With Arapahoe Basin opening this past weekend, snow riding season is officially upon us. There is some inherent risk in skiing and boarding of course, but we can help minimize the risk. Here are 5 things you can do this season to try to stay healthy all season.
- Have the right equipment: It is important to have the right skis, best fitting boots, and properly set bindings. Many injuries can occur with not releasing properly during a fall. If you have older equipment get it checked and adjusted by a good ski shop. Equipment also includes proper safety equipment, a helmet, good eye wear, layered dry clothing, and wrist guards for boarders.
- Know the Code: Learn the Skier’s Responsibility Code. This is available at any ski area you may ride at. The slopes can get busy and knowing how to be safe and your responsibilities can cut down on collisions or the need for emergency evasive action.
- Get Conditioned: We had an article about this a couple of weeks ago here. http://ascentpt.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/5-things-you-should-know-about-ski-conditioning/ . Being in better shape will allow you to ski better for longer. Put some time in now to get into condition.
- Ski within your limits: This means ski appropriate terrain and conditions your level permits. Rest or stop for the day when you are feeling fatigued, especially early in the year when you may not be as well conditioned.
- Learn to Fall: Falling, can cause issues for injury obviously, but it will happen. For ACL injuries, one of the most common skier knee injuries a number of factors have been identified with skiing which increase risk. They are falling with the uphill arm back behind the body, skier off balance to the rear, hips below the knees, the uphill ski unweighted with all of the weight on the down hill ski, and the upper body rotated to face downhill. Although these factors may happen quickly in a fall they frequently are a chain of events that happen when a skier loses balance and attempts to fight the fall. If you do start to fall think about bringing your feet together, arms forward and hands over your skis. This series of movements will reposition your knee in line with your downhill ski to reduce twisting forces, make both skis available to take weight, and put you in better position to recover or make a controlled fall.
None of these things will guarantee staying healthy, but have been shown to reduce risk. Be safe out there.