As with any sport, there is a degree of risk involved in going skiing or snowboarding - it is possible that you might get injured on your trip. Even if this just means a sprained wrist or ankle, you will probably need to have it checked out by a doctor. Depending on where you travel and where your home is, you may be entitled to free treatment locally. But it is more usual to have to pay for your medical treatment - and for rescue services. For this and a number of other reasons - explained below - it is essential that you get yourself covered with a suitable insurance policy.
It's important to shop around for the right winter sports insurance policy. Don't just opt for a tour operator policy without first comparing it with alternative independent insurance companies' policies.
If you are likely to go on more than one winter sports holiday per year, it is worth looking into getting yourself annual cover, as opposed to paying for several single-trip policies.
You need to make sure that your insurance offers adequate personal liability cover (in case you collide with someone and injure them) as well as medical and emergency cover (the cost of transport to a hospital, treatment and return journey or repatriation).
Your policy should also cover you for weather-related problems (you could be snowed in or out of your resort) and piste closure (too much or too little snow may mean that most or all of the lifts are closed).
You should also make sure that your equipment and baggage is insured against theft or loss - especially if you have expensive equipment (you may want to raise the cover on this if you have particularly expensive kit). But check to see if your home contents policy covers these items.
Even if you are only a beginner, you should check that your policy covers you off-piste - you might stray off-piste (even just off the side of the piste) without even realising it.
If you plan to snowboard or do any other snow-related activity (heli-skiing, snow-mobiling etc) make sure that your cover allows for it as this is often excluded from standard packages.
Take a look at Igluski.com's recommended ski insurance.