It’s Snow Fun: Skiing and Snowboarding
For many, the start of winter in Pennsylvania is the start of a seasonal passion: Skiing and snowboarding. Both offer plenty of thrills, as well as opportunity to strengthen your heart, bones and tone your muscles.
“It’s important to prepare your body for the challenges of these demanding winter sports with some pre-skiing and pre-snowboarding exercises,” says Faisal Al-Alim, MD, fellowship-trained and board-certified sports medicine physician with LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. “And if you are new to either snow skiing or snowboarding, you need lessons to learn necessary skills before you hit the slopes.”
Ski and snowboard tips
Once you’re fit and know the basics – and even after you’re an expert – follow these precautions to stay safe:
- Use the right equipment. Whether buying or renting, choose equipment that’s in good shape, is of good quality and fits you correctly. Protect yourself with a helmet made for skiing; goggles; shin, wrist and arm guards; and gloves that fit correctly. Ski boots and bindings should be checked and adjusted by a ski professional. Always double check your bindings before you head down the slope.
- Pay attention. Keep a close eye on the trail, stay on course and only attempt courses designed for your skill level. Be on the lookout for dangerous ice and avoid it whenever possible. Always know the snow conditions before you ski or snowboard. If you are unsure of conditions, check with the local Ski Patrol. Know and follow the rules of the ski resort.
- Pace yourself. Start out the day with a few slow, easy runs to warm up. Remember not to push yourself too hard or try a course that’s beyond your skill level. Always snowboard or ski with a buddy. When you feel tired or if your muscles feel weak, take a break.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids when you’re on the slopes all day, but avoid alcohol. In addition to eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, you might want to pack healthy snack bars in a parka pocket.
- Know the proper procedures to take if you or someone in your group has an injury, hypothermia, or frostbite.
Hit the slopes too hard? Take our free sports injury assessment at LVHN.org/sportsmedicine.