The snow is falling, the chairlifts are running, and the mountain is calling! No doubt you’re eager to strap on your boots and claim some fresh powder.
But let’s slow down for just a moment and talk about an important subject. While you’re 100 times more likely to die canoeing than skiing or snowboarding, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t there.
In fact, over 600,000 people end up in the emergency room each year due to ski or snowboard injuries.
How can you ensure a safe, injury-free day for yourself and everyone around you? Before you catch your first chair, take a moment to review these skiing and snowboarding safety tips.
Before You Hit the Slopes
It’s been said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” You don’t have to have the newest or most expensive clothing and gear, but it does need to be suitable for the conditions.
Wear three basic layers to stay warm and dry: a light, sweat-wicking base layer, a warmer fleece or wool mid-layer, and a windproof, waterproof jacket. Snowboarders should always wear wrist guards, and both skiers and snowboarders should wear a helmet and goggles.
Pack a few easy snacks such as nuts, fruit, or granola bars to fuel your energy. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, too, and bring some SPF lip balm to protect your lips from burning.
If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding or hoping to improve your skills, sign up for a few lessons. Working with an instructor is the fastest way to improve your skills and make skiing and snowboarding safety a priority.
While You’re on the Mountain
Never push beyond your limits, as that’s the fastest road to injury. Master your skills on those green runs before you move to the blues, the blues before you move to the blacks, and so on.
Always respect Mother Nature. If visibility is poor, the wind is whipping, or you can’t seem to get warm, downgrade to an easier run or take a break to warm up in the lodge.
Take frequent breaks to rehydrate and evaluate your physical condition. Listen to your body and let common sense guide you. Avoid the urge to tackle “one last run” if you’ve reached your physical or mental limit for the day.
We all love to relax on vacation, but save the alcohol for those apres ski specials. Some might say it loosens them up and helps them ski better, but the truth is it slows your reaction time and makes you more dangerous to yourself and everyone around you.
And, if you haven’t already done so, review the principles found in the NSAA’s Responsibility Code. Some of the most important rules are to always stay in control and remember that everyone downhill (or ahead of you) has the right of way.
After the Lifts Close for the Day
Rule number one: Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, your body uses a tremendous amount of water from intense activity at high altitudes.
Use an ice pack for your sorest muscles, as this will help to reduce inflammation and next-day muscle soreness. Then, if possible, soak in a hot tub, hot springs, or a warm Epsom salt bath.
Finally, book an invigorating deep tissue or sports massage to loosen tight muscles and joints while relaxing your body and mind. This is the best way to help your body recover and prepare for another exciting day on the mountain.
Make Skiing and Snowboarding Safety a Priority
After an epic day on the slopes, you want to share stories of how deep the powder was or how you finally landed that jump at the terrain park — not a tale about getting injured.
Bookmark this list and review it at the beginning of each ski season so you’ll always be ready to make skiing and snowboarding safety a priority!
As mentioned above, massage therapy is the perfect way to rejuvenate your tired muscles and get ready for another day on the slopes. Give us a call at 970-748-1600 or use our online form to book your next massage in Avon or Glenwood Springs.