The red flags of skiing injuries

Downhill Skiing
Downhill Skiing

We are fast approaching snow sports season!  January through to April is my busiest sports injury time.  I see more injuries during this period from snow sports than any other time of the year.  Let's face it there is a risk to engaging in any sport - snow sports perhaps a bit more than others.  However, if you adhere to some basic advice you can minimise the risk of injury.  In this article I share that advice with you....

Not conditioned for snow sports

If you are going on a skiing vacation this winter now is the time to start getting your body ready.  I would recommend a gym programme that trains the biomotor abilities of skiing and snowboarding, which are balance, power, strength, and agility.  Specifically you need to have a strong stable pelvis and spine to widthstand the forces of skiing and snowboarding movements.   Rotational and lateral stability are very important too.  And you need stability and balance training so your brain and body can figure out quickly how to change direction and deal with the unstable surface of snow underneath you. This sounds like a lot I know.  The art of training efficiently for snow sports is something we can help you with at Precision Movement.  If you would like to learn more then get in contact with us for a chat. 

Attempting level that is beyond your current ability

Whether you are a daring beginner with a penchant for danger or a seasoned veteran of snow sports, it is always prudent to work within your abilities.  I have seen many injuries throughout my career caused by over-zealous dare-devil stunts!  I cannot stress enough how important it is to be sensible and the reason why is highly linked to my next point…

Someone running into you

Now this is probably the most common reason people get injured in snow sports and it is not something you have much control over unless you are the one crashing into someone else.  The best advice I can give here is, stick to runs that are within your ability, always have your wits about you, don’t rush, always wear a helmet even if it cramps your slope style and lastly, give crazies a wide berth!  Also, I’m going to add watch out for young children who are speed demons – they have no fear and also believe they are small enough to fit through the tiniest gaps between people. 

Lack of sleep and alcohol consumption

I personally think skiing and snowboarding is one if the best holidays because you get to be active as well as taking lengthy lunches atop a mountain and then partying with your friends into the wee hours of the morning.  It has everything that makes a holiday good!  With the good times also comes lack of sleep and more often than not a larger than normal consumption of alcohol.  Firstly, lack of sleep will impair your cognitive and neuromuscular abilities on the slopes the next day.  Basically, when you are tired all your communication channels become smudgy and lackadaisical which can increase your risk of injury.  Be aware of how many hours you sleep and if you’ve had a particularly late night then take it easy on the slopes the next day.  Alcohol makes you more tired and impairs your sleep.  I’m not saying don’t drink – just be mindful of what you consume with a thought to your activity the next day.

Ignoring weather conditions

I have had personal experience with this.  On my first snowboarding trip I decided to bravely venture out by myself on my last day and prove that I could snowboard unaided and find my way around the slopes like a pro.  Unfortunately, I picked the worst day – a complete whiteout.  I didn’t even know what a whiteout was until I was in it!  Obviously I thought I was going to die - first from motion sickness, then from losing my way and getting stranded.  Amazingly I survived without a scratch!  Accidents are much more likely to happen during adverse weather conditions because visibility is so poor.  Really consider whether it is worth going out when the weather is bad.  Sometimes staying in your chalet for the day in your long johns and ugg slippers sipping hot chocolate is a better option! 

I know some of these points seem a little obvious but it never hurts to be reminded, especially in the spirit of minimizing the risk of injury.  It’s always easier to say “in hindsight…”.  Let’s make this an injury free ski season – well as much as possible!  Happy skiing and boarding have some Raclette for me!