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Staying Safe On The Slopes


Skier in action

Ski accidents aren’t half as common as they used to be due to a combination of safer equipment, better guidelines and improved skier and snowboarder awareness. Too often though relatively inexperienced skiers develop a reasonable snowplough and venture off onto all sorts of runs without knowing basic safety recommendations or the actual risks the slopes can pose. We’ll go through some basic recommendations to keep you safe this season.

The FIS code of conduct

The FIS code of conduct is a series of rules determined by the international ski federation which apply to all skiers and snowboarders. Each skier and snowboarder who takes to the slopes is expected to comply with these rules whether they know about them or not. Specific rules like how to choose a route, how to set off if you’ve stopped and how you should stop on a slope are included. According the FIS every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist at an accident and if they witness an accident they much exchange names and addresses with all involved parties.

Avoiding Injury

Ski injuries have decreased by about 50% since records began in the 1970s most likely due to advancements in equipment, and according to only 2 injuries occur per every thousand skier each day, not as much as people may think. Of course statistics can be misleading and a lot of skiers will be familiar with minor aches and pains after skiing. The most common type of injury suffered by alpine skiers is a knee injury, normally in the form a ligament sprain. It makes sense, since knees are put under a reasonable amount of stress when skiing. There are various dry-land exercises you can undertake to try and strengthen your knees as recommended by The Guardian.

When you’re out on the slopes there are various ways you can decrease injury risk. Incorrect binding adjustments are the main cause of injury for skiers. The DIN setting is established by the age, ability, height and weight of the skier and an overworked ski technician can sometimes make mistakes. Never lie or estimate these details; it could take you off the slopes. It’s also an idea to do some research or talk to a few experts before you head out (pop into a ski shop at a quiet time and they’ll be able to chat to you about it) so you know what your DIN setting should be.

Follow the FIS code of conduct, ski according to your ability and check your equipment is safe and that’s absolutely no reason you’ll have anything other than an incident-free adrenaline fuelled ski holiday.

Steve Canning

Clinical Director & Senior Physiotherapist

Steve is the Clinical Director and a Senior Physiotherapist at the White House clinic and has worked at the clinic since 2005. He qualified with a BSc in Physiotherapy from Sheffield Hallam University in 2002.

Steve Canning

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