Getting hurt while snowboarding is the worst! It puts a real bummer on the day. That’s why I believe snowboarding injury prevention is so important. Most injuries can be avoided if you snowboard responsibly.
All it takes is one lapse in judgement and you could end up seriously injured. If you get hurt, it’s going to affect everyone else you’re riding with for the day.
So, don’t be that guy–or gal!
Snowboarding Injury Prevention Tips
There are 3 key components to preventing injuries while snowboarding:
- Nutrition & Hydration
I’ll discuss each of these in more depth, but if you keep these things in mind you’ll reduce the amount of injuries you’ll experience during snowboarding.
Having the right mindset really comes down to taking on the responsibility to keep yourself and the crew you’re riding with safe. Whether you’re at a small resort or snowboarding in the backcountry, you’ll want to be mindful of your surroundings and to ride within your skill level.
I encourage you to push yourself to progress in your skills, but do it responsibly. If you push yourself to hard or snowboard carelessly you may end up in a dangerous situation where you are bound to get hurt.
A part of being a skilled snowboarder is about paying attention to your body as well as the terrain. Develop the awareness to focus and analyze the area in order to avoid injuries before they can happen.
Maintaining your fitness will help you avoid injuries as well as recover faster from bumps and bruises. You should be keeping your body in shape by toning your muscles and stretching your joints. It’s always smart to warm up with some stretches, which you can even do on snow before you strap on your board.
The more physically fit your body, the less susceptible you are to become fatigued. It takes a considerable amount of endurance to snowboard all day long. If you wear out your muscles you’re more likely to strain yourself or take a tumble because you’re exhausting yourself.
The best way to maintain your fitness is to follow an exercise and diet routine that can properly nourish your body. You want to focus on exercises that will improve your strength, endurance and conditioning.
Nutrition & Hydration
Finally, keeping yourself nourished and hydrated will help prevent injuries. By keeping yourself well-fed and drinking enough fluids you’ll find it gives you the energy to endure snowboarding.
Maintaining your energy levels will allow both your brain and body to react quickly. Eating proper meals will give your body the fuel it needs to burn energy for maintaining body heat. If you’re muscles get cold, they can become restrictive and you’ll be more prone to injury.
Why Do Snowboarding Injuries Happen?
The most common cause of injuries is due to carelessness. Most injuries will sneak up on you when you least expect it. And when you reflect back about how the injury occurred, you’ll realize it could have been avoided if you had been more aware.
The following items are the most likely cause of carelessness:
- Going too big off features (jumps, rails, boxes, drops etc.)
- Snowboarding without proper rest or hydration
- Using improper equipment
Remember to Style it Easy
There is an idea in the etiquette of terrain park riding to “style it easy”, which can be applied to snowboarding on all types of terrain.
The idea of “styling it easy” means a snowboarder will approach features with the mindset to only perform their most mastered tricks and manoeuvres.
Once you’ve confidently landed those tricks or pulled off those manoeuvres, you can then take another run and test more complex tricks afterwards.
This is essentially a controlled approach to snowboard progression and training.
Recognize when You’re Fatigued and Take a Rest
Another snowboarding injury prevention tip is to recognize when parts of your body are getting sore and fatigued.
If your feet are starting to hurt or your fingers have gotten too cold, it’s okay to stop and take a break. Whether that’s taking a short break on the side of a run or sitting down in the chalet to loosen your boots for a bit, it’s important to recognize when you need rest.
Wear the Right Gear
This should be a given, but make sure you’re wearing a snowboarding helmet. There are different types of safety gear available to snowboarders. Such as wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, impact shorts etc. If you’re frequently riding in the terrain park, it may not be a bad idea to wear some of these things underneath your snowboarding jacket and pants.
Besides safety gear, make sure all of your equipment fits properly.
Also keep in mind wearing the correct snowboarding goggle lens for the lighting conditions you’ll be riding in. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck with wearing goggle lens that make your visibility flat.
What if You have a Previous Injury that You’re Trying to Avoid Reinjuring?
If you snowboard or perform any other sports throughout your life, eventually you’re going to get injured. When that happens, you’ll want to be mindful of that part of your body because now it’s always prone to reinjury.
While snowboarding, you’re most likely to experience upper body injuries because your lower body is strapped to the board. Wrist injuries are very common, but so are elbows and shoulders.
This is because it’s natural to try to brace for falls with your arms. Normally you put your hands down, which impacts your wrists or shoulders.
The next most common injury is a head injury. You have to be diligent about head injuries because they can sneak up on you at anytime. Smacking your head can happen whether you’re in the terrain park or just out making turns.
Less common are knee and leg injuries, but they can still happening snowboarding.
You can invest in a brace to wear to help protect a previously injured extremity of your body.
There are braces for knees, shoulders, wrists, elbows and fingers etc.
Summary of my Snowboarding Injury Prevention Tips
Mindset – Safety should be a duty for yourself and your crew
Fitness – Keep your body in shape, snowboarding is an extreme sport after all
Nutrition & Hydration – Fuel your body with good meals and plenty of fluids for energy
Go too big – remember to style it easy!
Get Fatigued – know when to take a rest
Use Improper equipment – make sure everything fits and wear your helmet!