The first big snow of the winter season is a great excuse to hit the powdery slopes on your skis or favorite snowboard, but be aware that going unprepared can set you up for serious injuries – possibly fatal – that will keep you out of the snow game for the rest of the season. Before you pack your snow gear, keep the following safety tips in mind.
1. Train for your snow sport
Whether you are an avid cross country skier or prefer the rush of racing down the slope on a snowboard, start training specifically for your preferred snow sport weeks before the first snow fall. Specifically, train your lower body and core muscles, which are instrumental in keeping you upright and in control of your movements. This will also help protect your joints and ready your mind for the slopes.
2. Quality first
You don’t have to break the bank on good skiing or snowboarding gear, but opt for quality brands. In addition to skis and your snowboard, invest in attire that will keep you warm and dry and, for snowboarding, consider wrist gaurds and a helmet in case you wipe out. Consult with a snow sport specialist for the best gear at the best value.
3. Brush up on the basics.
A few years ago you may have been a hot dog on the snow, but getting a refresher lesson will help reinforce what you know but haven’t practiced in a while. You may even learn a few new tricks on the slopes.
4. Be a fair weather snow family.
Instead of heading to the snow during a white out snow storm or sub-freezing conditions, hold off until the weather is sunny and clear. This will not only reduce the risk of running into obstacles (or people) on the slopes, it also helps ensure you can keep an eye on your kids while they are out on their own.
5. Choose your run wisely.
Contact the local ski resort and find out when the slopes are least busy and go at those times. Crowded slopes increase the odds of an injury. In addition, avoid icy or off-limit areas, opting instead for packed powder slopes. Instruct your kids to stay in designated areas and set a meeting time or two to check in.