Here are eight tips that can potentially save your life, or at the very least, keep you out of the ER.
- Use the proper equipment for your activity
Having the right equipment is essential to your safety. Make sure the equipment you use is appropriate for your skill level.
- Always wear a helmet
Using a helmet reduces the likelihood of a serious head injury by up to 50 percent. Helmets are made to protect your head from serious injury. Wear one the entire time you’re on the snow – you never know when you’ll need it.
- Ski or board at your level and on the trails that are appropriate for you
“The best way to stay safe is to make sure you choose trails and activities suited to your skill level,” said Brad Morris, NP, a clinician with Intermountain Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Program. “Don’t try something that’s out of your skill level and experience. Over time you will naturally be able to do more. There’s no need to rush into a dangerous activity, especially if you have little exposure to it.”
- Be prepared if you choose to go out of bounds or venture out in the backcountry|
If you are headed off to the backcountry this season, remember to stay alert for signs of danger. Avalanches, wild animals, extreme weather conditions and unfamiliar terrain all present threats. Know where you’re going and tell someone how long you’ll be gone in case of an incident, advises Morris.
- Wear the proper clothing
It’s best to wear layers so you can put on or take off clothing as needed. Make sure to have what you need before you head to the slopes. A general rule of thumb is to wear at least three layers of clothing—a base layer, a second layer and an outer layer.
- Wear goggles
Goggles provide more than just great UV protection, but also protect the eyes from impact injuries. The best eye protection fits snug around your head without becoming uncomfortable over long periods of time and doesn’t move when you do. When you’re purchasing goggles, try them on to see if they’ll fit well and adjust as needed.
- Stay hydrated and eat often
This may seem like a basic tip for almost any prolonged activity, but it’s an important tip to remember. When you’re skiing and boarding, your caloric intake should be a little more than normal and your water intake should be increased as well. You are burning a lot of calories and need extra food and water to keep you at the top of your game, says Morris.
- Use the buddy system
“Choose someone to be your buddy while you ski and snowboard,” advises Morris. “With a buddy, you can watch out for each other. If you do happen to get injured, they’ll notice and be able to find help.”
The National Ski Areas Association has great information and programs on how you can protect yourself when you hit the slopes this year. Stay safe this season and remember to have fun.