VAnhpOvnaaw
post #14 of 23

Ton's of people that got a DWI, BWI or DUI 10+ years ago in college get turned back at the boarder every year.   I'm also betting that the insurance policies have a exclusion for just such an event.

post #15 of 23

The insurance that actually protects you in case you can't make the trip is purchased through the Resort. Check the cancellation policy.  At Wildhorse in Ymir, its easy and they credit you for the next season. Retallack was zip, zero, zilch.  you loose 100%  Even with a Dr. letter stating I had torn my hip labrum, they didn't care.  

post #16 of 23

The thing about not flying to Calgary is that if you do, then you must travel through Rogers Pass between Golden and Revelstoke. It is an easy less than 2 hours drive on dry pavement but the Pass averages 60 closure days per year, mostly due to avalanche or preventative avalanche control work. Usually closures last all day and on occasion can last a few days.

 

So if you must fly to Calgary, then plan to arrive a few days ahead of the booked Cat ski trip. Killing time by skiing Revelstoke Mountain Resort is very much NOT a bad thing.

 

The thing about flying into Spokane is that flying domestically within the USA is a lot cheap then international flights to Canada. BTW  from Spokane you then travel right by Red Mt. and Whitewater on the way to Revelstoke and all three are very much well worth skiing and if you have never skied them or heard much about them then it will be a big surprise as to actually how much terrain and snow and fun these B.C. resorts deliver. 

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Skip it. Done 10+ cat trips and never needed it, saved enough for a "free trip" by not buying. Fly to kelowna. Ski the morning of your lodge arrival day at one of the kelowna resorts. As for the return, you wont want to go from the lodge all the way to east coast after skiing. Next day travel is the way to go.

+1 This upcoming season will be my 5th with Mustang and 18th Canadian cat trip since 1997.  I was an actuary for 36 years.  Insurance is what you need for a loss you can't afford.  Over your lifetime you take trips that cost say $3,000 average, over the long run losing one or two of those will cost less than insuring all of them.  As far as medical evacuation/treatment from remote locations, yes that can be a big number.  I pay AMEX $109/year for that.  It applies to ALL of my travel, only exclusion is for pre-existing medical conditions.  They wanted me to buy one-shot insurance for the Ice Axe Antarctic cruise; I sent them the AMEX policy and they agreed I was covered.  I'm pretty sure Mustang charges a few bucks per day on your bill for medical evacuation.  It's a small number and I pay that despite the AMEX.

 

As noted, the typical travel insurance policies have exclusions. Read the fine print.  "Something came up at work," or if the relative that died/got married isn't close enough, you may not be covered.  The exception is when you can "antiselect" because you know more than the insurance company does.  One of my friends went to Brazil for 3 weeks, took the travel insurance because his mother-in-law was in poor health.  The mother-in-law died right after they got to Brazil, so his wife bailed out and collected the insurance.

 

I just bought my Kelowna ticket last week and it was quite reasonable, $185 one way from Burbank (I'm skiing another week with tseeb, flying home from Missoula for $110).  Kelowna may still be expensive from the East.  I have flown to Calgary or Spokane more often.  From Spokane (or Red/Whitewater), allow a full day to get to Mustang with ferry crossing and Eagle Pass.  From Calgary you want to be in Revelstoke the day before. 


Edited by Tony Crocker - 9/7/14 at 12:07am
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

For the record...

 

I didn't buy insurance for this trip. Then, last weekend, on my first ski day of the year, at a molehill (Holiday Valley), I blew out my achilles tendon 90 minutes in, bringing my season to an abrupt, expensive, and ultimately unsatisfying end.

 

At this point, I'm trying to get rid of the trip. I don't want to convert this into a for-sale post, but I'm currently left holding the bag for a slot I can't take, so if anyone wants to make me an offer, feel free to PM.

post #19 of 23

Paging DanoT, your ship just came in.

 

Seriously that sucks.  I've been cat/heli skiing at varied places in BC since 1997 and Mustang is #1 in my book.  I got in there starting in 2010 due to the economic crisis opening things up temporarily.  This will be my 5th year and now I have to renew the next year when I'm there as there's a waiting list.  So I advise ipmcc to retain that slot for 2016 if he can. 

 

If you're trying to sell, you should post the dates.  Given Mustang's reputation and current demand, I think you should recover most of your cost.  And if you can't sell it here for a good price, take it over to TGR.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 12/20/14 at 11:42pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Paging DanoT, your ship just came in.

 

Seriously that sucks.  I've been cat/heli skiing at varied places in BC since 1997 and Mustang is #1 in my book.  I got in there starting in 2010 due to the economic crisis opening things up temporarily.  This will be my 5th year and now I have to renew the next year when I'm there as there's a waiting list.  So I advise ipmcc to retain that slot for 2016 if he can. 

 

If you're trying to sell, you should post the dates.  Given Mustang's reputation and current demand, I think you should recover most of your cost.  And if you can't sell it here for a good price, take it over to TGR.

 

Normally I would take over the Mustang spot from impcc but his dates are for the week between Xmas and New Years Eve and these are the only dates that I am scheduled to work at my part time rental tech job at Sun Peaks. So it is hard to ask for a week off from a job that I am only scheduled to work at for one week out of an 18 week season.

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yeah, this is the 12/28-30 trip (with a 12/27 arrival.) If anyone can help me out, and would like to make me an offer, please shoot me a PM!

 

(I would rather have posted this on the marketplace board, but I can't figure out how to register to be a supporter, which is apparently required to post things to the marketplace board -- I just get a blank page)

post #22 of 23

One week out your task is much more difficult than I presumed in the last post.  You need to post here, TGR, anywhere you can think of, ASAP.

 

Furthermore, unlike resorts, that's not a prime week in the world of cat/heli skiing.   IMHO from visiting many of them, pricing very accurately reflects snow conditions expectations.

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yeah... I've got it posted here on the marketplace (figured it out eventually) and on TGR and craigslist, as well as various local ski club lists, etc. Had a few nibbles, but yeah, it's not exactly flying off the shelf. :-/

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