Navigate Up

Preventing Injuries on the Slopes

No matter what type of a skier you are, you could wind up with minor aches, muscle pain, or a serious injury if you don't spend a little time preparing for the demands of your sport. 

Strength, flexibility, endurance, and agility drills are essential for both recreational and expert skiers to:

  • Prevent fatigue
  • Improve performance
  • Reduce the risk of injury

Workout Specifics for Skiers

To get ready for ski season, a good rule of thumb is to work out three to five times a week for one to two hours.

Workout programs should focus on:

  • Flexibility
  • Plyometric training
  • Core and balance
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Upper and lower extremity exercises
  • Intensity of strength: two sets of 15 repetitions that create fatigue between the eighth and 12th repetition

Snowboarders and cross-country skiers also can benefit from these strengthening exercises.

Depending on your age and fitness level, some exercises are not recommended. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Preventing Knee Injuries

More than 60 percent of all skiing injuries occur in the lower extremities.

Because the most common injury is ligament damage in the knee, it may help to participate in a program that reduces the risk of non-contact ACL injuries, such as the ACL Injury Prevention Program at UPMC.

While UPMC originally designed this program for soccer players, the training routine, principles, and concepts apply very closely to skiing and snowboarding.

To help promote leg strength, this program includes:

  • Warm-up
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Plyometric training
  • Sport-specific agility training

To prevent injury, it's also important to use proper technique during jumping moves. Jump straight up and down without excessive side-to-side movement, and aim for soft landings.

Tips for Staying Safe on the Slopes

According to the National Ski Patrol Responsibility Code, the following tips can help you enjoy your time and stay safe on the slopes:

  • Stay in control at all times
  • Allow the right-of-way to skiers ahead of you
  • Look uphill to merge on a trail
  • Do not obstruct trails or remain in a blind spot
  • Do not congregate in a group in the middle of the hill
  • Use devices to prevent runaway skis

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com