This weekend winter really hit in the high country. Wolf Creek opened the lifts and, I am sure Arapahoe Basin and Loveland will sure be soon too follow. Hopefully, you are working on your conditioning as skiing will be happening soon. You can see our post on conditioning here.
People often else what else they can do to prevent ski injury. Being physically fit is one thing for sure. Being strong enough and having endurance to last as long as you want can definitely keep you healthy.
The second area to look at is your equipment. Making sure your skis or board is tuned and running well is important. It will help you ride better and safer and conserve energy. Also, make sure your boots fit well and your binding are adjusted. You want them to release when they are supposed to, but not when they are not. Getting these looked at before you start should be on your list. Have a professional do it to be safest.
Staying in control, and limiting falls is another area we can look at. Ski on terrain and in conditions you are comfortable with. Ski in control. Be aware of terrain, light, snow surfaces, and crowds. Take a lesson if you need or want to try more challenging things. And, lastly, if you are going to jump, know where you want to land. Flat landings are prime for injuries. Unexpected situation on landing can also be trouble. Scout it out and get a spotter if there is any chance of collision with other riders.
Some times we do fall though, and we can look at is how we fall. Especially for ACL tears, one of the more common ski injuries, there has been research on what types of falls may lead to more risk. There are 6 common things that lead to more risk:
- The uphill arm gets back.
- The skier gets off balance to the rear.
- The skier’s hips get below their knees (sitting in the back seat)
- The uphill ski becomes unweighted.
- The skiers weight goes to the tail of the downhill ski.
- The upper body becomes twisted to face the downhill ski
Here are a couple examples:
Now you may be thinking, How do I stop that? Falls are unexpected and happen fast. But learning a few things can make a difference. If you feel like you are losing control the first things to think of are hands forward, feet together, and hands over skis. These 3 things are meant to keep your body from twisting, your weight forward, and as equal as you can. This can hopefully prevent the chain of events that lead to a more dangerous fall.
If you do fall, there are a couple other things you can do to limit your damage. The first is if you need to stop yourself from sliding, do not fully straighten your knees, keep the flexed and “soft” so they can give. Locked knees are more likely to rear a ligament. The second thing to do is stay down until you stop moving. Many injuries occur when someone falls and attempts to stand while they are sliding. This leaves us prone to falling back and twisting if we lose our balance.
For more information here is a link with more details.