Part 1 of ‘Be Prepared For The Ski Slopes & Avoid Injuries’, covered what you need to do to avoid an injury whilst your snow skiing. If snowboarding is your passion, we have some hints that will help you to avoid injuries whilst you’re tearing up the slopes.
How your gear can prevent ski injuries
Checking your gear to see that it has been fitted and adjusted properly, helps it to perform at its optimum level, whilst also helping you to avoid an injury. The same theory applies to rental equipment. In particular, you should have the angle of the bindings set for your level of ability, but also to accommodate the available movement in your hips and knees. If you are a beginner setting your front foot a little more in line with the way you are moving can help to take the pressure off of your hip.
Angle your high backs to prevent knee pain
The other major adjustment is in the backs of the bindings which can be angled differently. In most cases having a slight forward, angle will encourage you to bend your knees a little more and give you a more sensitive feel to your heel and toe edge turns.
If you do get a lot of calf pain, reduce this angle a bit to take the pressure off of this muscle. At the end of the day, there are no absolute rules about the angle of the binding backs, but trial and error will help you to determine what is most comfortable for you.
Add inserts, foot beds or heel grips for snug-fitting boots
Snowboard boots are much more flexible than ski boots, however they still need to be fitted properly so that your foot and ankle are supported. This will help you to avoid a twisted or sprained ankle. Make sure that you’re wearing ski socks when you get your boots fitted, preferably by a boot fitter. If you do wear orthotics then make sure you take them with you to the fitting and see if you can insert them in your boot.
Wear the best socks you can get
People often think you can scrimp on cheap socks, but getting good fitting socks that won’t slide around your foot, means that your boots are more likely to stay snuggly fitted throughout the day. Some people like to wear two pairs of socks, but our experience is that this gives more options for your foot to slide around in your boot. Also, make sure that you get your boots fitted with the exact pair of socks you are going to wear on the slopes.
Do your boots up properly
You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t do their boots up correctly. You might be chafing at the bit to get onto the slopes but spending that little bit of extra time getting your boots done up is sooo important. Lacing systems vary, but attempt to get an even firm lace pressure over the whole foot. In particular, make sure that your laces are done up so that your heel doesn’t come up when you are walking. If that’s happening go back to the drawing board.
Other things that will help you to avoid an injury:
- Get the edges of your snowboard sharpened, this is because Aussie slopes can be icy and quite crowded, this means that you may need to stop quickly and your board needs to allow you to do this.
- Whilst you’re at your hotel, tighten your boots as tight as you can, when you get to the ski lift tighten them a little more.
- Wax your board prior to using it, this will help it to move through the snow so that it doesn’t get stuck in soft snow.
- Tighten the bindings that are on your board, as well as your binding back – they then won’t become loose, which will help you to stay stable on your board.
- Wear a helmet at all times, whilst you’re on the snow, you never know when an accident may happen! Something could occur even whilst you’re waiting in the lift line. If you like to wear a beanie for extra warmth, take it with you when you’re selecting a helmet.
- Layer your socks, it doesn’t give you as much control of your feet whilst you’re on the snowboard.
- Ride with your bindings too broad, you’ll find it harder to keep your knees bending over your toes, this results in knee pain.
Be prepared for your snowboarding trip!
Doing specific strengthening exercises before you begin snowboarding is important to make sure that your body performs at its optimum level at all times. Strengthening your lower limb muscles, as well as working on your core muscles and balance, will all be integral parts of any Ski specific program. Work on your balance particularly in the forward and backward plane.
Make sure you strengthen your arm muscles as well because no matter how good you are you will be pushing yourself off of the ground a lot.
Seeing a Physio who specialises in individualised exercise programs and understands the stresses of snowboarding, will help to enhance your experience whilst you’re on the slopes. You can make an appointment with one of our Physios at your closest practice.