6th August 2012
Get Fit for Winter Sports from Clifton Hill Physiotherapy!
With the arrival of August we find ourselves well and truly in the classic ‘peak’ of the Southern Hemisphere snow season. At Clifton Hill Physiotherapy some of us have been lucky to enjoy a ski already. For those of you planning on heading to the mountains, in particular those who are looking to participate in snow sports, it is worthwhile ensuring that you are well prepared in order maximise your enjoyment and appreciation of our beautiful alpine environment, as well minimise your risk of personal injury! So here are a few tips from us at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy to help you along.
The best way to avoid many injuries incurred through participation in winter snow sports is to maintain an adequate level of fitness year round. In addition to this, a conditioning program that specifically targets increasing the strength, endurance and coordination of muscles and movements for your chosen winter sports will be of further benefit and should ideally be undertaken at least three times a week for six weeks. Our Physios at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy can help with preparation or any skiing or snowboarding injuries. The following is a small sample of exercises that can be undertaken at home with minimal equipment to condition for alpine and cross country skiing, as well as snowboarding.
• Wall squats
• Stair Climbing
• Jumps (side to side)
• Box Jumps
• Calf raises
• Knee Tucks with fitball
• Ski Pole with Theraband
In addition to being physically prepared, consideration of the following will result in a superior alpine experience:
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
• Ensure that you bring plenty of layers of insulating clothing to trap more body heat than one bulky layer. This also allows you to add or subtract layers according to your comfort.
• Avoid getting wet. Wear outer layers that are waterproof and ‘breathable’ (i.e. allow moisture produced by sweating to escape).
• ‘Pit zips’ on jackets and zips on pants are useful to release heat when one is exerting oneself excessively and in dangers of overheating.
• ‘Powder skirts’ are a useful feature in jackets to ensure that snow does not go up your jacket on falling in loose snow as this would otherwise make you cold and wet when it is melted by your body heat.
• Take spare gloves, socks and hat in case the ones you are wearing get wet.
• Wear appropriate footwear (such as insulated and waterproof shoes) and wear a blend sock that ‘wicks’ sweat away from the skin.
• Make sure all footwear fits you properly.
• Additional equipment such as helmets, wrist and knee guards or ‘body armor’ padding may be useful to prevent serious injuries from falls. ‘Lids on kids’ is a program that has been developed to promote the use of helmets in winter sports to decrease the risk of head injuries.
For more information click here: www.lidsonkids.org/
• Wear close-fitting sunglasses or goggles that meet the Australian Standard AS1067.
GENERAL SAFETY FOR WINTER/SNOW SPORTS
• Be aware that you are exposed to UV radiation even on cold and cloudy days. Apply broad spectrum 30+ sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin. Reapply regularly.
• Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. Warm up thoroughly before playing your chosen winter sport. Remember to take cold temperatures into account and spend more time warming up than usual.
• In downhill snow sports obey the alpine responsibility code and any rules of the mountain.
• Know your ability and always stay in control and be able to stop and avoid other people or objects. It is your responsibility to stay in control on the ground and in the air.
• Take lessons from qualified professional instructors to learn and progress.
• As you proceed downhill or overtake another person, you must avoid the people the people below and beside you.
• Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or run or are not visible from above.
• When entering a trail or run or starting off downhill, look uphill and give way to others.
• When riding chairlifts always use the restraining devices. Always use suitable restraints to avoid runaway ski/snowboard equipment. Ensure your equipment is in good condition.
• Observe and obey all signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails or runs and out of closed areas.
• Before using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
• Do not ski, snowboard, ride a lift or undertake any other alpine activity if your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
• If you are involved in, or witness an accident, alert Ski Patrol, remain at the scene and identify yourself to Ski Patrol.
• When using terrain parks demonstrate appropriate etiquette. ‘Smart Style’ is a set of guidelines for this that was designed in America by Burton Snowboards and the National Ski Areas Association. The simple messages of this are:
• Look before you leap – obey signs, scope around jumps first, use a spotter when necessary
• Easy style it – know your limits and stay in control
• Respect gets respect – wait your turn and call your start, only one person at a time on each feature, clear the landing quickly
For more information on for exercising in alpine environments visit:
For a program that is specific to your Winter Sport Goals make an appointment with Cathy, our Sports Physiotherapist at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy who is a Certified Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding Instructor.