With the ski season just around the corner, if you are planning your first ski trip you might wonder if skiing is dangerous for beginners like yourself.
While every sport has its risks, with skiing being no exception, it is not as dangerous as it might seem to non-skiing observers.
Skiing can be dangerous for beginners if they don’t know what they are doing or if they are not properly prepared and have not taken any precautions. It is often something a skier does that puts the skier in danger and not the activity of skiing itself. But sometimes you can get unlucky too.
However, according to statistics, injuries and fatalities in skiing are a lot lower compared to a few other sports such as American football and ice hockey. Interestingly enough, driving is more dangerous than skiing.
Statistics also show that experienced skiers are more prone to danger than beginners, as they are the ones who engage in more extreme parts of the sport.
With all that being said, beginners must be aware that skiing injuries and fatalities happen everyday and will continue to, and they must take every measure to minimize the risk.
What Are The Dangers Of Skiing?
When people get hurt, get life-altering injuries or even die while skiing on rare occasions is often due to their own or fellow skiers’ carelessness, lack of knowledge, or even downright negligence.
Let’s have a look at some scenarios which could lead to injury.
- Hitting a physical object like a tree or another skier while skiing down a slope.
- Running off a cliff
- Losing control and falling off when attempting to stop or turn
- Being exposed to extremely low temperature
- Bright sunlight that reflects off the snow hits the naked eye
- Getting caught in an avalanche
- Being too exposed to the sun
- Falling into a tree well
Almost all of these can easily be avoided if you properly learn about the basics of the sport and are prepared and take necessary precautions while skiing.
Let’s take a look at some tips I made for beginners that will help you avoid danger and stay safe on the slopes.
Tips For Beginners To Ski Safely
Now that you know what kind of injuries you can sustain while skiing and what could cause them, let’s talk about what you can do to prevent them.
Make Sure You Are Physically Fit Enough To Ski
Skiing is a vigorous physical activity that requires good cardiovascular and muscular strength as well as flexibility and agility.
Consulting a doctor and getting a proper medical evaluation to make sure that you don’t have any conditions that can be aggravated by strenuous physical activity is the first thing any aspiring skier should do before starting.
Once you have been declared fit enough, start a good workout regime consisting of strength training with more emphasis on core and legs, aerobic and anaerobic endurance training, and flexibility training. Consult a physical therapist or a properly qualified instructor to get your workout program set.
Any skier who does all this will be better at stopping, turning, and controlling speed while skiing downhill and that will minimize the risk of falling off or hitting something.
Take Ski Lessons From A Professional Instructor
Learn the essential basics thoroughly from a good instructor before your first real attempt at skiing.
Proper Clothing And Gear
Having proper skiing gear and layering for the cold will ensure your safety as well as help you enjoy your day.
Ski helmet: A properly fitting helmet will protect your head if you fall off or hit something.
Ski goggles: Ski goggles with proper fit, ventilation, visible light transmission, and field of vision will not only prevent snow blindness but also give your brain the visual signals needed to adjust the speed and timing and avoid hitting physical objects.
Read more about why wear ski goggles here.
Clothing: Wear proper clothing, gloves, and mittens to insulate your body against freezing temperatures and prevent frostbite.
Skis: Get expert help to choose skis. Your skis must match your height, weight, your skill level, terrain, snow conditions, and many more parameters to prevent falls and head, knee, or wrist injuries.
You must also learn how to tune your skis and do it regularly so that they continue to function the way they are supposed to.
Sun protection: Wear enough sun protection on exposed body parts and lip balm to prevent sunburn.
Ski boots: Get yourself a pair of well-fitting ski boots that are not too fit, to protect your joints, muscles, and so on from falls or speed-controlling, stopping, or turning maneuvers.
Warmup Before Each Session
Doing a good warmup routine before starting to ski will help in preventing muscle, ligament, and tendon damage.
Never Stop Where Other Skiers Can’t See You
Whenever you stop on your trail, stay where any oncoming skier can see you from far enough to avoid hitting you, and if you are, never panic at the sight of an oncoming skier and make any sudden movements and you will be fine.
Familiarize Yourself With Trail Colors
Learn to recognize the gradient and the difficulty level of a ski trail to avoid getting on a trail above your skill level and getting hurt.
Never Ski Drunk, High, Or Hungover
Make sure you are sober before starting your ski trip. Having your judgment clouded by alcohol or drugs makes you more prone to accidents.
Beware Of The Weather
Never go skiing in less-than-ideal weather conditions. For example, skiing in a blizzard with low visibility increases the risk of hitting a tree or running off a cliff.
If your trail has hardened ice instead of soft snow can cause you to skid, fall, and bruise yourself. Always communicate with ski resort patrol about the weather and the potential of an avalanche.
Make it a habit, take a break, and drink some water throughout your skiing trip. Dehydration makes you fatigued, less coordinated, and judgment-impaired.
Common Ski Injuries
Below is a list of the most common injuries that could happen while skiing. Death is super rare, but it is something that does happen and should be a reason for any skier to be extra careful.
Knees: Ligaments or tendons can get sprained or torn.
Shoulders: Sprains, dislocations, fractures, and muscle tears can occur.
Wrists and thumbs: Fractures can happen.
Head: Concussions and depressed skull fractures can occur.
Skin: Cuts and bruises can occur. Frostbite and sunburns are also possibilities.
Eyes: Snow blindness is a possibility.
Is Skiing Alone Dangerous?
Beginners should never ski alone. However, if you have a bit of experience and are well prepared, skiing alone wouldn’t pose much of a threat as long as you are skiing in the premises of a ski resort, because there is usually someone nearby.
The main danger of skiing alone is that it will take longer for you to get help or be rescued in case of an accident. And if you get lost while skiing you would have to figure it out yourself and there’s no one to help.
Moreover, there’s no one to advice you against stupid decisions you might make.
Therefore, skiing alone on bowls or off-piste skiing should only be attempted by very experienced skiers who know what they are doing.
On the plus side, skiing alone does offer some benefits too, like the opportunity to focus and develop your technique and to truly enjoy nature without distractions and constant chit chat.
If you decide to ski alone make sure you are familiar with the area you are skiing in or take a map with you. And remember to take your cell phone with you! This way, if you do get lost or hurt, you can call for help.
All that being said, I still wouldn’t recommend skiing alone for beginners.
Even though skiing can justifiably be considered an extreme sport and dangerous, anyone can ski fairly safely, given they are well educated about the potential dangers and how to avoid them.
Skiers need to get themselves equipped and well prepared to enjoy the thrill of the sport, the beautiful nature that surrounds the trails and the numerous health benefits of this vigorous physical activity.
Do Beginner Skiers Fall A Lot?
Yes, most beginner skiers fall a lot when they first start skiing. This is because they are not used to the feeling of skiing and they are not used to the equipment. However, most falls are not going to cause any injuries unless it’s something serious like we talked about.