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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ski and snowboard safety


If there's one consolation for an early start to winter, it's the prospect of having a longer ski and snowboard season. As with all forms of physical activity, a little bit of planning and preparedness can make for a much more enjoyable time. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your time on the slopes.

Before you go...
  • Be sure that you're in shape, and be realistic about what you can and can't handle. Try to resist the urge to make skiing your primary vehicle for weight loss—you'll end up overexerting yourself that way.
  • Have the right gear. Proper fits and sizes are key here. You don't necessarily need to spend a great deal of money to achieve this. If you don't ski regularly, then consider renting what you need.
  • Stay warm, and stay dry. Look for clothing that are resistant to water and wind, and remember to wear a hat and gloves. Additionally, dressing in layers will help you to maintain just the right body temperature.
  • Mind your eyes. Snow blindness is a terrible way to ruin your excursion, so make sure you're wearing protective eyewear.
  • Despite the cold, don't underestimate the likelihood of sunburn. Protect exposed skin accordingly.

Once you're there...
  • If you're inexperienced, get help from the pros and take a lesson. You'll enjoy yourself more when you know what you're doing, and will minimize the chances of injury that way too.
  • Stay focused. The best way to make safe decisions is to have your wits about you. As with driving, decisions made during snowboarding and skiing need to be done quickly; you won't be able to achieve this in a distracted state.
  • Stay hydrated. This will help make sure your mind is working as it should.
  • Engage in a physical warm up before you actually start skiing.
  • Don't wait until you're tired to stop.
  • Learn about the various types of snow (hard, wet, etc) and how they alter your speed on the slopes. Adjust your movements accordingly in order to maintain control.
  • If you find yourself on a slope that's too difficult, keep your skiis on and side step down the slope.
  • Remember that people ahead of you have the right of way.
  • Only stop where it is clear and safe to do so (where you won't be in someone else's way).
  • Know how to use the lifts.
  • Obey signs.

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