Winter is here and snow has finally started to fall, which means many of us are anxious to hit the slopes. Whether you love to ski, snowboard, or tube, it’s important to be aware of common injuries on the slopes and protect yourself from general safety hazards. Explore some of the most common ski-related injuries with us and a few tips to prevent each of them.
3 Most Common Types of Ski Injuries
Whether you’re on the bunny hill or the most advanced trails, losing control and balance are always possibilities. Head injuries can be minor or very severe trauma, but always should be treated by a professional. According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, only 48% of US skiers routinely wear helmets.
Prevention: The best way to prevent major injuries is to always wear your helmet!
Due to the forces put on the knee while skiing tearing an ACL or MCL can be common. One way to help prevent these injuries is preparing for the strength and endurance demands of skiing ahead of time. Performing quad strengthening exercises including squats and lunges can help strengthen the knee. Also performing higher impact activities such as squat jumps and speed skaters can help prepare the body for higher forces during skiing.
Prevention: Prepare for the strength & endurance demands of skiing ahead of time. Some great exercises to help prep for ski season are: Squats, Lunges, Squat Jumps and Speed Skaters.
For Step-by-Step instruction of these & other exercsies, check out: 5 Exercises to Prepare you to Hit the Ski Slopes
Wrist & Shoulder Injuries
Falling on an outstretched arm can lead to wrist fractures and rotator cuff injuries while skiing. The best way to prevent these injuries is to ski with control and to choose trails that are appropriate for your skiing skills.
Prevention: Crash less! Always ski within your control and choose trails appropriate for your skills.
General Slope & Mountain Safety Tips
The National Ski Areas Association lists the Responsibility Code to ensure safety while having fun on the mountain. Follow these 7 rules to stay as safe as possible this ski season.
Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
National Ski Areas Association: Responsibility Code
Central Orthopedic Group: 5 Most Common Skiing Injuries
Stop Sports Injuries: Skiing and Snowboarding Injury Prevention