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February 18, 2016 - TCO

How to Stay Safe on the Slopes

After a long wait, Mother Nature finally cooperated with enough snow to create the Winter Wonderland that we all expect. Granted the ski areas in the Twin Cities Metro have plenty of snow making capabilities, but it’s just not the same as the snow we get from the Nimbostratus. So, before we hit spring, let’s talk about some safety tips that can help avoid injury while zipping down the many ski hills in MN.

TCO is the Official Sports Medicine Partner of Three Rivers Park District Ski Areas and would like to extend a special “Thank You” to them for their contribution to this month’s post.

Before we get to the meat of our post, we wanted to share some music from Wallace and Davis, and the Haynes Sisters. Enjoy!


First and foremost, just like with any athletic activity, proper warm-up and stretching is essential. Think of it this way; it’s important to warm-up our cars when it’s cold outside. The same thing applies to the machine we call our body. Take a few extra minutes and get moving to warm up muscles and joints. A little lite stretching following the warm-up helps our bodies prepare.


The right equipment is our next progression. A properly fitted helmet can reduce impact to the head.  Skis and boards should be the correct length for your weight, height and ability and in good working condition. Another piece of equipment to be considered is a wrist guard and it can help with FOOSH. What’s FOOSH you ask? “Falling On an Outstretched Hand” is a common mechanism for hand and wrist injuries. Wrist guards can be built into the gloves or worn outside of gloves and they protect your wrists from the impact of landing on the ground.


Now you have the equipment and you look great. Here’s the million dollar question. Do you know what you’re doing? If not, here’s the answer and it’s simple. Learn how to ride. We told you it was an easy answer. Taking a lesson will help you know how to ride safely and you will have fun doing it. Baby steps down the hill!


Finally it’s all coming together, you have the gear and you know how to use it and you’ve warmed-up. It’s time to show everyone what you’ve got. Unfortunately there’s no guarantee every trip down the hill is perfect so you must “learn how to fall.” Our instinct is to put our arms out in front of us to break our fall.  This can cause broken bones.  Pulling your arms in, tucking and rolling, tends to reduce injuries. A few bumps and bruises are far better than broken bones. 

Learn more about safety on the slopes from the National Ski Areas Association or your local ski area website. 

Our friends at Three Rivers Park District Ski Areas also included the Skiers and Snowboarders Responsibility Code:

1.   Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
2.  People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
3.  You must not stop where you can obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
4.  Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
5.  Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
6.  Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
7.  Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge & ability to load, ride & unload safely.

To learn more about Three Rivers Park District and all they have to offer, click here