We get it. It’s winter, snow is on the ground and you want to hit the slopes. So you’ve booked your Xplorco adventure to Breckenridge or Park City or really anywhere you can find skiing. But how can you be sure you’re ready for safe skiing when you get out there? Well, first, make sure you’re not going out there alone if you’re not ready for it. But beyond that, we’ve got some tips for you.
Eight Training and Equipment Tips For Safe Skiing
Core and Glutes Matter
Sue Kramer, author of “Be Fit to Ski: The Complete Guide to Alpine Skiing Fitness” recommends exercises such as planks and bridges to start and then leading up to movements with rotational components. Since skiing is so hard on your core, it’s important to work it to make sure you’re in good shape before you get out there. And when you’re focusing on your legs, don’t stop at the quads. Without hamstring strength on your direction changes, you can pull your knee right out of alignment. And then there’s your, well, upper hamstring, which we know as the butt. A strong one will help make you a better and safer skier.
Boost Your Heart Rate
Skiing is sort of like a High-Intensity Interval Training Workout where you work hard for a couple minutes and then recover. And then do it again. And again. Then keep doing it. So it’s important before actually skiing to work on getting your heart rate up for short bursts. Bill Fabrocini, a trainer of US Ski Team athletes has clients walk uphill between three and 10 degrees on a treadmill for two minutes at a time. He says it doesn’t matter how you elevate your heart rate, just that you do.
Impact Exercises Lead to Safe Skiing
There are a lot of exercises you can do to get your body ready to ski, and some of those include things as simple as jumping. But that said, you shouldn’t just start. If you’re not accustomed to the impact of it and just start, you’re likely to hurt yourself. Start with two-legged jumps and then work your way to one-legged in order to ease yourself into the exercise.
Improve Your Balance
Good balance will help to protect your knees, which are an area of impact during skiing. Kramer says that a simple yoga tree pose is a great place to start and then progress to simply standing on one foot for a minute then move on to one-legged squats and hops.
Don’t Be Proud, Take a Lesson
Even if you’ve skied before and you know you’re good, take another lesson before you get out there on your vacation. It’s a refresher course to help you get the most out of your time on the slopes. And if you’re a beginner, the reasons are obvious. A lesson lets you see a professional do it and try it with someone watching you closely to give you pointers on what you’re doing well already and what you need to fix.
Take Good Care of Your Gear
A long time ago, a mid-shaft tibia fracture was the most common ski injury. But now that’s pretty uncommon, which means that if that injury occurs, the odds are it’s because of poorly adjusted or maintained equipment. Make sure your bindings are professional set and be honest about how good you are.
Wear a Helmet
Unsurprisingly, helmets reduce the risk of head trauma. Jasper Shealy, professor emeritus of industrial and systems engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has a study showing that as helmet usage increased, potentially serious head injuries decreased from 4.2 percent of all ski injuries all the way down to 3 percent.
A small sample size study at the University of Denver’s Human Dynamics Laboratory showed tights actually reduce peak torque on a skier’s knees by 16 percent. It’s not just any tights. The ones that work are Opedix Duel-Tec 2.0 tights and are pretty expensive, but they actually do work. The tights were designed to give wearers “knee confidence.” They encourage joint alignment with bands of stiff fabric that wrap around the hips and knees, basically compression tights on steroids.
So get out on those slopes, have fun and come home safely, so you can take your next Xplorco vacation!
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