Ah, the joys of skiing! When you talk about getting an adrenaline rush, there’s but a handful of sports that can rival gliding through the snow with skis on your feet. You can’t get enough of it. Small wonder why skiing, along with snowboarding, is listed as one of the most popular winter sports in America. In 2017 alone, nearly 15 million skiers visited various slopes in the Land of the Brave. Even more astounding, there are 53.3 million ski visitors for that year alone.
But let’s not forget. Skiing has its downsides too. The story of seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and his serious accident while skiing in the French Alps is telling. Certainly, some risks have to be taken into account when enjoying the sport. Being able to protect yourself, therefore, is the first order of business. Such warning is most applicable to newcomers to the sport. When you focus only on the fun side of skiing, beginners tend to let their guard down. And that can invite serious consequences along the way.
Err on the Side of Safety
To put things in context, skiing is not the most dangerous sport in the world. That should be abundantly clear right from the get-go.
A study done by medical practitioners from California revealed that more people are injured by snowboarding than skiing. Data showed 49% of those injured in snowboarding were newbies. Only 18% of skiing accidents involved newbie skiers.
There were also more people injured with snowboarding. A study from the University of Utah showed there were 6.97 injuries associated with snowboarding per 1000 visits. While data for skiing showed there were but 0.9 per 1000 visits with skiing.
The types of injuries also differ. Snowboarding injuries tend to happen to the upper extremities of the body. We’re talking about the elbow, wrist, clavicle, and head. For skiers, it’s the knee ligament injuries that are more rampant.
To engage in skiing this winter means you need to be extra careful when it comes to your own personal safety. The fact is with the coronavirus still much a threat. You need to practice safety protocols when skiing. That includes making sure you’re at a safe distance from others always.
There are only about 500 ski resorts in America. Many of these resorts are in New York. As some of these resorts are set to open by November 2020, keeping in mind COVID-19 rules is paramount. That’s after seven months ago when these resorts were told to close.
Wear the Right Gear
You really can’t overemphasize the importance of the right gear in skiing. What you wear can greatly affect your safety when gliding at blinding speeds on the slopes. More often than not, inappropriate gear can increase your chances of getting into an accident.
Helmets or head protection is non-negotiable. You must wear one. Bindings and proper clothing are also highly recommended. When temperatures are freezing cold weather protection is vital.
It’s for this reason that Arcteryx skiing pants have come in handy in skiing. For one, these pants not only have great waterproof quality. Moreover, their ability to keep warmth inside ensures you won’t get your legs frozen while coming down the mountain.
Additionally, you should wear sunglasses when skiing. Not only does this protect you from the glare of the sun, but it also protects your eyes from whatever specks get thrown your way.
Watch Your Step
Again, it’s no accident many of the injuries in both snowboarding and skiing involved newcomers to the sports. When you’re so excited, you could become lax in observing safety procedures.
This is apparent in lift falls. According to the National Ski Areas Association, 86% of recorded lift fails have been traced to skier negligence. It is important then that you learn proper chairlift procedures.
Moreover, you must learn the baby steps first. Some slopes are meant for Olympic champions and slopes that are good for newbies. Learn to distinguish the difference.
Information is your best friend. This holds true for the kind of slope you are to tackle and the weather. You need to stay informed. When in doubt, always ask customer service in the resort. It’s better to delay a run than to be caught in a snowstorm.
Lastly, never ski alone. Skiing may not be basketball. But for sure, there is strength in numbers.
No doubt skiing is the most enjoyable sport. But risks come with the territory. Therefore, the best way to enjoy skiing is to put one’s safety first and foremost. When you do that, not only can you have all the fun in the world, but you also ensure you can do it over and over again.