How to avoid common ski jumping injuries

October 31, 2014

Skiing is a great way to keep in shape and explore Canada’s beautiful wilderness, but it's important to be safe and avoid common ski jumping injuries when you hit the slopes!
Protecting yourself from head injuries

Protecting your head when you’re enjoying fresh mountain slopes is one of the smartest choices you can make as a skier. Newbies and experienced skiers alike should wear a helmet whenever they’re skiing to avoid potentially life-altering brain injuries.

Even average skiers on beginner ski trails can travel 16-32 kilometres per hour. Downhill racers can clock in at speeds as high as 45-95 kilometres per hour. Even a minor stumble can have a major impact at these speeds, which is why experts agree helmets are just as important as a good pair of skis to properly enjoy the slopes. Look for logos from official ski associations to be sure the helmet you plan to buy meets stringent safety guidelines.

Knee injuries: what you need to know

Knee injuries are some of the most common ski jumping injuries for a very simple reason. When skiers travel at high speeds, their feet and ankles are basically locked into their skis. Whenever the ski is torqued but does not release, it’s the knee that sustains the most impact. Knee injuries make up about 25 per cent of all ski injuries and can include:

  • Meniscus tears
  • Torn medial collateral ligaments (MCL)
  • Torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL)

It’s common for beginning and intermediate skiers to suffer from MCL injuries the most. This is due mainly to the tendency of beginning skiers to adopt a snow plow stance to turn and stop, placing lots of pressure on the inside of the knee. Fortunately, many meniscus tears and MCL injuries can be fixed without surgery.

On the other end of the spectrum, ACL injuries are serious and becoming alarmingly more common. Advanced skiers suffer ACL injuries the most, mainly due to a typical falling pattern. Experts suggest keeping your knees flexed when you fall. Try to fall forward if at all possible—falling backwards places uneven force across the ACL.

Above all, don’t ski jump if you don’t know how to land. Even then, always land on both skis and keep your knees flexed evenly for maximum safety.

Avoid ski jump fractures

Fractures from ski jumps are becoming less and less frequent thanks to big advances in ski equipment engineering. One of the most important things you can do to avoid hand, arm and leg fractures while skiing is to ensure your equipment is the right size for your body, securely fastened, and in good working order.

Tips to stay safe on the slopes

  • Don’t ski when you’re tired
  • Watch the terrain and avoid grass, rocks and different snow levels
  • Know where other skiers are
  • Don’t drink alcohol before you ski

Keep these tips in mind to keep everyone safe the next time you hit the slopes!

How to avoid common ski jumping injuries
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