As ski season approaches, skiers and snowboarders can't wait to hit the snow to leave behind their first fresh tracks of the year. Before you strap into your bindings, keep in mind that a day on the slopes can be dangerous. To avoid a trip to the emergency room and ensure you spend more time tackling double-black diamonds, here are a few things to keep in mind before your ski trip:
- Get in shape: Be sure to follow a regular fitness program before heading to the mountains. A basic layer of conditioning will strengthen muscles and build endurance that will help prevent injuries.
- Check your equipment: A bindings check is always a smart move. Roughly half of all injuries are due to improper binding performance. While you're at it, make sure all of your ski and boarding gear is in tip-top shape.
- Know your limits: Ski or snowboard at your appropriate level. Beginners should avoid advanced runs.
- Warm up: Before you hop from the car to the chairlift, don't forget to do a little stretching before to loosen and warm up your cold muscles. Focus on calves, hamstrings, quadriceps as well as your shoulders.
- Hydrate: When you're fixated on getting in as many runs as possible, sometimes you forget to stay hydrated. Don't forget to drink plenty of fluids as the day goes along. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue.
- Avoid the "one last run" syndrome: You think you've got just one more run in you before you call it day. If you're legs are feeling heavy, it's better to make a beeline to the lodge instead of the chairlift.
- If a mishap does occur on the hill, make sure that your body is fully recovered before your next trip up to the mountains.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
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