Few things can compare with the thrill and exhilaration of sports like skiing and snowboarding. But the thrill of high speed winter sports comes with an increased risk of injury, and an injury sustained on the ski slopes can be both painful and debilitating.
Sprains, strains and dislocations are common, particularly with people who may be unaccustomed to skiing and snowboarding, apart from one or two precious weeks on the slopes every winter. If you are really unlucky you may fracture a bone.
But by preparing carefully and taking a few precautions, you can help to reduce your injury risk. It may not be as exciting as shopping for new ski wear or choosing your resort, but time spent before your holiday could prevent a whole load of hassle afterwards. And once you are at your resort, following a simple daily routine and making sure you listen to your body can help you to stay safe on the slopes and ensure that all you bring back from your holiday is happy memories.
Preparing for your winter sports holiday
One of the most common reasons for people getting injured is the fact that they are unfit and out of condition and suddenly they hit the slopes and expect their body to cope with it. The older you get, the harder it is for your body to adapt to a sudden spike in physical activity.
If you are planning to head off on a winter sports holiday, spending a few weeks getting yourself fit before you go can help to build your muscle strength and improve your physical fitness. Ideally start a few weeks before you go away with a mix of stretches and cardiovascular exercises.
Dos and don’ts to avoid injury on the slopes
Our top dos and don’ts for avoiding getting injured on the slopes include:
- Make sure you do a proper warm-up before you start skiing or snowboarding as cold muscles, ligaments and tendons are more prone to injury.
- Wear the right clothing. Several loose lightweight layers will keep you dry and warm more effectively than a single thicker layer. Make sure you wear the corrective protective equipment including a helmet, goggles and ski boots that provide ankle support.
- Invest in proper lessons with a qualified instructor. Another common cause of injury is people falling badly. As well as teaching you good technique, you will learn how to fall in a way that reduces your risk of injury.
- Drink plenty of water as strenuous activity will make you sweat and you can easily become dehydrated.
- Don’t drink alcohol before skiing or snowboarding. A high number of accidents are caused by people drinking while out on the slopes as alcohol can slow your reaction times and impair your judgement.
- Don’t ignore weather warnings or safety advice. Make sure you tell people where you are going.
- Don’t continue to push yourself if you are feeling tired. The highest number of injuries occur when people are tired as muscles can become weaker.
- If you are unfortunate enough to get injured, don’t continue skiing or snowboarding as exercising on a damaged limb can significantly increase any damage.
For minor injuries, use the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, elevation above the level of your heart – and take painkillers. If the injury is more serious, you should seek medical advice.
If you have been injured while on a winter sports holiday we can provide a detailed diagnosis and treatment plan.