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A Gear Guide for Better Performance, Fewer Injuries

by Ski Utah Yeti March 17 2013 1 Comment

There are plenty of gimmicks out there claiming to boost your skills on the slopes, but sometimes it’s best to stick to the basics when choosing equipment to improve your performance and stay injury-free. We asked orthopedic surgeon Travis Maak, M.D., of the University of Utah Orthopedic Center to offer his tips for gear that will improve your performance and help to prevent injuries.

Well-maintained skis and boards. It’s simple but makes a big difference — sharpen and wax your skis or snowboard at least once a year. You’ll get more control over your board from less friction and easier carving and turning, plus you’ll prevent the unpredictable catching that can cause falls.

Properly fitted bindings. A fitting is not the time to brag on your skills without the aptitude to back it up. You’ll get better performance out of your skis when your bindings are adjusted to your abilities, but they’ll also release at the right time to minimize injury in a fall.

The right poles. Pole guards protect your knuckles during ski racing, but the average skier should stick to regular grips with straps. “That shield will restrict your ability to release the pole from your hand in the case of a fall,” Dr. Maak says.

Polarized eyewear. They’re great for protecting your eyes against harmful UV rays, especially on sunny days with lots of glare off the snow, but there’s an added bonus —they do it without darkening your view. “That improves your ability to visualize bumps and changes in terrain that can destabilize you and lead to falls,” says Dr. Maak.  

Take caution with hand-me-downs. Handing skis down from kid to kid can make a big difference in your budget, but be careful to refit skis for each child’s height and weight. “Each time you hand them down, go to a pro shop to make sure they are the right length and the bindings are the right size,” says Dr. Maak.

Soft sleeves, not metal braces. “Some people feel a neoprene sleeve on a knee that’s been injured before brings them more comfort and keeps any swelling down, and that’s fine,” says Dr. Maak. But stay away from metal braces unless your doctor prescribes them.

 

Did you miss Orthopedic surgeon Travis Maak's past articles?

Returning To The Slopes After Injury

Skiing vs Snowboarding - Different Sports, Different Injury Prevention

Stay on the slopes - Not in the ski clinic

Activities Family and Kids Skiing

Ski Utah Yeti

About the Author

Ski Utah Yeti

In search of The Greatest Snow on Earth®, the Yeti ultimately landed in Utah. Ski Utah has hired the Yeti as their official mascot and slopeside reporter. Follow the Yeti to get the latest info on local pow stashes, crazy events, storm totals, and tips and tricks on the best ways to maximize your Utah experience. The Yeti is also known to throw out the occasional swag.. so be sure to stay tuned. Yeti knows best!

Do you have stories, ideas or questions you would like to share with the Yeti? Facebook, Tweet or email him at yeti@skiutah.com. The Yeti will post the gnarliest and most radical tales in his posts.

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