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The New Year period is a popular one for enjoying skiing holidays. Should you incur injuries from a skiing accident, here at Highgate Private Hospital, we have a dedicated Snow Sport Injury Clinic to help restore you to good physical shape. However, as the common mantra goes, prevention is better than cure - and, for that reason, here are ten ways in which you can make your skiing endeavours safer.
Skiing or snowboarding is rigorous exercise, so don't underestimate how much it could tire you. Irrespective of your experience, select runs carefully and gradually build up to more challenging trails. Many injuries happen at the end of the day when you are more tired, but these can be prevented if you stop when you feel tired. You may wish to take some preparatory or refresher lessons before you hit the slopes to get you ready.
The temperature on mountains can vary widely across the day and from peak to valley. Wear several layers of light, loose water and wind resistant clothing to give you warmth and protection and allow you to adjust to the changing climates.
As skiing or boarding is typically an occasional event you will likely rent equipment from ski shops. Try to buy or rent boots and bindings that have been set, adjusted, maintained and tested by a ski shop to the local national standards. Check that the binding of each ski is properly adjusted for your height, weight and skiing ability.
Many injuries happen when getting on or off a ski lift, so take extra care when riding them and especially when getting on and off. Make sure that the lift's bar is entirely lowered while you are riding, keep your skis from getting in the mechanism's way, and when getting off ensure that everyone sharing is ready to avoid crossing paths.
It may be surprising to think that you can get dehydrated on the slopes, but several factors like the thin air at high altitude, sunlight and continuous exercise actually increase the chance of dehydration. Even mild levels of dehydration can affect your physical ability, and in turn increasing your risk of injury. Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic) before, during and after skiing.
It's good practice to pay attention to the incoming weather report because an unexpected down pour of snow or fog can seriously hamper your ability to see ahead, increasing your danger of hitting trees or other skiers. Also, don't make the mistake of assuming that these dangers won't be serious with slopes that you are familiar with.
The risk of falling will be much higher when icy patches have formed on the slopes. These patches can easily emerge should the snow compact particularly at the end of a long day. So, if you lack confidence with skiing on ice, consider giving icy slopes a wide berth.
Faster skiing is more likely to lead to an accident. Make sure you only ski at a speed that is safe for you, and the people around you. It is also worth checking if particular speed limits apply for any slopes at your resort.
Skiing on an unmarked trail could put you at risk of getting lost or injured. Safe routes are marked to ensure your safety, and you are urged to stick to them. Also, keep in mind that your insurance may not cover you for accidents that occur beyond resort boundaries.
Before embarking on your holiday, check that your travel insurance includes additional winter sports cover and read through the T&Cs. And if you don’t have travel insurance, book it now. For large groups or families travelling together, remind everyone to check/book their coverage prior to leaving.
For more information or to book into our Snow Sport Injury Clinic, visit: https://www.highgatehospital.co.uk/snowsportinjuryclinic/