Skiing is a popular winter sport, and it’s not hard to imagine why. Rocketing down the slopes, feeling the cold wind stinging your face, and, at the end of the day, warming up by the fireplace is an experience loved by many.
But all this fun may come at a price. Skiing can be quite dangerous, and many sustain serious injuries due to the risky nature of the sport. In fact, more than 76,000 patients arrived at hospitals with skiing-related injuries in 2018, while an additional 53,000 people suffered snowboarding-related injuries.
Most commonly, skiers suffer injuries to the knee ligament, because the sport requires you to frequently bend your legs. If you don’t land properly after a jump, your knees can suffer serious damage. Shoulder injuries also occur–dislocations and sprains are not uncommon. Head injuries, while rare, can happen as well.
Professional skiers are not immune to injury, but most have years of experience and know how to complete a perfect jump without a scratch. Amateur or beginner skiers, on the other hand, are more prone to getting injured. If you’re just starting out, here are some tips on how to ski without hurting yourself:
Stay in shape. If you’ve barely reached the slopes and you’re out of breath already, it may be time to train a little first. Make sure your physical condition is good enough so you can ski without complications.
Warm up. Science says cold or stiff muscles are more prone to injury. Do a few minutes of jumping jacks or running in place before strapping on your gear.
Get hydrated. Make sure you get enough water during your ski outing. Drink a few glasses before hitting the slopes, take frequent water breaks in between runs, and have another glass before heading home.
Know the rules. You can’t just put on a pair of skis and head down the slopes without knowing a thing about the sport. Have a good understanding of how to slow down, stop, and avoid other skiers. Also, know how to handle yourself around a ski lift. Take a few lessons if you’re new.
Wear proper equipment. Put on a few layers of clothing against the cold, and wear quality boots. It’s also crucial to make sure your skis are properly adjusted and fitted to your feet. And don’t head out before putting on a helmet and a pair of goggles.
Know the trails. Pay attention to rocks and slippery ice, and don’t head off the beaten path. Before hitting the slopes, listen to local weather forecasts so you don’t find yourself in the middle of a blizzard or in danger of an avalanche.
Don’t ski alone. Always head out with a partner, and stay within sight of them, in case one of you gets hurt. If either one of you is showing signs of frostbite or hypothermia, get to shelter and seek medical attention immediately.
There’s no reason you should find yourself in a difficult situation while skiing, as long as you follow the recommended advice above. Keep yourself safe out there.