Guide to Skiing – Ski Safety
In this installment of our guide to skiing we look at ski safety…
Though skiing has a relatively low injury rate when compared to other recreational activities, thousands of skiers are still hurt every year. The nature of it means that you’ll always be at a degree of risk, but there are things that you can do to minimize the risk of sustaining an injury.
Check that you have all the necessary equipment, and that it’s in good, working condition, and that you’re wearing the appropriate attire. Remember that your boots, your bindings and your skis should all be tailored for you – your weight and height, as well as your expertise level – and have them checked out by someone at a certified ski shop before using them again after any prolonged period where they have not been in use. Your clothing must be wind and water resistant and should keep you adequately warm (your head, hands and feet being particularly susceptible to the cold).
Ensure that you know how to ski and feel confident doing so. While family and friends may know what they’re talking about, it’s a better idea to learn from a certified ski instructor. Improving your technique and skill lessens the chances that you’ll make a mistake that will result in injury. Research has proved that those who take more ski lessons are less at risk of injury than those who have taken fewer lessons.
Ski only at a speed which is safe (in relation to your ability and experience, the number of skiers around you, the condition of the slope and the weather conditions), don’t make any rash or unpredictable maneuvers, and never stop unnecessarily. Just as with traffic, you must obey all the posted signs on the slopes, especially those posted at the top and bottom and where slopes merge, and if you end up on a slope that makes you question your safety, don’t attempt to ski it, rather side-step down it with your skis on.
Prepare yourself physically for skiing by engaging in a strengthening and conditioning program months in advance of your trip. Focus on aerobic training but complement it with some weight training also. You will not be able to ski for very long without succumbing to fatigue if you are not well-conditioned and physically fit. It is dangerous to ski when you are tired, so frequent rest breaks are important, as is knowing your own physical limits.
When you stop for a rest break, make sure you rehydrate yourself and that you reapply your sunscreen. Drinking enough water is critical to avoid nausea, fainting and altitude sickness, and sunburn is more likely at high altitudes so use a sunscreen with a 30+ factor even on cloudy days.
Want to know more? Click here to continue reading our guide to skiing: Learn To Ski
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