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Tips to Prevent Ski Injuries

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

As we eagerly anticipate the ski season ahead, would you assist with a list of one-liners to help us all be safe out there this year? Here are a few to get the wheels turning. 


  • Skiing is a motor skill. Don't drink and ride. 
  • Don't let peer pressure get you in over your head
  • Stop skiing before you're physically exhausted
  • Look ahead where you're going, not down at your skis
  • Don't ski on Saturdays
  • Give the trees a wide berth on blue groomers
  • Wear appropriate eyewear for the conditions
  • Get your boots fitted
  • Get your skis tuned periodically
  • Check that your bindings work properly 
  • Get coaching to acquire the technical skills 
  • Get in shape, with special attention to core strength
post #2 of 52

I think most of it could be summed up with: Get in shape.

post #3 of 52

The corollary - don't expect to ski yourself into shape.

post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 

I agree -- Get in Shape is #1!


But you know, one line is not a list. wink.gif

post #5 of 52

For me, flexibility goes a long way towards preventing injuries.  I've heard that recent research tends to suggest that it doesn't help as much as we thought it did in the past.  I just know I've only had one major ski related injury in the past 40 years and that was injuring my back flopping a pole flip short on icy, refrozen hardpack.


In spite of the recent publications that indicate otherwise, I always try to stretch out some before heading down the first run, especially the first run of the season.  I'll stretch several times a week in the month before first tracks.   I'll stop for two or three minutes at the top of the WROD and stretch out a little before pointing them down.  And, throughout the season I'll stretch a little bit at the beginning of each session, in the morning or after sitting down for a break.

post #6 of 52

-Only stop in places where you are not blocking a run and those skiing down can see you.  My personal favorite is on the down slope side of a slow sign.


-Look uphill before starting or merging into/crossing a run.


The Saturday thing is really resort dependent...I have skied at some destination resorts (mainly in France) where Saturday is the in/out day and least crowded day on the slopes. 

post #7 of 52

Y o g a.

post #8 of 52
Stretch before you ski, it's very important to get those muscles warmed up.
post #9 of 52

Never take "a last run."

Know and follow the alpine code of conduct.


I'd omit the "Don't ski on Saturdays" one and replace it with something like: If busy Saturdays or other holidays are the only days you can ski, be extra careful out there.

post #10 of 52

I'm with you there.  So many stories about people injuring themselves start with "Well, it was the last run of the day ..."


Generally speaking, I have a personal rule to take the last run of the day fairly gently.

post #11 of 52

* if you feel yourself falling, especially rearward, don't fight it


* don't ski trees or seriously deep powder alone

post #12 of 52

Protect your head at all times; keep it from touching the ice/snow and tuck your chin if you fall  on your back.

post #13 of 52
Originally Posted by SkiBam View Post

Never take "a last run."


Problem is, if you get hurt it's by definition the last run. 

post #14 of 52
Warm up, yes, static stretch, no. If you go out and static stretch cold muscles, you are more likely to injure yourself than if you didn't. Dynamic stretches like leg swings, shoulder rolls etc are the way to go, though to be honest I don't bother most of the time.
post #15 of 52

Yeah, I try to do dynamic stretching too before starting. But I do that at home, then walk my kid to the lockers, boot him up, wait for his instructor, take a lift, wait on line for another... Before I'm skiing an hour has passed since I've stretched, wonder how useful it is. Could do it at the top I suppose, but by that time I want to go, plus it's cold, I may be with other people...

post #16 of 52

#1 Not that I have ever violated this rule, but drinking and skiing is not a good idea.  Aside from the potential liability issues if (god forbid) there is an accident, remember that you are cooking along at high speed on an inherently slick surface with no airbags.  The beers at lunch are a killer.  Aside from motor impairment, there is also dehydration.  The deteriorated snow conditions post lunch, fatigue, and alcohol are a dangerous combo.  Skip lunch.  Go like hell.  Knock off at 2 and apres away.


#2 Keep things warm. Aside from obvious knee and wrist injuries, a "tweaked" back is prob next most common.  Be careful carrying equipment. Getting dressed.  Lifting kids onto lifts.  I like a neoprene back wrap to keep my gut from jiggling and my lower back from seizing up.  Ditto for knee braces.  There is no shame (except that of sitting miserably in lodge spaced out on prescription PKs and Irish coffee while your pals are still out skiing)


#3 Helmet.


#4.  Fuel.  Give your body something that it can run on for a few hrs.  Coffee and pop tarts are good for a an hr, then not so much.


#5.  TUNE TUNE TUNE.  Here in the east, good edges are vital for safety and for maintaining proper movement / position.  Blown off blue bulletproof  is everywhere.  If  you are confident your edges are up to the task, this will translate into a better time.


#6.  Head on a swivel situational awareness.  It is often not YOU who you have to worry about. 


#7.  I get the whole ipod thing.  However, if listening to HS dropout crackhead gangstahs (not that there's anything wrong with that) at top volume makes you an oblivious A-hole, hit pause (or turn it down) on the run and save melting your brain for the lift. Then you don't have to talk to creepy old guys like me.

post #17 of 52
Originally Posted by iWill View Post...Get in shape...

2nd post wins!


Being out of shape is the common enemy for nearly all ski trips.  Not being strong enough to property ski the stiffness/weight/camber of the boot/binding/ski is a real killer.  Most skiers' gear is way too heavy for their strength level.


Feet just can't handle 15K of vert the first day out.  Get in your boots now.  After a few weeks put some weight in your pack and be on your feet.  If you can't spend hours walking around in your boots there's a problem.


Whether you ski in the side/backcountry or not, all skiers should seriously look at the new light slackcountry boots- dreamy comfort.  Atomic Tracker, Fischer Ranger and Lange XT130.  to start.  Light weight is key.


Lighter Weight = Less Fatigue = Less Injuries = Happy Skier = More Street Cred = More Se... you guys get the picture...

post #18 of 52

The most serious injury I've had over the past 236 ski days - 4 seasons (since my ACL Recon) was getting hit from behind on a double black diamond slope and getting knocked unconscious - it was a slow day, with no one around when I pushed off the headwall and was then blindsided - so not sure how to mitigate (had a helmet on). Thankfully, in a few minutes I felt better and was able to put my skis back on and ski to the bottom without assistance. During this same period I also got tangled once with another skier while we were both disembarking a chair lift, and I ended up falling backwards. While I was falling backwards I was worried about my Reconstructed ACL, but just as I started to feel pressure my KneeBinding released at the heel laterally, and I'm quite confident I was spared a knee injury. Similarly, my cousin had a kid fall into her while she was standing in a lift line, and when she got tangled and knocked down her ACL ruptured (not a KB user).


In the end, there's really only so much that "physical preparation", "skiing properly", and "falling properly" can do to protect you in these sort of instances, and it's really more a matter of statistics and luck when you ski a lot of days each season like many of us do. Unfortunately, all it takes is one brief instance of bad luck for a serious and possibly season-ending injury.

Edited by CHRISfromRI - 10/23/12 at 7:07am
post #19 of 52

Reminds me that I need to get in better shape for this season haha

post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 

I see I forgot to add "wear a helmet" to the list. biggrin.gif

post #21 of 52
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I see I forgot to add "wear a helmet" to the list. biggrin.gif


Haha Oh yeah.

post #22 of 52

Read this: http://www.vermontskisafety.com/kneefriendly.php


Probably the single most important information every skier should know.

post #23 of 52
In my Twitter feed today.! Lol

"@BruceGreySimcoe: Avoid injuries this ski season - check out this list of handy tips! http://fb.me/LU2cWKzu"

Word is out, EpicSki is awesome!
post #24 of 52



Give other skiers / riders a large berth

post #25 of 52
Thread Starter 

A few advanced safety tips:


If you ski in steep terrain, practice self-arrest: Self Arrest Techniques

If you ski in the backcountry, become an expert with your transceiver, probe and shovel

Spot your landing before launching air

Heed avalanche warnings


In the backcountry:

Keep away from avalanche routes like gullies

Steer clear of depressions in the snow for these can be crevasses

Ski down the fall line rather than cutting back and forth across the slope...

post #26 of 52

Tread lightly in low snow conditions. On day one of a cat ski trip at Mustang Powder (near Revelstoke) I had the misfortune of carving a little deep in low snow and catching a rock. 2nd degree shoulder separation made the next two day of skiing VERY uncomfortable.

post #27 of 52

You guys are way to serious...But seriously ... 

Don't drive your damn SUV's with half-gone alll-seasons to my mountain. 

Do no stare at the GPS while doing this.


On the hill... Park on the side of the run when you run out of gas  and, just like in the SUV - take a look before you pull back into my 90K traffic-flow.

Do Not Park On The Traverse or Boot-packs.

Parking Under Rollers is right out too.

As is parking at the entrance to lift corrals.

NO Headphones or ear-Buds - unless you are where I ain't.

Wear a helmet - on yer knee.

Oh... one more thing Snow-boarders ride double on the T-Bars and Repeat Practice runs go back into the line-up ( somewhere behind Me).   

post #28 of 52

I think that there are two major areas: On slope and off slope

On slope:
Follow the rules

  • Safety on the slopes is everyone's responsibility. Ski safely-not only for yourself, but for others as well.
  • Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, 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 know how to load, ride, and unload safely.

Wear proper protective equipment, and check your equipment for safety.


Off the slopes:

Pepare yourself physically: CORE, strength, flexibility, balance. Consider going to a professional and not the DIY off the internet workouts. They know what exercises are good for you and what could be dangerous, you most likely are going to copy somebody else's routine and doing something either not adequate for your level or without proper form.

post #29 of 52

Check the weather report, especially if poor visibility or extreme cold is likely, then adjust accordingly.


Don't let kids (of all ages) stay out too long.

post #30 of 52
Thread Starter 

The Rider Responsibility Code is the legal code on the slopes, while what we're after is all the other perhaps not so obvious stuff that experienced skiers know and do that has kept them from getting injured while skiing. 

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