Can you believe we are already mid-way through fall? Next thing you know snow will be falling – in some parts of BC it’s already started! Time to hit the slopes. Whether skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing, slope sports are a blast, a great way to stay active and challenge yourself. Here are a few ways to have fun, stay safe and keep things from going “downhill” this winter:
- Becoming and staying fit: Being active on a regular basis will benefit you. A good aerobic base will give you more stamina (so you won’t get tired as fast) for snowboarding and skiing. For snowshoeing and cross country skiing, good aerobic capacity is the foundation and will grow as you practise. I recommend strength and balance training. Strong muscles help prevent injuries, and who doesn’t like being strong? Balance training will keep you on your skis vs. on or in the snow!
- Progression: I love the downhill slope difficulty symbols. Green circles are for beginners, blue squares for intermediates, and single or double black diamonds are for well-seasoned skiers and boarders. Even if you don’t consider yourself a beginner or intermediate level, it’s good to do a few runs on easier trails to start off before going down those black diamonds.
- Lessons: For beginners, I cannot stress enough the value of a few lessons. You will learn the correct techniques, receive feedback and have a better experience. Even if you’ve been skiing or snowboarding for a while, you can benefit from an advanced lesson. It’s always good to have an instructor review your technique and offer suggestions.
- Tune-up: Get rid of the storage wax on your equipment (if you’ve put some on) and put on a fresh layer of base wax. If needed, get the steel edges sharpened and check your bindings to make sure all the bolts are on tight.
Although helmets are not always mandatory, you can help prevent serious head injury and reduce the likelihood of concussion by wearing one. Most people wear helmets nowadays for downhill skiing and snowboarding, it’s just the logical choice. Find out how to prevent and manage concussions for yourself or for your kids using the Concussion Awareness Training Tool.
Enjoy yourself on the slopes this season! What’s your favourite snow sport?
Ski Canada: Safety on the Slopes
SportsMed BC: Alpine Skiing Injury Prevention Strategies for Youth and Children