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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Injury Prevention - Winter Safety

Skiing & Snowboarding

Outdoor winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding are great forms of exercise and they are also a lot of fun. Although these are fun activities, they can be dangerous if you aren't careful.

While hockey hits have been getting a lot of attention in Canada, skiing and snowboarding injuries are more than twice as common, according to new data released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. In 2010–2011, there were 2,329 hospital admissions for a skiing or snowboarding fall or crash, compared with 1,114 hockey-related hospitalizations. Children younger than 10 were hospitalized most often for injuries related to skiing and snowboarding.  When looking at winter sports boys account for 81% of those hurt. (CIHI January 17, 2012)

The following safety tips will help skiers and snowboarders of all ages to decrease their risks of injury this winter and in winters to come.

  1. Wear a proper helmet that is specifically made for skiing or snowboarding. Make sure the helmet has a certification label on it so that you can be assured that it has been tested for safety and that it is approved for use. The front of your helmet should rest just above the eyebrows. Pads should be flush against you cheeks and forehead. The back of your helmet should not touch the nape of your neck. With the chinstrap fastened, your helmet should feel snug and comfortable. It should not create hot spots or pressure points on you head. Your goggles should fit comfortably in the face opening and the ear wells should be in line with your ears. For further information see Parachute Canada.

  2. Choose proper fitting equipment. You can have equipment adjusted at most local sports stores.

  3. Dress in layers. This will allow you to alter your temperature level throughout the day.

  4. Wear the proper clothing. This includes gloves, scarves (tucked in) hats, helmets, waterproof jackets and pants, long underwear, and sweaters. Jeans are not recommended, as they will not keep you warm and dry if you get them wet.

  5. Use goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from wind, snow, and ice. Make sure that they protect against UVA and UVB radiation. Goggles and sunglasses will also help to protect your eyes from the glare off of the snow and ice, helping you to see better.

  6. Bring an SPF lip balm and sunscreen for your face. They will need protection from the wind and sun. Remember, just because it is cold, doesn't mean you can't get a sunburn!

  7. If you are a beginner, take a lesson from a trained professional before attempting to ski or snowboard on you own. Learning the basics can give you valuable knowledge that will help to protect you against injuries and falls.

  8. Know your limits! If you are unsure about a certain hill, don't risk trying it. Build up your skills gradually and only do what you feel safe and confidant doing! It is also a good idea to have a friend watch you when you are trying something new. That way, if something does go wrong, your friend will be able to get help immediately.

  9. Take a break if you feel tired.

  10. Watch out for obstacles such as jumps, barriers, and other skiers and snowboarders. Make sure you wear bright clothing, so that other people can see you!

  11. Do not venture off of the marked trails. These areas are not safe and are not monitored by ski patrollers.



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