Here’s to an injury free snow season

There is so much to organise when heading off to the snow that taking care to avoid injury can be missed, particularly when you arrive and are keen to hit the slopes.

Preparation for skiing or snowboarding preferably needs to begin a couple of months beforehand by improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, stability and flexibility.

Increasing your aerobic activity by doing some running or cycling will take care of the cardiovascular fitness whilst there are a range of stretching, strengthening and core stability exercises. Plank exercises are great for the core stability. Squatting and lunging exercises will help strengthen legs and glutes. Simply do 10-20 lunges or squats every morning on each leg to prevent fatigue in the legs towards the end of the day. Dynamically stretch your hamstrings, calves and glutes for a minute each day to increase your range of motion and avoid muscle tears or strains.

Taking care of cardiovascular fitness well in advance will ensure endurance for skiing or boarding several hours a day. By having muscles prepared for this type of exercise you can expect better muscle performance and will be less liable to injury.

Knee and shoulder injuries are most common in Skiers along with thumb sprains. Snowboarders have more head and shoulder injuries along with wrist sprains and fractures. There are some other things that you can do on and off the slopes to avoid these types of injury.

  • have your boots professionally fitted to you skis or board. Eliminating foot movement in your boots will ensure greater control of where you go.
  • for those skiing make sure your DIN settings match your weight, height and your skiing ability to allow your skis to come off when they should. Too loose and you will be left without skis when you need them most, too tight and you could end up with a major strain or worse.
  • have well maintained equipment and have boards and ski’s edges sharpened and undercarriages waxed to once again ensure control when on the slopes.
  • wear a helmet. Apart from saving your life it will keep your head nice and warm.
  • use wrist guards if you are snowboarding to prevent wrist fractures and strains, most likely to occur if you are just starting out or attempting some harder runs.

For most of us travel time to a snowfield will involve a considerable amount of time driving. Take the time if you are a passenger or having a break from driving, to check out Snow Safe as it has some great advice and information.

On the days you plan to ski there are a few final things to do to set yourself up for an injury free skiing or snowboarding experience.

Stretching before the first run of the day will loosen muscles and prepare them for the days’ activities. Continue your lunges, squats and dynamic stretching of hamstrings, calves and glutes during you ski trip and add some flexibility exercises for your lower back by using a lumbar roll and performing back extensions before you head out each day.

Whether you are staying up the mountain or not, running up and down some stairs before putting your boots on is a good warm up. Alternatively 5 minutes of brisk walking by taking the long way to the lifts will help warm up the legs.

Starting and finishing the day on easier ski slopes will help your muscles to warm up and down. Save the more challenging runs for throughout the day. In addition to this, having some lessons to improve your technique can provide you with better posture and body positioning to reduce stress on joints and avoid injury.

So finally at the point of taking off down the hill you will be fully prepared for a great day and should your skill level not be up to an ideal standard, your ego will be the only thing left bruised at the end of the day.