Stay safe on the slopes
How to prevent injuries when skiing or snowboarding
Heading to Thredbo, Perisher, or Mt Buller to ski or snowboard this year? As you cross your fingers for bluebird skies and a huge dumping of powder as you arrive, don’t forget that preparing for some time on the mountain is more than just throwing your jacket, ear muffs and long johns into a suitcase.
Staying safe is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you enjoy your snow holiday. Knee, ankle, shoulder and wrist or hand injuries can be common souvenirs from your time on the slopes. Whilst generally these are minor, it’s possible you could hurt yourself more seriously if you are unfit, or a beginner or intermediate participant. So, let’s look at how you can minimise this risk and maximise your winter wonderland fun.
Prepare Your Body
The best thing you can do to minimise your risk of injury when skiing or snowboarding is to prepare your body for an active holiday. Build strength in your core and include aerobic exercise in your activities about three to four weeks before you leave. Squats, side planks and side-to-side skaters are excellent strength building exercises to do too.
What Can Cause Injuries
To avoid spending any of your holiday wincing in pain, it’s useful to know what common mistakes can lead to injury. In a nutshell, try to avoid:
- Participating above your ability level
- Using improper or ill-fitting equipment
- Going off trail
- Missing warning signage
And last, but not least, try not to fall too hard!
Tips for skiers
Knees tend to be the part of the body that encounter the highest risk of injury for skiing. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) can be easy to injure if your body is tired or you aren’t maintaining good technique on the slopes. To reduce your risk of these injuries you can:
- Ensure your boots, bindings and skies are properly fitted.
- Keep your weight balanced in snowplow. Stick to terrain that is comfortable for your level of ability – don’t overdo it.
- If you’re an intermediate skier and participating in jumps, start small. Ensure you land with your weight forward. If you feel like you’re starting to fall, go with the momentum. You’re less likely to hurt yourself.
Tips for snowboarders
Statistics show that choosing a board as your snow transport of choice does attract a higher chance of injury. Unlike skiers, snowboarders are more likely to hurt their ankles, wrists, head or, in serious cases, their spinal cord. To reduce your risk of these injuries you can:
- Wear all recommended safety equipment. Helmets, wrist guards, knee guards, and hard shell boots will all help to protect you.
- Take lessons from a qualified instructor. It’s important to learn good technique flat terrain before you attempt the slopes and half pipes.
Snow Safety Advice
When you’re on the slopes, keep yourself and those around you safe by following these simple rules from Snowsafe:
- Stay in control
- Give right of way
- Stop in a safe place
- When you’re going downhill, look uphill and yield before taking off
- Observe and obey signs
- Use lifts safely
If you do encounter any close calls or mishaps during your snow holiday that result in some pain or discomfort, get in touch with your chiropractor. Early assessment, treatment and pain management are key to minimising any damage to your body.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain or injury and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.