Opening day of our local resort has snow enthusiasts as excited as kids on Christmas morning. We all want to get out there and pick up right where we left off at closing day of the previous season.
We're caught up in the moment, but we need to take the time to slow down and remember that we're not invincible but rather much more susceptible to early-season injury.
The snow base is comprised of mostly machine-made snow for the first weeks of the ski/ride season. This is much harder and less forgiving snow than we may get used to during the height of the season. It hurts when we fall, and this hard ribbon of snow is not very forgiving.
Start the season by taking your equipment to a ski shop for a full function check. We may be breaking in new boots or are on a new pair of skis. Be patient while getting familiar with the changes in performance the new equipment may bring on.
Seek professional shop help if something about your boots, skis, or bindings doesn't feel right. The staff should be able to fix your problems or send you to the right place to do so. Lastly-never borrow equipment without making the same prior arrangements regarding a function check.
The best advice is to take it easy during those first days back. Focus on form. Take a lesson with a professional ski instructor. They will help squash bad tendencies before they become habits.
"Getting a lesson at the first of the year is really smart because we take skiing one step at a time," says Brendan Doran, a professional ski instructor. "There's no rush to learn a bunch of things all at once. You're way less likely to get hurt when you're not overwhelmed with the sport."
Spend a few minutes to warm up and stretch before your first run. In your room, at the lodge, or on top of the mountain are all perfect places to get loose. Swing your legs and arms to get your blood pumping. Gently stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, and hips. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Stay stagnant and don't "bounce" in and out of the pose. The stretch should feel good, not painful.
By the time we're in the throws of winter we'll be strong, fit, and ready to non-stop every run on the first big snow day of the year. Enjoy being back on snow rather than becoming a statistic of early-season ski injuries.