When to take Breaks on the Slopes

when to take a break from skiing

It’s true only a few sports can match the speed, agility, exhilaration and adventure of skiing or snowboarding. Gliding down a mountain through virgin powder at more than 40 mph with the sun glistening on surrounding snow covered peaks, all topped with a clear blue sky and the wind whistling through your helmet, has got to be one of the most incredible feelings one could only experience on the slopes. There is literally nothing to compare to the exhilaration you’ll feel when gliding over fresh snow. Skiing means you can leave your worries at home and just concentrate on having a good time on the slopes, because everyone else is too!

But – as with most adventure sports – skiing can be risky too, especially if the appropriate precautions aren’t taken. Trying to balance whilst sliding down a mountain isn’t easy. The ultimate speed of skiing combined with the mountainous terrains means this extreme sport demands to be taken seriously if accidents are to be avoided. Of course, there’s nothing better than finding and exploring new terrain that is just waiting for you to explore. But that’s not it. You’ve got ways to go before you can get to that point.

Skiing and snowboarding are the kind of sports that can seem like one of the best sports to experience one moment, then a potential death trap the next. Yes, it’s challenging to master in the initial stages. If you’re not well-balanced, it is more likely that you’ll fall – but stick with it. Once you grasp the basics, the learning curve gets so much easier and you could soon be charging the mountain sideways. For experienced skiers or snowboarders, the sport opens up a new world of possibilities. It can turn familiar slopes into new adventurous playgrounds, giving you a new perspective on playing in the mountains.

However, you’ll want to remember a few things first before hitting the slopes. This isn’t meant to intimidate you, but rather to make your first few times on the slopes more safe and enjoyable. Regardless of whether you have lots of experience in skiing or snowboarding or none at all, you can’t rush into either. It’s a different sport altogether and takes time to master. Once you hit that breakthrough point, things start to move very quickly in a positive direction. But first things first; every now and then you should take regular breaks on the slopes and let your body relax to avoid these common mistakes:

Collisions – It’s essential to be constantly aware of your immediate surroundings. The better the skier the more time he/she gets to glance around. Take regular breaks on the slopes while skiing to better familiarize with your surroundings. The biggest single cause of collision the slopes is skiing out of control. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects because people ahead of you have the right of way, so it’s our responsibility to avoid them. Remember that a snowboarder follows the different line down the mountain from a skier and may be blind to you on the turn.

collision-when-skiing

Not Being in Shape – Skiing or snowboarding is a very physically demanding sport. From the outside, it may look like you’re just gliding down a slope, but in reality, you use almost every muscle group in your body to shift weight, turn, stop, and balance. It’s important to have some level of strength and endurance built up before hitting the slopes. So take ample time to review your physical well-being before spending time on the slopes.

Incorrect Bindings – Incorrectly adjusted bindings account for most leg and knee injuries while skiing. Skis are designed to release when a certain amount of pressure has been exerted upon them, but the incorrect configuration can lead to all sorts of accidents. To avoid these, make sure you get your equipment checked by a seasoned professional in a reputable ski shop. Release or DIN settings should be calculated based on an equation that takes into account your height, age, weight, and skiing ability. So make sure you double check your equipment before heading the terrain.

Not Dressed for the Weather – Always take breaks while skiing to check your clothing. While most people wrap up when skiing, it’s still important to bear in mind the volatility of weather in the mountains where the temperature can easily drop by from sunny conditions to below freezing temperatures. This can make a big difference to your core temperature. For the same reason, always bring more layers than you usually need. It’s better to be prepared, even if you don’t end up using them and always put an extra layer in case you need one. Make sure to take regular breaks to keep your overall temperature nice and toasty. Perhaps a visit to the restaurant for a coffee would help.

Off-piste Skiing – Despite all the warnings, skiers regularly venture away from the runs without any help or guide. Doing so in stable snow conditions may not be too risky, however, in early snow, you need to watch out for tree stumps and rocks. Never go off-piste without full safety gear. Ski in crevassed glacial terrain without a guide is to court disaster. Knowing what to do in an avalanche takes an enormous amount of preparation and it’s always a good idea to familiarize with the guidelines and warnings before hitting the slopes.

dangerous-skiing

Get caught in an Avalanche – Take regular breaks every now and then to check your gear. There’s absolutely no point in carrying all that expensive stuff if you can’t use them. And the best way to survive an avalanche is not to get caught in one. If you are, try to traverse out of its path. Always wear an avalanche transceiver if you plan to ski off-piste – it emits an electronic signal that will help rescuers to locate you beneath the snow.

Stance – Learning to stand up, turn and stop when necessary are all you need to be able to do to enjoy yourself on the slopes. The way you stand on skis has a great impact on the likelihood of you falling over when you start sliding. If your feet are shoulder width apart you have a better base of support than if your feet are next to each other. The most stable position while skiing is to have your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing inwards and heels apart. Take necessary breaks while skiing to check on your stance because the position gives you a solid base, even on the move. This will keep you from losing balance and falling down the slope or getting hurt on the slopes.

Follow the advice above and you’ll be giving yourself a much better chance of avoiding an injury. After all, it’s important to have all the important things in place before hitting the slopes to ensure a great trip. The mountains are beautiful and magical places to be but can be inhospitable in bad weather. So prepare in advance and stay safe out there.

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