Compared to rugby or other contact sports, recreational skiing or snowboarding is a safe recreational/competitive sport, however accidents do happen often out of the skiers/ boarders control.
Depending on whether you’re a snow boarder or skier the injury statistics of body areas more vulnerable are different:
Risk of injury 0.2-0.4%
With Skiers the knee joint accounts approximately 1/3 of total skiing injuries, the MCL, ACL and meniscus all being structures that are often if not all involved. The other most common injury areas for Skiers are shoulder and minor head injuries.
Beginner to low intermediate skiers are more vulnerable to injury due to the tuition of the ‘snowplow’. This places particular stress on the medial collateral ligament and requires quadriceps strength in order to turn and maintain stability, particularly when a wider – more unstable – stance is adopted . With the skis held as wide as this, its difficult to apply full muscular control down each leg and therefore control of one or more ski can easily be lost and the ski usually ends up twisting the lower leg outwards relative to the thigh.
Progressing from snow plough to parallel there is continued risk of then you going to fast for your ability and losing the control to stop, potentially causing a collision.
The experienced skiers are at a lot less risk, but collision or injury could be a lot more severe due to speeds and going off piste and coming across trees, roots or rocks.
Statistics show that you’re at slightly more risk of injury but only at 0.6%
Most common injuries in snowboarders are wrists/ shoulder, having a fall on an outstretched wrist or fall onto the upper limb, followed by head and then lower limb.
Again beginners are more susceptible to injury as they are more likely to fall and have to catch themselves.
Don’t lean back when facing up the hill, you’ll have a hard smack as you’ll be going down the hill and likely to bang your head hard. (Not much fun from personal experience).
As my colleagues Liam and Faye have already mentioned it is vital to make sure your get yourself in the gym and do some pre-skiing fitness and injury prevention with cardiovascular fitness, core strengthening and balance.
Don’t skip professional instruction if you’re a beginner. As a beginner you’re more vulnerable and bad habits can easily be picked up.
Proper fitting of ski equipment, don’t lie about your ability level as this can affect your binding, giving an end result of whether your ski comes off or not, therefore may or may not be a reason for injury.
Warm up and cool down. Don’t be afraid stretch out your hamstrings, quads, hips and calves. Stretches should be held for 30-40 seconds (It feels like forever).
Rest when you’re tired. Enjoy a long lunch.
Avoid too much alcohol. We all like a drink to warm us up half way through the day or the infamous après ski, but just remember it can increase you imagination for invincibleness and change your perception whist skiing/boarding.
Never go off piste alone
Wear a helmet.Boarder
If in a fall try and keep arms tucked in and fist clenched to try and avoid a wrist of shoulder injury.
Don’t jump out of your ability as spinal injuries are more likely to happen
Note: If you have an ankle injury whilst boarding and sever pain for more than 7-10 days get a re-assessment to make sure there is no fracture to your talus as this can be common and often missed.
Wear wrist guards.
Test heel and toe release of your binding
Don’t put hands through ski pole straps
Prevent ACL injury by:
Not standing up whist still moving
Not leaning back on your skis
Not recovering an inevitable fall
If jumping not landing with your legs straight, Always make sure they’re bent