Top tips to staying safe on the mountain

13th September 2018 | by Crystal Ski Holidays

Skiing is an exhilarating and adrenaline-filled winter sport. But with all sports, there’s always a risk of getting hurt. However, with the right preparation, you’ll be soaring down the slopes with your family and friends, making some of the best memories of your life. That said, here are ten of our top tips on staying safe and healthy while out on the slopes.

Get fit for the slopes
Skiing all day, every day does require a certain level of endurance, balance and strength. Whether it’s your first time on the mountain, or you’re a proper seasoned skier, you’ll need to make sure you’re in tip-top shape before you hit the slopes – you’ll not only be able to make the most of valuable piste time, but will also help reduce the risk of injury, as well as next-day stiffness and muscle strains.

If you don’t have a gym membership, don’t worry – Slopercise  is here to help. This simple 3-step exercise plan can be done at home (or in the gym) and will have you working your glutes, thighs and arms to help tighten and tone the essential ski muscles.

Learn from a pro
Skiing lessons aren’t just for beginners. Tuition for all levels are available at dry slopes and indoor ski centres in the UK, as well as while you’re in resort. If you’re a complete newbie, lessons will help you find your feet on the snow, while if you’ve been out of action for a while, a bit of guidance will help you smooth out your bad habits and ensure the best technique possible.

Getting geared up 
If hiring equipment, make sure that the shop takes your weight, height and ski ability into account when it comes to fitting your skis and bindings. If your boots don’t feel comfortable, or your skis aren’t the right length, this may cause injuries –  if you’re unsure, always say.

On top of that, if you’ve got any old injuries that can be aggravated by skiing – knee injuries in particular – remember to wear a support or brace when on the slopes. This is because previous injuries may cause the joint is less stable than it used to be. If you’re concerned, perhaps consult your doctor before booking.

Helmets are also extremely important for winter sports as they protect the skull from fractures and impacts. They can, quite literally, be lifesavers.

Buy your own
Regular skiers may find it more beneficial to buy their own ski equipment rather than hiring it or borrowing from friends. This is because all your bindings and settings will be bespoke to your own needs, reducing the risk of injury by 800%. Plus, it saves time trying to find the perfect fit in the hire shop.

Don’t push yourself
As with every other sport, make sure you warm up before you set off – perhaps by walking and stretching. Once you’re on the slopes, start with some easy, gentle runs – to prepare yourself both physically and mentally – before moving onto more challenging runs.

Equally as important is to know your limits. Stick what you’re comfortable with and don’t try and take on a run that’s more advanced than your current ski ability just because you’re with people more experienced than you.

Lastly, make sure to take breaks. Accidents tend to happen when we’re tired, so if your muscles start to feel fatigued, find somewhere safe to sit down or head to the nearest mountain hut for a well-earned snack. If your body’s telling you to stop for the day, just stop – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Stick to the rules
The F.I.S Code of Conduct that governs the rules of the piste. Their guidelines on how skiers should behave ensure the safety of everyone on the slopes and include things like obeying signs, stopping at the sides of a run and what to do if there’s an accident.

The more the merrier
Don’t go off piste by yourself. With higher risks of avalanches, this advanced-style skiing can be more dangerous. If you really want to go, we recommend hiring an off-piste guide, as well as carrying the right equipment including a shovel, avalanche probe and an avalanche transceiver. Also check that your level of insurance covers off-piste skiing, as this may be a major factor in your decision.

Falling with style
Falling over really isn’t the worst thing in the world – actually, if you do it properly, it can stop you from getting hurt. By learning and practising how to fall, you can prevent shoulder, wrist and elbow injuries, which are cause by holding out your arms (a natural instinct) during a fall. Instead, when falling forward, you can soften the impact by bending the elbow in front of your chest and using the whole of your forearm to land on. For backward falls, twist your body so you land on the hip closest to the mountain. This absorbs as much impact in the torso and prevents injuries to your limbs.

Stick to these simple guidelines, and your trip to the mountains is bound to be stress-free, injury-free and full of memories to last a lifetime.