You have been waiting for this moment all year; to return back to the mountain for more epic skiing adventures. But for those who might have sustained an injury from last season (or even the season before that), returning to the slopes might not be “business as usual.” There are a lot of factors that can cause hesitation from injured skiers. Fear, anxiety, and self-doubt are just among the few reasons why someone might not want to try the sport again so soon even if they are truly passionate about it. Skiing and snowboarding can take a toll on our bodies and can throw us off balance when an injury occurs.
But all hope isn’t lost, though it will take a little bit of TLC on your end to strap on your snow boots once again. It’s important to consider that after you’ve finished healing from your injury you’ll want to take precautions so you don’t end up hurting yourself further. Here are a few tips to consider before finding your way back to on fresh powder. Hopefully, they make the transition back that much easier!
Slow & Steady
For many people, injuring themselves on the slopes can hinder them from trying to get back out on the snow. If that’s the case it’s best to stop beating yourself up over it, first and foremost! The chances for wiping out, turning wrong or losing focus while skiing isn’t some strange anomaly that only happens to a small number of people. It can happen at any time to anyone; that’s just a part of the ski game.
What you need to consider is that you can get back to skiing, but you’ll want to do so gradually even if the idea of skiing gentle slopes makes you a little antsy. Give yourself a second to think about what went wrong in the first place, but don’t dwell on it either. Then once you remember why you are passionate about the sport, you can move forward to build up your confidence. Going back to basics might mean you’ll need to stick to easy greens or blues but hey, at least your body won’t take another hit. And you’ll decrease the chance of further damaging your muscles or nerves.
Get To Training
After sustaining a skiing injury you might feel a little drained and defeated. Which, of course, is a normal reaction. But what you don’t want happening is a complete lack of training once you’re feeling better. Oftentimes people experience tears to their ACL, knees, back or the like as the cause of their injury. And just like in any other sport, you have to attempt a level of physical therapy to combat the damaged ligaments.
There’s no need to be an Olympic-level athlete, but you’ll want to include specific stretches that are comfortable for you. You will also need to incorporate cardio, core and balance exercises and upper and lower body work-outs to restrengthen your muscles that haven’t been used much over weeks or months of healing.
Then, when you finally get back onto the slopes, you’ll have a new appreciation for what you’re capable of doing! Plus, now that you’ll be taking it a little easier, you can appreciate and enjoy the mountain in a different way. Bask in the vistas, breathe in the crip, winter air and maybe explore areas of your local resort you didn’t know about. This change of pace will give you clarity and the mental boost you need on your way back to your former skiing self.
Check In With Yourself
It’s easy to want to rush back to your favorite off-piste, but the fact of the matter is that you might end up hurting the same injury or a new part of your body. All of your hard work and training will be set back by weeks, and that’s only going to cause frustration for you. What you’ll want to do is check in with yourself every once in a while throughout your first day of skiing post-injury. Are your muscles sorer than they should be? Do you feel light-headed or something is completely off?
Pay close attention to how you are bending your knees and that you’re not putting too much stress on your body. It’s crucial that you take more precaution than usual, as much as you may not want to. By doing so, you can experience the most enjoyment out on the trails, even if most of them are well below your level as a skier or snowboarder.
Extra Tips To Keep You Safe
#1: Ask For Help
We know, this one might sound fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people don’t want to ask for help. The staff at any resort you visit is there to help you with anything you need. So when returning to the mountain after an injury, don’t feel as if you can’t ask for help getting around. Feel free to inquire about staff suggestions on which slopes you should stick to. And if you’re still feeling hesitant even though you’ve made it all the way to the resort, simply chat with friends or family members about how you’re feeling.
#2: Set Rules For Yourself
Even if you didn’t necessarily mean to break your own rules when your injury happened, you still should stay alert to your surrounding. Think of it this way: When you’re driving a car, you feel confident in your ability as a driver to get around without anything happening to you or other people on the road.
Advanced and expert skiers have that same confidence and might let their guard down. They’ve done this a hundred times, so nothing can go wrong, right? Admitting that this might have been why you were injured can give you a new perspective.
This time you want to avoid running on autopilot so you successfully make runs without any problem. You can either make a mental or digital set of new rules you want to follow and be sure to execute them all. As tedious as it is, it can give you some control back and hopefully assist you in avoiding new mistakes right off the bat.
#3: Hydrate Like It’s Your Day Job
Who has time to stop for lousy old water when there’s so much powder to glide on? The answer to that is definitely you. You don’t want to overexert yourself too soon! Getting enough H2O might be the last thing on your mind, but it’s what can help keep your muscles healthy and give you a little peace of mind. You won’t easily be fatigued and can stay mentally agile (yes, even if you are on the kiddie slopes!) Slowing down your usual skiing routine is a great way to retrain yourself. You’ll find yourself building up confidence and stamina once again and eventually return to your favorite, more difficult trails.