Ski Safety • Helmets and Ski-Snowboarding Safety

Skiers and snowboarders risk certain types of injury whilst enjoying their sports, some of which can be very serious, even fatal. It’s important to ensure you’ve taken out adequate insurance before you go. But a lot of these injuries can be avoided by using the right clothing and equipment in the right way.

The most common injuries

Thumbs

The best way to avoid this injury is to use the straps correctly.

Wrists

Wrist protectors can prevent injury to snowboarders.

Heads

Helmets can limit the severity of a head injury.

Knees

If you fall and your boot bindings fail to release, your knee will twist violently. Modern release binding systems, allowing easy release, will help you avoid this.

Cuts

Ski leashes and ski breaks reduce the incidences of cuts.

Safety Wear

Perhaps the most important pieces of safety wear for skiers are the following:

Ski Boots

These must fit snugly, bur not too tightly around the foot, giving precise control over the skis.

The bindings are extremely important, and a good pair can drastically reduce the risk of a severe injury. They will hold the boot firmly on the ski. They must be easily released if you fall, to avoid excessive strain on your legs. They must be able to pull the boot back to the centre of the ski. Beginners tend to fall backwards so the bindings must be able to release the toe and the heel vertically.

The bindings consist of:

Ski Goggles

Ski goggles must protect your eyes from UVA and UVB radiation, which are very harmful for your eyes. At least 95% of UVA must be blocked out, as even short-term exposure can cause sunburn on your eyes, leading to snow blindness. Long-term exposure to UVB can permanently damage your eyes and lead to cataracts and other eye diseases. Polycarbonate goggles are unlikely to shatter, and are therefore the safesty, and 180 degrees vision will let you notice other skiers around you.

Green lenses are best for bright light. Yellow, gold and amber lenses are ideal for low light and fog. Rose-coloured lenses are good for grey days, and mirrored and polarised coatings will cut glare. Anti-fogging lenses will help visibility.

Snowboard boots

Step-in boots are easy to put on, and their stiffness gives a quick edge to edge response. On the downside, it’s harder to perform tricks as it’s difficult to bend the ankle and the foot. Strap boots are cheaper, but slower to put on.

Layers

It’s very important to keep warm, and the right combination of layers of clothes will keep you warm whilst allowing your skin to breathe and the air to circulate freely, so you don’t risk getting overheated.