We all know skiing and snowboarding are great fun. We also know they can be quite dangerous, and often in severe conditions some distance from the nearest, warm building. Now let’s consider the method of travel through potential knee-deep drifts or icy plains – you may not always be in the most accessible of places.
It’s therefore crucial you understand the importance of knowing how to react and what to do if you are with someone who gets injured while out on the slopes.
Or alternatively, that the niggle, knock or twist they thought they could shake off and cure with a few G&Ts appears to be getting a lot worse back at base – what do you do next?
Here at Wimbledon Clinics we have been offering sage advice ahead of any skiing or snowboarding trip for many years. Likewise, we have managed injuries from afar and advised many patients on the best next steps when stranded abroad and potentially, at the mercy of insurers or medical practitioners who may see British tourists as an open chequebook.
Here are our top five tips to cope with such an event to save you a lot of discomfort to your body and, your wallet.
1 – Stay together, regardless
Having a “ski buddy” means more than just sharing the enjoyment together. It is a rule that has been promoted for many years and it can be a lifesaver.
It’s crucial that you agree on the route before setting off downhill, that you know the name of the run that you are on and at all times – stay within sight of each other.
2 – Stick on the slopes and avoid the trees
It sounds obvious, but we heavily advise that you keep to the slopes, away from any dangers that trees pose.
Avoid any temptation to head for the best powder – a collision with a tree can be fatal, even when wearing a helmet while additional dangers lie at the foot of trees in the form of tree wells. Again, a headfirst fall into a tree well could result in suffocation.
3 – Flag for help
If your ski buddy has an accident, the quickest and most effective way to get help is by flagging down a fellow skier. Ask them to inform the lift operator once their descent is complete and get them to send ski patrol. But as rule one still applies – do not leave your friend.
4 – Don’t move the injured person
By doing so you could do more damage. Unless you’re a proficient first-aider it’s best to await professional, medical attention.
5 – Most of all, be sensible at all times
There is a code of conduct to follow on the slopes, which is:
- Always remain in control.
- People ahead of you have right of way.
- Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
- When entering a trail or starting downhill, yield to other skiers and snowboarders.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway skis and boards.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.
Often, and with adrenalin running through the body, there will be a temptation to carry on and hope that the “après ski” will act as the required medicine. This isn’t always the case, however, and things can take a turn for the worse during the evening. If this happens:
Most people who have played any form of sport will be aware of RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
This will help immensely where a knee may be swollen, for example, but it’s always good advice to seek medical attention if the pain remains or increases or there is visible deterioration.
Call Wimbledon Clinics
We are available on the phone to advise on the next best steps to take. While you should receive the correct medical advice where you are, particularly if it’s for a first opinion, this is not always the case. Many skiers and snowboarders can relay stories of being held to ransom, or not receiving the best advice – rather the option that will cost the most.
We want you to enjoy your winter break but we also want you to be safe – from injury and also from malpractice. If however you’ll get injured you can visit ski clinic in Wimbledon.