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Skiing and Snowboarding Safety: 10 Tips to Avoid Injuries

Skiing and Snowboarding Safety: 10 Tips to Avoid Injuries

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reports that about 45 skiers and snowboarders suffer serious injuries per year, while about 42 skiers and snowboarders are involved in fatal accidents. While that number is relatively low and skiing and snowboarding are generally safe activities, these tips will help the reader avoid both serious and minor injuries for the best experience on the slopes possible:

1. Invest in proper equipment
The use of ill-fitting gear is a sure way to end up with an injury. Skill level, riding style, and weight are all things to keep in mind when buying skiing and snowboarding equipment. Boots are the most important piece of equipment: make sure they fit properly, they’re comfortable, and the bindings are adjusted correctly before going down any slopes.

2. Wear a helmet
According to the NSAA, the use of a helmet reduces the chances of suffering a head injury while skiing by up to 50 percent. Wear a helmet designed for skiing and snowboarding, not for another sport like biking or skating. Make sure the straps are adjusted and the helmet is a snug, comfortable fit.

3. Wear eye protection
Vision is an essential tool needed to stay safe while skiing and snowboarding. Since snow is reflective, there’s a high risk of UV damage to the eyes, which can lead to a temporary loss of vision known as “snow blindness.” Wraparound goggles with tinted sunglass lenses are a good choice.

4. Take lessons
Lessons are great for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Beginners can learn the basics as well as how to ski or snowboard safely while avoiding injury. Lessons are useful for the intermediate and experts, too: they can learn more advanced skills while brushing up on old ones.

5. Take a warm-up run
Preparing beforehand with a warm-up run loosens muscles and increases circulation, reducing the chances of injury on the slopes. Warming up also helps skiers and snowboarders remember basics like stance and balance, which is especially important when skills have gotten rusty following warmer seasons.

6. Don’t go alone
It’s best to go skiing and snowboarding in pairs or in a group. Having at least one extra set of eyes makes it easier to notice hazards that one person might miss. In addition, if one person is injured, they may not be able to get help, whereas a partner or group can get help right away.

7. Know personal limits
A skier or snowboarder should never let their pride allow them to tackle a slope that’s too difficult for their skill level. If in doubt, go down an easier slope or take a lesson. It’s best to know the limits of one’s body: when feeling fatigued, take a break or call it a day.

8. Mind other skiers and snowboarders
It’s not simply a matter of courtesy: minding others on the slopes can mean the difference between being safe and being seriously injured or injuring someone else. Skiers and snowboarders downhill have the right of way unless they aren’t moving. When starting out or merging into a run, check uphill and yield. Only stop when and where it’s safe to do so.

9. Don’t drink and ski/snowboard
Alcohol reduces the brain’s ability to focus on tasks and react quickly to danger, two skills that are vital to being safe while skiing and snowboarding. Drinking also reduces inhibition, meaning that a person may take dangerous risks they wouldn’t take while sober.

10. Respect park rules

Before going down any run, it’s a good idea to review the park’s rules and regulations, which should be posted for everyone entering the park to read. Pay attention to signs, including skill level signs and signs that mark intersections. Never go into closed-off areas. Park rangers can also answer any additional questions about the park and its rules.

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