How to Prevent Injury When Learning to Ski: My Top Tips
Have you taken the plunge and booked a holiday and planning to try something new like skiing?
Are you wondering what you can do in the lead up to your holiday to make your skiing experience a fun and successful one?
I recently learnt to ski while away in Canada, so thought I’d share with you a few things that I wish I’d known before going. Here are my top tips for anyone learning to ski!
What are ski boots and are they comfortable?
I’ll start off by saying that ski boots are weird. They’re big, heavy and a bit awkward when you first put them on, but after a few days you do adjust to them.
The most important thing with ski boots that I found was making sure the fit was correct and that you were sitting in them properly. When you hire your equipment the trained staff will fit you with your ski boots- make sure you watch how they’re doing them up and gauge the tightness of them.
Stand up in them, take a few steps and really get the feel for them. As I said, they’ll feel weird, but if fitted properly they shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If unsure, just check with the trained staff and they can help you out.
The other thing about your ski boots is they come up high onto your shins and can cause some irritation here. The trick to avoiding too many problems here comes down to skiing technique- if you’re leaning too far back the boots do not contour correctly to your shins, causing more irritation, whereas if you’re leaning forward in the boots then your shins will sit nicely in the padded area and shouldn’t cause you any problems.
What socks should I wear when skiing?
Socks and the way they interact with the ski boots are also super important.
It’s cold when you’re skiing, so wearing thermal socks is a tempting idea, but the problem with most thermal socks is they’re not made for wicking moisture away, which means your feet can sweat. When this happens, you’re more prone to blistering and rubbing, and also when the sweat dries you can get really cold, uncomfortable feet.
I found my hiking socks were a better option. I use a two sock system, whereby the inside sock was a thinner liner sock made to wick the moisture away, and the thicker outside sock had all the nice cushioning and added the extra warmth.
Also, make sure you’ve got enough pairs or have access to a washing machine to ensure you’re wearing a fresh set every day you’re out on the slopes.
Should I use foot warmers?
Unfortunately I forgot foot warmers were a thing until the second to last day we were on the slopes, so take my advice and get onto these early! F
oot warmers come as a small pouch that you ‘snap’ to break the seal, causing a chemical reaction in the pouch which releases heat for up to 8 hours.
Foot warmers cannot be placed directly onto skin, rather placed over your socks (they come with a gentle adhesive backing) and then slid into your boots to give your toes extra warmth for the day.
What shoes should I wear around the ski resort?
I’ve already talked about snow boots, but the shoes you wear around the ski resort are important too!
If you’re staying at a ski-in-ski-out resort, there will be quite a bit of snow around, so you probably want to invest in a pair of snow boots.
Snow boots are well-insulated, water-proof and come up above your ankles to keep your feet warm and dry and to prevent snow from entering. They also have a rubber sole to help stop you from slipping and sliding on icy surfaces.
Are there any exercises I can do to prepare my body for skiing?
It goes without saying that when you try something new like skiing, you’re going to use a lot of muscles in different ways then you normally do, and you may end up a little bit sore. Due to the position you ski in leaning forward with your knees bent and turned in slightly, it can put a huge amount of pressure on your thigh (quadricep) muscles and your bottom (gluteal) muscles. Here a few exercises I wish I’d done before hitting the slopes to help strengthen these muscles:
Single leg sit to stand
- Sit up straight with your buttocks to the edge of the chair.
- Lift one foot off the ground and keep it in front of you.
- Try to do this exercise without using your hands.
- With your foot on the floor, ensure you keep your knee in line with your toes, stand up by pushing down through your foot until you are completely upright.
- Hold this position and then gradually sit back down.
- Control this movement and then repeat.
- Lean against a wall, with your feet away from the wall and shoulder width apart.
- Your back and buttocks should remain in contact with the wall throughout.
- Slide down the wall, aiming to reach horizontal with your thighs.
- Your knees should be at 90 degrees at this point.
- Hold this position, then push yourself back up the wall, driving the movement with your buttock muscles.
- Stand with your feet together and lightly bend the knees, keeping your back straight.
- Jump to the right and land lightly on the ball of your right foot as your left leg swings back behind you.
- Then jump to the left and land lightly on the left foot as your right leg swings back behind you. Repeat.
I know there is plenty more to talk about when it comes to skiing, but these are just a few tips for beginners.
I hope they help and your first skiing experience is a successful one!
I'm so confident we can help with your preparation for your skiing holiday that I'd love to chat with you personally, it's what I'm passionate about!
Podiatrist at Complete Podiatry