Skiing is a fun family exercise, but it can be dangerous even for the most experienced riders. Most ski outings usually consist of early mornings, cafeteria food, and copious amounts of hot chocolate. Every now and then, however, a day on the mountain will end with a trip to the hospital with a sprained wrist or minor concussion. These trips aren’t as fun. If you want your ski excursions to be pain-free (not counting chapped lips or wind-bitten noses), follow these 3 tips to prevent skiing injuries.

1. Get the right protective gear – You might think helmets look goofy, but you’ll wish you had one when you wipe out and bang your head against hard packed snow. Sacrifice your sense of style and invest in a good helmet, it’ll be worth it. This goes for adults too. Your age and experience have no bearing on how vulnerable your head is in the event of a wipeout. Helmets are a must for all ages on the slopes. Also make sure you have the right sized skis and boots. You can really hurt yourself if your ski comes flying off mid-run because you don’t have the right-sized binding. So take the time to get the right gear; it could save you a trip to the emergency room.

2. If you’re a beginner, get lessons – Strapping on your first pair of skis and bombing down the mountain can be dangerous for you and everyone else on the slopes. If you’re new to the sport, take it slow and book a couple lessons with a ski instructor. You’ll feel more confident with some instruction, plus you won’t put yourself and everyone else at risk of getting injured.

3. Don’t push yourself too far – There’s an undeniable pleasure in the rush of going a little too fast on a run that may be a little too hard for you, but don’t push your limits too far. If you know that a double-black diamond would be too difficult for you, don’t do it. Most injuries are a result of someone trying something they’re not ready for. Feel free to increase the difficulty of your runs, but do it gradually. Save yourself six weeks in a cast, and only ride the trails you’re ready for.

Skiing is a great winter activity, but like any sport, it has its risks. So whether you’re going for a ski weekend with your family or a group of college friends, follow these tips and stay safe on the slopes. Be sure to check out our other skiing articles and coaching resources on your journey to achieve your full potential.

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