If living in or visiting northern Michigan is about one thing, it has to be the skiing — especially now that conditions are great for getting out for a few runs. But as fun and exhilarating as skiing can be, a wrong twist or move can lead to an injury.

Here are some important tips to be mindful of when preparing to hit the slopes:

  • Stay fit: It is important (especially in the off-season) to keep your strength and endurance up to snuff. Imagine trying to run a marathon tomorrow without training. That might be tough! The same concept goes for skiing all day. Staying in shape by doing cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, etc.) as well as performing some leg exercises (squats, lunges, etc.) to help keep your body ready for the demands of the ski hill can decrease your risk of lower extremity injuries and falls.
  • Warm up: Cold muscles are more prone to injury, especially in the winter. Make sure to take a few minutes for an active warm-up, which may include jumping jacks, jogging, or a few slow ski runs to get your heart rate up and warm your muscles before you head to the black diamond runs.
  • Have proper equipment: Poor fitting boots or bindings can lead to knee and ankle injuries, especially on icy conditions. Make sure your boots are snug and your feet won’t slide around. Wear a helmet to protect your head from injuries such as concussions.
  • Safe environment: Always ski with a ‘buddy system’. You and a partner can stay within sight of each other and be able to help or call for help if needed. Make sure to stay in terrain equivalent to your skill level, and don’t overestimate your abilities. If you need to brush up on skills, take a lesson or two from a pro.

Avoiding injuries isn’t always possible, but making sure you are well prepared can help decrease your risk. Follow these simple tips and be sure to share with family and friends who are outdoor adventurists. Happy skiing!


About the author

Karin Leland is a Physical Therapist at Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center in Harbor Springs.  She can be reached via e-mail at kleland@nmsportsmed.com.  This information is not to be considered medical advice and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional.