7 tips on how to avoid skiing accidents
If you only go on a week-long ski holiday every year, you want to make the most of the time. However, this also means that you haven’t skied for a year and may want to take skiing accident precautions to avoid accidents on the mountain. About 40,000 people in Germany alone have a skiing accident every year.
Most accidents happen when you are tired or don’t feel fit for some reason. However, they can also occur due to gear damage or overestimating your own abilities. Most falls are actually self-inflicted!
Statistics show that 67% of all ski accidents happen in the afternoon when you get tired and your concentration wanes. In addition, alcohol consumption often plays a role.
During the first two days of your skiing holiday, you are particularly at risk of injuring yourself while skiing. You are not used to the cold, the movements, the weather and also the high altitude air.
Take it easy, especially in the beginning, and follow our best tips both before and during skiing to avoid skiing accidents. After all, no one wants to spend the rest of their ski holiday in the hospital.
The most common injuries among skiers and snowboarders
The knees are most often the ones that get hit while skiing. Knee injuries are usually twisted in such an unfortunate way that ligament and meniscus injuries occur.
In the hit of fame of the most common ski injuries, knees are closely followed by shoulder and head injuries. The latter can be easily avoided or at least reduced by wearing a helmet!
Other injuries in the top five are those to the torso, such as the back, hips and legs. Snowboarders especially are prone to wrist injuries.
Overall, it’s best to do all you can to reduce the risk of hurting yourself while skiing and snowboarding.
- Make sure you are physically fit
You don’t have to be a competitive athlete to ski. However, general fitness and stamina are advisable and beneficial.
You have the best prerequisites for an injury-free skiing holiday if you do regular off-piste sports such as running, cycling, yoga, etc.
If you rarely exercise, you should prepare yourself physically before your skiing holiday so there is less risk of having an accident occur. Be it through HiiT exercises, long-range walking, cycling or running, the intensity of the activities is less important than the regularity. This will help you build up your strength and stamina.
Train your balance specifically to be able to cope on the red and black slopes. You can do a few simple exercises in everyday life, for example, by standing on one leg while talking on the phone.
When you are in the resort, warm-up well before jumping on the slopes. Most recreational skiers forget to do this, which is one of the main reasons you have sore or pulled muscles.
- Make sure you have the right ski equipment
If you have your own equipment, make sure it is in good working order before setting off on your skiing holiday. Take your skis to be serviced where the ski technician will wax them, sharpen the edges, and oil the bindings.
Always have the binding adjusted by a professional. If it is adjusted too lightly, it will open at the first little bump on the slope, and you will fall. If it is adjusted too much, it will not open in the event of a fall, and you may suffer serious leg injuries.
Always wear a ski helmet. This will not only protect you from serious head trauma, but it will also keep you nice and warm.
Especially if you are off-piste or in a snow park, you should also wear a back protector and reinforced gloves or carry (or hire) avalanche equipment.
- Adapt your skiing to your ability
The main cause of skiing injuries is overestimating your abilities. If you are a beginner, stay off the black and red runs as you’re risking injury.
If you can’t brake or stop absolutely safely, don’t race down the mountain in a downhill crouch.
Especially after a few Jagers at the end of the day in the ski resort, you think you are Maria Riesch herself and start jumping and going too fast. In this case, better take the lift down. You are not a professional, even if the Jagers make you think so.
- Brush up on your knowledge of the piste rules
Even if you learned the piste rules at ski school years ago in a previous ski season, read them repeatedly before your first run. Here is a brief summary:
- Always be considerate of other skiers and snowboarders
- Always look up when entering the slope or braking
- Never leave the marked ski slope
- Always keep your distance from others
- Only ski so fast that you can stop at any time
- Do not push your way to the front of the lift
- Always stop at the edge of the slope, not in the middle of it
- Always keep your eyes open and observe what is happening around you. Pay particular attention to what others are doing above you. Be especially careful at blind spots. The more attentive you are, the better you will be able to avoid accidents while skiing
- Take regular breaks
Most accidents happen in the afternoon when your strength starts to fade and you get tired. You can’t concentrate as well, and either fall by yourself or you overlook others.
Take regular breaks. Skiing should not be a competition to see how many kilometres of piste you can complete. It should be fun and, above all, without accidents.
Go ahead and treat yourself to a cup of coffee with a cake in the afternoon in the high-altitude sun. After all, you’ve been moving all day, so your body can use a few extra calories!
- NEVER ski drunk
Another reason why most ski accidents happen in the afternoon is because of drunk skiers. It is not uncommon to have a few mulled wines or beers after lunch and – as already mentioned – then your self-assessment is even worse.
It becomes particularly dangerous when skiing from the bars to the valley after the lifts have closed. This is when the piste smoothers are lurking behind crests and hills. An overestimated jump can end badly not only in the snow, but in front of the piste basher!
Only enjoy après-ski when you have reached the bottom and put your skis away for the day. The only danger then lurking alcohol-related is a thick head the following day.
- First-aid tips
Here are the most important tips to follow in the event of a fall:
- Secure the accident site with your sticks by sticking them into the snow to form a cross above the injured person
- Call the rescue service. The emergency number 112 is valid throughout Europe
- Do not move the injured person. They may have serious back, head and neck injuries which you can make worse by moving them
- Secure the injured person from slipping further if they are on steep terrain
- Give first aid by checking that the person is breathing and has a pulse. Apply resuscitation measures if necessary. If the casualty has cuts that are bleeding heavily, apply a pressure bandage. You can use a scarf or a cloth for this
- Keep the casualty warm to prevent them from getting hyperthermia
- Reassure the injured person. This can sometimes be the most important thing after a serious fall!
If you follow these safety tips when skiing, not much can go wrong. If you are on a skiing holiday with children, you might like to read our article “Skiing with children: Guide to safety and fun with the little ones” that might interest you. Now get out and hit the slopes. Enjoy it!