Dr. Bell's Blog

Mayhem On The Slopes...

Photo by Karl Weatherly/DigitalVision / Getty Images
Photo by Karl Weatherly/DigitalVision / Getty Images

Albeit a bit late, winter has finally arrived in this part of the country.  With winter, comes many great snow sports, including skiing and snowboarding. They can be a whole lot of fun, but can also be dangerous and cause many serious injuries.  Recently I asked a good friend of mine, who works as a national ski patrol up in the Adirondack Mountains, what the biggest mistakes are that he see's people make which lead to a risk of injury.  Here are his top 5:

  • 5.  Skiing too fast for the conditions:  Know the conditions and adjust your speed and skiing accordingly.
  • 4. Overextending yourself: This includes trying to squeeze that one last run in at the end of a long day after you are already tired.  
  • 3. Not Using The Proper Equipment:  This can mean not having ski's that fit your height/weight, not wearing a helmet, or not wearing wrist guards (for snowboarding).
  • 2. Physical Conditioning:  Not being in well enough physical shape or having the right level of expertise to be skiing on the particular terrain they are on.
  • 1. Bad Luck:  Yep, that's right.  He said in most cases the accident/injuries that he see's are mostly of no fault to the person.  Just an accident. 

So if the majority of ski injuries are the result of pure accident, then what can we do to prepare our body for the physical nature of skiing?  First, as he mentioned, it is important to be in good physical shape.  Don't bite off more than you can chew.  Be sure to be active and physically fit before heading to the slopes.  Second, and this is where I come in, be sure your body is structurally sound.  Keeping your spine and nervous system strong and healthy will go a long way towards preparing your body for the physical abuse that can come with skiing and snowboarding.  Stay regular with your adjustments and you will notice far fewer injuries not just while skiing, but also in the rest of your life.

LIVE well.  BE well.