Here are my top 10 ways to stay safe, avoid accidents, and prevent injury on the mountain.
1. Slow down around high traffic areas. (Stay under control and within your comfort zone).
2. Wear a helmet. (This will help prevent concussions and/or brain injury).
3. Take Breaks when fatigued. (Most injuries occur when skiers/boarders are tired).
4. Know your limits. (green circle for beginners, blue square for intermediate, and black diamond for expert).
5. Visibility. (Wear proper fitting goggles, defog your lenses, and be aware that snowboarders have a blind side).
6. Keep your distance from other skiers/boarders. (The downhill skier has the right of way and you never know when they will take a turn).
7. Look uphill when merging trails. (Traffic 101, yield to on-coming traffic).
8. Do not stop in the center of a run or where you are not visible from above. (You will get hit).
9. Follow signs and avoid closed areas. Ski patrol close off these areas for a reason. (Avalanches are real and exposed rocks are not fun to hit).
10. Make yourself heard when coming up from behind another skier/boarder. (Hoot, holler, or give a heads up).
Dr. Stuart Willick, sports medicine specialist at University Orthopaedic Center and an expert in ski injury research. He sees athletes of all ages and all sports injuries. Here are the most common injuries on slopes and how you can avoid them.