Whether you are an avid skier or just starting out, the slopes can be a dangerous place for your body. Each year, hundreds of people experience sports injuries related to skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and other beloved snow sports. No matter your experience, aptitude, or grace, these 9 cautionary steps will help you avoid a hassle and a hospital visit:
- Follow the Rules –On almost every slope, rules are listed all over the place. They include common courtesy as well as right-of-ways and other important safety suggestions.
- Stick to What You Know – Slope-related sports injuries come fast to showoffs and thrill seekers. If you are incapable of nailing a trick, don’t even try it. Yes, practice makes perfect, but you shouldn’t feel pressure to do more than you know you can handle. Stay out of areas you are not prepared to tackle. Slopes are labeled for a reason.
- Pay Attention – On a busy slope, there is always someone in the way, around the corner, or coming at you. Be attentive and stay aware of other skiers. Even if you are experienced, other slope-goers may not be. If they are unable to dodge you, you will have to move out of the way quickly.
- Stretch, Warm Up, and Strengthen – Skiing and snowboarding use muscle groups that are not always put to use. This means even athletes may come away from the slope a little sore. The best way to avoid injuries, just like you would with any other sport, is to stretch, warmup, and strengthen your muscles beforehand.
- Rest When Needed – As with any sport, you should rest before your body has had enough. You may be ready to go, but your body may be telling you “no.”
- Brace Yourself –When you try to stop yourself from a major wipeout, you tense up your muscles. Your muscles offer little cushion, and you are more at risk of tearing, spraining, or other sports injuries.
- Wear Adequate Clothing/Protective Gear – While a helmet isn’t much of a fashion statement, it will definitely help to keep you safe. Also, wear proper protective equipment for the weather and your skill level.
- Cool Down – Take the time to cool down, stretch again, and drink some more water. Let your body take it easy for a minute.
- Check Your Equipment Often – Even in sledding, you need to check your equipment often.