How to Avoid the ER on Your Next Ski Trip

January 21, 2022
How to Avoid the ER on Your Next Ski Trip

Stay injury-free out on the slopes with these 5 tips.

Participating in winter sports is a great way to stay fit while having fun with family and friends. But skiing, snowboarding and ice skating account for thousands of emergency room visits a year, so it's important to know how to do it safely.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, many winter sports injuries can be prevented simply by staying alert and stopping to rest when you feel tired. Being in good physical condition before you go can also help reduce the chance that you'll get injured.

With a little common sense, as well as our winter sports safety guide, you can avoid many of the mishaps that lead to sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations.

These 5 tips will make it less likely that your day of skiing, snowboarding or ice skating ends with a trip to the ER:

  1. Warm up. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more vulnerable to injury, so get your body warmed up by doing 10 minutes of physical activity before heading out on the slopes or the rink.
  2. Gear up. Wear appropriate protective gear for the sport, such as goggles, helmets, gloves and padding. Choose footwear that provides adequate ankle support. Also make sure all equipment is working properly and fits well before getting started.
  3. Take a lesson. Taking lessons from a qualified instructor can help you perform better. More importantly, you'll learn how to fall correctly so you're less likely to get hurt on the way down.
  4. Pay attention. Make sure you know and abide by the rules of the sport and are aware of posted weather or safety warnings.
  5. Listen to your body. Slow down or stop when you are in pain or are tired. Many injuries take place at the end of the day when you are most fatigued.

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Date Last Reviewed: October 13, 2017

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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