The snow has fallen, the lifts are running, and the stoke is high. The last thing on anyone’s mind is a season-ending injury. As skiers and riders, we dream of epic pow lines, stomped landings, and endless ski days. However, risks are inevitable when partaking in any extreme sport. It is crucial to physically prepare yourself for the season to reduce the likelihood of a serious injury.
A recent study completed in New Zealand found that for every 1000 skiers, there are 3.14 injuries. Among those injuries, the most common are knee ligament strains and tears, back injuries, wrist fractures, and skier’s thumb. While skiers are at a higher risk of knee injuries, snowboarders are more likely to injure an upper limb such as a shoulder or wrist.
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament) are found to be the most at risk of tearing while skiing. The ACL acts to ensure the shin doesn’t move too far forward, while the MCL prevents the knee from bending inward. If pressure is placed on either leg at an unnatural angle, both ligaments are at risk of tearing. It has also been found that 10% of ski injuries come from skier’s thumb, which is caused by a ski pole bending a thumb too far forward.
As an athlete, injury prevention is a top priority. It is crucial to properly prepare for the upcoming season by focusing on strengthening exercises, stretching, and overall fitness. Be sure to set aside time every morning to properly stretch and warm-up. On top of that, it is important to have the right equipment and be aware of your surroundings when on the hill.
Injury is inevitable as an athlete. Take the time to stretch, educate, and prepare yourself to lessen the likelihood of your epic season getting cut too short!