Tens of thousands of people enjoy skiing and snowboarding on an annual basis, and both are wonderful options for introducing the kids to the wild and wonderful world of outdoor winter sports. Of course, while the idea of free-sliding at top speeds down an icy hill sound freeing and fun, the reality can be dangerous and debilitating without taking the right precautions. According to the NSAA, serious injuries such as head trauma and other medically treatable issues occur for approximately 45 skiers or snowboarders per year. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to ensure you and your loved ones can fully enjoy the slopes while avoiding Michigan skiing or snowboarding accidents altogether.
Proper Training and Individualized Equipment
Sliding on boards at warp speed down powdered snow isn’t as simple as it looks. And unlike other sports, it’s neither safe nor easy to figure it out as you go or emulate your favorite pro. In fact, that sort of thinking leads to potentially permanent postponement of future slope activity. Proper instruction comes in handy here. Regardless of what age you begin your slope training, certified instructors can teach the importance of warming up and cooling down, and safe skiing or snowboarding techniques for your specific level and abilities. Also, since snowboarding and skiing equipment must be properly fitted to each participant, the right instructor can help ensure you’re in control of the equipment instead of the other way around.
Always Wear a Helmet and Goggles
Concussions are common in any high-impact sport and falling while shredding down a mountain at 50 MPH qualifies skiing and snowboarding as such. Only 48% of U.S. skiers and snowboarders use helmets on a regular basis, but doing so can cut the chance of potential injuries in half. Debris and sun glare can also cause visual problems which may lead to off-course exploration or serious injuries. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family while at the ski hill is to always make sure everyone wears a helmet and eye protection at the ski hill. Accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of their experience level.
Wear Proper Clothing for Outdoor Activity
Adrenaline kicks in quickly on the slopes, so it may feel as though you don’t need much in the way of outerwear. But chill sets in quickly, especially in the event of an accident or temporary standstill. The rule of thumb is to wear layers–three light layers to be precise. A base layer, middle layer, and outer layer will block wind and allow body heat to accumulate even on the coldest days. This also allows for adjustments or removal of layers when the temperatures rise or when the group retreats indoors.
Pay Attention to Caloric Intake and Hydration
Adults who hit the slopes can expect to burn between 300 and 800 calories per hour, depending on individual weight. Most skiers and snowboarders shred for several hours at a time, so keeping the body well fueled will ensure it functions properly during the activity. Proper hydration is just as important if not more so. The lowered outdoor temperatures may make it seem as though the body isn’t sweating, but it definitely is. Since dehydration and hypothermia share a strong medical link, drinking enough fluids on the slopes is an essential part of safety planning.
Avoid Going Solo
Regardless of your experience level or drive to hit the slopes, enlisting the buddy system is always the safest way to go. An extra person might slow you down, especially if their level doesn’t match yours, but the fun is often doubled as well. In a pair or group situation, there’s always backup at the push of a button or a ski hill away. So, any injuries sustained in a ski or snowboarding accident can be treated quickly and you can get right back to shredding. But hopefully, injuries will be avoided altogether by incorporating the above strategies for safe skiing and snowboarding. If you are hurt or injured while on the slopes, be sure to contact an experienced skiing or snowboarding accident attorney.