By: Lindsey Clemensen, M.Ed., ATC, OTC
The first snow has come and the opening chair has begun! As the new winter sports season is getting started, are you physically prepared to have a safe and successful year? Here are some quick tips to help you have the best season yet!
#1: Have Proper Fitting Gear
If you are blowing the dust off last season’s equipment, be sure to check bindings, boots, etc. for proper fitting. Local ski shops can ensure you and your gear are ready to carve down the mountain. If it has been awhile since your ski or snowboard gear has been upgraded, consider investing in some new pieces. Winter gear technology is continuing to advance and can help you ride more effectively and efficiently. Proper fitting gear is one easy step in helping to reduce injuries.
#2: Warm Up your Body
Skiing or snowboarding are high-impact activities that are physically demanding on the body. A proper warm up is vital to decrease risk of injury. A quick warm-up routine before shredding the mountain will ensure the body is physically ready to take on the adventure ahead. An idea for a quick warm-up routine is listed below:
- 20 squats
- 20 forward to backward lunges on each leg
- 20 windmills alternating sides
- 20 butt kickers
- 20 jumping jacks
- Stretch your quads, calves, and hamstrings, along with the triceps, shoulders and core
#3: Preparing for the Slopes
After ensuring you have proper equipment and are appropriately warmed-up, there are some key things to be mindful of while getting ready to take on the slopes. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Skiing and snowboarding are extremely taxing on the body and it is important to keep the body fueled.
Most ski resorts are at higher elevations and thus closer to the sun. This means there is less oxygen in the atmosphere and the body is quicker to fatigue. Just because it is winter and may be cloudy, it does not mean you can forget the sunscreen! UV rays reflect off the white snow and will cause sunburns. Be sure to wear UV protective googles or sunglasses to help protect your eyes.
Winter sports are a high-risk activity. Even the best trained athletes can take one bad turn and have a significant injury. Be sure to wear a helmet to help protect your melon. It is important to listen to your body throughout the day. It is acceptable to take as many breaks as needed. Most ski and snowboard injuries happen towards the end of the day, when the body becomes fatigued.
If you are headed into the back-country, always be sure to tell someone where you are going and the estimated time of your return home. Be sure to be avalanche-ready and carry appropriate gear.
#4: Once on the Slopes
There are some important rules to follow for your safety and the safety of other skiers and snowboarders. Always be sure to follow any and all posted signs! Ski resorts do their best to ensure everyone can have a great time while remaining safe. This helps prevent injuries! Some other things to be mindful of while shredding down the hill include:
- Stay in control of yourself and your equipment
- Be sure to stop in a safe place and out of the way of other skiers or snowboarders
- Be mindful of the weather and changing slope conditions
- Continue to look ahead and down the mountain to avoid collisions with others
- Be comfortable and safe in getting on and off ski lifts
#5: Have Fun!
Now you are ready to take on the winter season ahead. Get outside, try a new activity, and enjoy our beautiful snowy town. Hope to see you at the lodge to warm down with a hot cocoa or beer! Be safe and let it snow!