Several of us foreigners are having our first snow experience leaving in Washington D.C. As so Ski in the nearby areas (MD, West Virginia) is a tempting weekend trip. Based on my own experience here are some tips and info for beginners:
- Skiing is no more dangerous than other high-energy participation sports. However, it is challenging and require physical skills that are only learned over time with practice. The sport involve some inherent risk, but in some measure, it is that risk that entices most skiers and riders to pursue the sport.
- Beginners are thought to be 33% more likely to be injured than the more experienced skier. Women are more likely to sustain knee injuries whilst men are more likely to injure their head or shoulder.
- Is snowboarding safer than skiing?Knee injuries in snowboarding are much less frequent than in skiing but on the other side wrist and head injuries are much more common. There is no significant differences in the rate of fatalities and injuries between ski and snowboarding although the snowboarding numbers are steadily increasing due to its more recent popularity.
- Proper equipment and equipment maintenance is essential. It is hard to identify problems with that when you are a beginner and is renting your equipment, but make sure you test and ask all the necessary questions (longer vs. shorter skis, etc) to make sure the equipment is correctly adjusted to you. A problem with your bidding can represent a thorn ACL and 6 months of recovery
- Selecting the appropriate difficulty of slope on the mountain is important although injuries can happen even on the basic one. A uniform code exists with green being easiest, then blue and black for intermediate to advanced skiers. Don't be tempted to try a slope designed for more experienced skiers before you are ready!
- Always pay attention to the slope conditions. Icy slopes are more common on the East coast of US and are much more difficult to manage than the real snow ones you will probably find on the west coast