How to Start Skiing Again After an Injury
Thinking about getting back on the skis after recovering from an injury? Read through this guide for some tips on how to stay safe!
Congratulations! If you are reading this, my guess is that you are finally feeling like you can return to skiing after an injury has taken you out the last season or so. The good news is, you can get back to it! Before you do, there are just a few things to keep in mind to make for an easy transition as you jump back in so you can hopefully avoid future injuries.
I'm not a medical professional, so consult your doctor if you have any questions, but this is what I've found to be helpful. And as always, listen to your body! But aside from that, here are a few tips that should ensure you have an effortless re-entry to the sport! Let's get started!
Use Stability/Support Devices
First and foremost, a mistake that I made when coming back from a knee tear was not using my knee brace for long enough. My doctor said I should ski with it for a year or so at least, more if my knee got sore after a day of skiing, but I figured he was just a doctor so he had to tell me that.
Looking back, I'm not sure why I and so many other people avoid wearing whatever support gear is available, whether it be a back stabilizer, knee brace, or wrist guard. They can be a bit uncomfortable, bulky, and feel like an extra step but coming back to the sport after an injury is going to use some muscles that haven't been used in a while so any help you can get is well worth it!
If your injury isn't something that you were given a brace or something similar for, it's still worth a check around to see if there are any things you can do to help ease back in. Here are a few examples for common injuries, but if you are dealing with something else and want to see if there are some options, reach out to a Ski Expert here at Curated and we’d be happy to offer some alternative ideas!
- GripWalk boots (anything labeled GW or GripWalk when searching for boots)
- A lower flex boot
- A slightly lower binding DIN
- A ski with good edge grip to avoid the chatter feeling when turning
Stretch and Cross-Train
Even if you have gone skiing one or two times since your injury, that doesn't always mean you are in the clear! Sometimes you can ease back in and feel no pain, which gives a false sense of security and makes you think you are as good as new! However, on the third time out, another tumble sends you back to the doctor’s office on crutches and embarrassed.
Stretching before and after skiing is a great habit because it keeps your muscles loose and helps you avoid injury or reinjury. Cross-training, such as strength training, biking, or, if applicable, any exercises your physical therapist recommended for you, will also go a long way in keeping your body happy on the slopes. Until I got into long-distance running the last few years, I didn't understand the importance of cross-training, but it’s a huge key to avoiding injuries. Keeping your muscles strong with other activities goes a long way in improving your ski form and avoiding overuse injuries.
Ease Back in and Take It Slow
Okay, now on to what you should do when you actually get your skis on your feet. This can be the hard part, especially if you felt like you were an awesome skier before and could handle any type of terrain. Don’t! Take it slow. Pretend like you just started skiing and have to re-learn, because essentially that’s the case!
Lap the blues and greens a few times to make sure everything feels good. Take a lot of snack breaks in the lodge. Only ski for half a day the first few times. Jumping right back into the more difficult runs and skiing long days immediately after recovering from an injury is a common way to get hurt again. If you took some time off skiing you will likely need a day or more to get your ski legs back and remember how skiing works.
Take your time with this, be easy on yourself, and remember how impressive it is that you are even jumping back in instead of getting down on yourself for not being able to do a double backflip off the double blacks every run like you used to.
This last tip can be difficult on your own, but it gets even harder when you are skiing with friends you want to keep up with. Make sure your group knows that you are still easing back in and that you are trying to take things slow. Hopefully, this will avoid some of the peer pressure that could result in something like, “I didn't want to do that run—but it was so fun being on the slopes with my friends again–and well, my ACL is torn again.”
It’s fine if your friends take a few laps without you, and it's fine if you want to head into the lodge for a bit to take a break while they keep skiing. Again, it's impressive that you are even back on the slopes; your friends won't mind and will just be happy to have their ski buddy back!
If you are coming back from a ski injury, it's probably not a good idea to go on a two-week-long ski vacation where you ski every day. Try to make sure you have a rest day after the first few days back, just to double-check that there's no pain or soreness that creeps up the next day. Similarly, if you are on the mountain and start to get a familiar pang of pain or soreness in your injured area, it's okay to call it a day! Be honest and realistic with where you're at, and don't push it!
While it can be hard to feel like you are missing out on “the most epic powder day ever” or the weekly Saturday trip with the family to the mountains, it's much more important to keep your body healthy and happy over the long run. It might not feel great to find yourself strength training in the gym when it’s snowing like crazy outside, but it would feel way worse to reinjure yourself and potentially have to take another season off.
I hope these tips helped you, and if you want to chat more about how to make a safe, easy re-entry into the sport, or want some advice on gear, trips, etc, reach out me or another Ski Expert, and we'd be happy to help you get back riding those chairlifts in no time!