Don’t you know which clothes even fit me?
pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: these punk boys were never really sure whether they were coming or going.
The best advice I have for ending your ski holidays injury free is to start it with good ski clothes and be relatively fit. For many of us, going skiing comes at a really bad time of year as far as fitness is concerned. We’ve spent a couple of dark winter months in big jumpers eating comfort food, followed by a festive season of excess – excess food, excess drink, excess TV; not the preparation I’d recommend.
You may be thinking it’s May, what do I need to start thinking about avoiding ski injury for? Well given that the global pandemic has kept most of us inside for much of the Spring, our fitness levels are probably worse than usual. So even if it isn’t for ski injury prevention, there is no harm in getting a bit fitter and healthier.
Safety on the Ski Slopes
Increase your safety on the slopes by fulfilling these five simple tasks:
Swap your Sofa for a Yoga Mat.
To ski well you need good flexibility and balance, yoga is the perfect exercise to help with this. Advanced Yoga for Dummies; a 40 to 50 minute practise, containing the daily dozen, done every day for about a month will really improve your overall fitness and help prepare your body for your ski holidays.
Skiing is a Winter sport, might sound obvious, but this means it is usually cold! Cold muscles equals vulnerable muscles. Go through your wardrobe and check out your ski clothing: you may think you only wear most of it once a year, so it should last a lifetime – it doesn’t!
- Socks – Invest in three pairs of proper, good quality ski socks for six day ski holidays, alternating them each day. I went for Icebreaker socks this year and have no regrets; I have never once had cold toes.
- Gloves – If you are prone to cold fingers it may be that your core temperature is too low; more on that in a tick, but you should still ensure you have good gloves. I find mittens better than gloves and always ski with a pair of silk liner gloves too. The silk liner has fantastic wicking properties and keeps my hands and gloves dry.
- Layering – Two or three thinner layers are better that one thick one. I usually start with Under Armour or Skins, followed by a Merino mid-layer followed by my ski jacket. The compression base layer like Skins is designed to support muscles and improve blood circulation. Merino is soft, has excellent wicking, is lightweight and doesn’t smell! A ski-jacket with plenty of pockets is a must.
Service Your Boots and Skis.
If you have your own skis, get them serviced by someone who knows what they are doing – don’t think candle wax applied with your mum’s iron and is going to do! Check the fit of your boots, with your ski socks on, your feet may have changed shape, your boots may have altered; even without buying new boots it is possible to make your ski boots fit snugly again with good insoles.
Put a Lid On It.
It is now a very rare sight to see a skier or boarder without a helmet, if you haven’t skied for several years you may not have a helmet – get one. Make sure it is not damaged, fits well and that you wear it every day!
Get the Knowledge.
Spend some time studying the piste map of the ski resort you are going to. If you know where the blue, red and black runs are it can help make sure you ski within the limits of your group. I have lost count of the times I’ve seen adults coaxing small children down black runs; the children are snow ploughing, crying and generally having a miserable time; I’m guessing the parents are too!
Ski Injury Can be Costly, Believe Me!
Whilst not strictly a safety tip, my bonus task is to make sure you have adequate insurance that includes ski cover. You may have some cover with your home insurance or credit card provider or you may have an annual travel policy, but check the small print The worst might happen; getting air lifted off the mountain is costly, international medical costs can be steep and repatriation home could test your credit card to its limits.
All done; now you can enjoy your ski holiday to the full.
If you’re getting in the mood, you can try lots of other ski fitness workouts too.