Safety tips for skiing and boarding

As the ski season is drawing to an end, many will be hitting the slopes over the Easter break. Chiropractor Laura Rigby gives some tips to help you make the most of your holiday and avoid back pain and injury while still enjoying the powder.

  • Dressing the part: Make sure that you are wrapped up warm enough with layers that can easily be removed. Besides it is miserable to be cold all day, your body will cool more rapidly when inactive making you more prone to injury when you ski again.
  • Warm up/ Cool down: Coaches, pros, and therapists, don’t go on and on about this for the good of their health, it is for yours! Warming up should include raising your heart rate and getting all of the muscles used to working; this could include starting your day on a more gentle run before heading off to the more intense red and black runs. Cool down by stretching each area of the body 2-3 times for 20 – 30 seconds each. Some of these could easily be done in a jacuzzi!
  • Liquid lunch: Whilst it is fun to have a drink or three on the slopes, alcohol dehydrates the body. We lose essential minerals and electrolytes while we are sweating, which need replacing. Alcohol, unfortunately, does not do this. The effects of alcohol can also reduce your reaction time making you more prone to injury by accident. Make sure you rehydrate with water and wait for après-ski to have an alcoholic drink!
  • Boot up: Opting for a boot with a moulded footbed won’t only feel comfortable but will help with your ski control.
  • On the right track: If you are prone to going ‘knock-kneed’ when you ski, ask about lateral wedges which are placed under your bindings helping to support your alignment when you ski.
  • Board/ Ski ready: When you stop for lunch, keep your skis or board upright at the stands or in the snow. When you have finished eating and resting and are a little cooler again, you don’t have to risk your back by bending down to retrieve your skis (which you know you shouldn’t be doing anyway!).
  • Tread carefully: If you are heading out for après then make sure that you again choose the correct footwear by opting for supportive boots with deep treads to give you extra grip on the slippy surfaces.

Prevention is better than cure, and just a small misalignment of the joint or muscle can have a catastrophic effect when traveling at 40 miles per hour on two skis or one board! The British Chiropractic Association also has some good safety advice.

If you find yourself with an injury, try not to move, especially with knee injuries as weight bearing on it can affect the rate and result of recovery, wait for a snowmobile if possible. Ice is better than heat with acute injury, and that will not be in short supply!

If you can do a few exercises ahead of your holiday, deep squats, sit ups, box jumps, trampolining and cycling are all great for preparing the right muscles.

Wobble boards are great at work or home and help to build the ankle muscles. If you board, rocking heel to toe is best. If you ski, rock side to side.

Finally, if you have difficulty turning on the slopes get a chiropractor to take a look at your posture, you may need some help. It might not be your technique but a problem with your structural alignment.

If you have any questions about posture or ski fitness, do give us a call at the clinic.

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