Skiing is a fun sport, but it’s also inherently dangerous. It takes less than two seconds to break your leg if you fall, and many slopes are dangerous – even for advanced skiers. Be safe this season by taking precautions so that you don’t end up sitting on the sidelines this year. Even if you’re being taught by an instructor, there are some things you can do before you even strap your skis on that will ensure you have a safe, fun, and exhilarating time out on the slopes.
Increase General Strength
Hit the gym. It might seem like an odd thing to do, but increasing your overall general strength is the first step to increasing your balance and stability on the slopes. In general, there are two exercises that will strengthen your legs, back, and help with balance and several exercises that will help with upper-body strength.
For strong legs and back, there is no substitute for the barbell squat. Another good exercise is the deadlift. Performed properly, both of these exercises are very safe, and will build incredible leg and back strength, which is necessary on the slopes. Additionally, the squat builds incredible stability and balance.
The barbell bench press builds impressive upper-body strength, and will help you when you’re twisting and turning down the hill.
Do Sport-Specific Training
In addition to general strength training, do sport-specific training or training that will carry over to skiing. You’ll need to build up your endurance by running, or using a row machine. You can also use a stationary bike to build up aerobic capacity. Finally, do some basic speed work out in the snow that will prepare you for sudden changes in direction that you’ll likely encounter while you’re skiing.
Stick To Slopes That Match Your Experience
Always ski on slopes that you’re familiar with or that match your experience level. Don’t ever try to be too ambitious when you’re tired or when it’s getting darker outside.
Use an Instructor
One of the best ways to prepare and be safe is to use an instructor. An instructor that is certified to teach will be able to give you his knowledge and experience as well as assisted runs down beginner slopes. You can also get invaluable tips and advice about the slopes you’ll be going down. Finally, an instructor is familiar with the types of safety gear that you’ll need – like a helmet, goggles, and protective clothing. He knows the latest trends, the best brands, the hype, and what really works. He also knows how to get the best value for your money.
Use All Protective Gear Recommended By Your Instructor
Never ski without using protective gear. It’s just not smart, and it dramatically increases the odds of you getting injured or suffering a more severe injury than you otherwise would have. And let’s face it, you don’t want to end your ski trip thinking about whether you could be entitled to a compensation claim.
Never Go Off-Piste
Never, ever, venture off-piste without a qualified guide. Once you’re outside the patrolled area, the risks are exponentially magnified. Some research shows that about only half of the people involved in an accident are carrying basic ski safety equipment. Even with equipment, it’s going to be difficult to find you if you become injured.
Callum Anderson has extensive experience as a ski instructor. He enjoys sharing his guidance and expertise through blogging.