Sledding, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and much more, who doesn’t love a good winter sport? Especially in Utah, where we have prime access to some of the best winter activities around.
Enjoying winter sports is perfectly alright, encouraged even, but only when done safely.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 440,000 people were treated at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and emergency rooms for winter sports-related injuries in 2010, including snow skiing, snow boarding, ice skating, sledding and tobogganing.
While there is always risk involved with sports themselves, there are precautionary measures you can take to ensure an injury-free winter without giving up the activities you love.
If you’re injured while outside in the cold, you’re going to want someone with you. They can help treat your injuries or contact a medical professional. Make sure that both of you are carrying a cell-phone at all times. It’s also a good idea to tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you will return so that if you aren’t back on time they can send help.
2. Bundle Up
If you get stuck somewhere in the freezing cold, you are going to want every layer possible in order to stay warm. So, layer up. Wear several layers of water and wind resistant clothing. Hand warmers are a great way to keep your extremities warm. Also, make sure you have good protective gear. This includes helmets, gloves, good shoes, warm socks, and a heavy jacket.
3. Warm Up
Before participating in any winter sport, make sure to do stretches and exercises beforehand to warm up your muscles. This decreases the risk of injuring yourself during your sport.
4. Know Your Limits
It is tempting to get caught in the moment and push yourself to do something you’re not comfortable with. While trying new things is great, you need to be smart about what you are putting your body through. Give yourself enough time to warm up to longer distances, bigger jumps, or steeper slopes.
5. Don’t Dismiss the Weather
Before the big day, check the weather forecasts. Be smart. If there is an expected storm or severely low temperatures, consider going on a day with better weather, or if that is not an option, be extra safe and prepared.
6. Don’t Wait
If you or someone you are with is experiencing signs of hypothermia, or other cold-weather damage, don’t hesitate to contact a medical emergency personnel. Never wait for the situation to get out of hand. It is best to catch it early.
7. Bring a Safety Kit
Bring a first aid kit with you. If you don’t have room to carry it in your pack, make sure that you have one in your car that is easily accessible if necessary. Also, make sure you have all of the safety gear specific to your activity with you, and that you double and triple-check the condition of this gear before heading out.
Make sure to have fun when enjoying the winter months and your new winter toys, but be safe about it too. Your well-being comes first.