It’s half term for many schools next week. And that means a mass exodus for a spot of late season snow. But, as the European ski season comes to a close and the numbers start to drop, the number of skiers coming home in plaster rises significantly. According to World First Travel Insurance, the end of the ski season is the time when injury claims go up. The reason for this is quite simple: the pistes have had months of regular use and will have deteriorated since the beginning of the season, there is less snowfall and the temperatures begin to rise. This often leads to more ice, which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is very, very slippery.
And that’s where you’d rather be doing the swoosh than the FOOSH, especially if you haven’t sorted out your snowboarding travel insurance before you go. FOOSH or Falling On Out Stretched Hand is a term used by doctors in the mountains to describe the most common cause of injury seen among snowboarders. It happens because the first reaction you’ll have as you fall is to put your arm out to save yourself. It’s an instinctive reaction. However, if you look at the following stats from http://www.ski-injury.com you might want to think about how you approach your trip to the mountains!
- Over 25% of all injuries to boarders are wrist related
- 43% of all snowboard injuries are attributable to first time riders
- 30% of injuries seen by professionals are fractures
So. Still thinking about it? Good. But read this first.
Preparation is everything
Wrist guards, which will provide vital strength and support if you fall, are de rigeur for the first time boarder. They range from simple protectors available from chemists to expensive gloves with inbuilt shock absorbers. In line skaters use a simple wrist guard that can easily be worn under gloves.
Before you go, also think about the process of falling, and how you can protect your wrists. You need to roll as much as possible, if you are falling on your front use the forearm, falling backwards means rolling with your bottom and back, have a practice at keeping your hands out of the way. Unless you have a weak wrist you might be able to leave the wrist protectors at your accommodation after a few days but trust me, they are very helpful for beginners.
You are going to spend a long time on your behind. Make sure you have adequate clothing to keep you warm and dry. Sitting on cold snow quickly gets uncomfortable. Good underclothes and proper snowboard pants are a must. The slacker look of low slung pants and tight jackets often means that when sitting down your midriff is exposed, that soon gets to be a drag every time you sit down to buckle in.
Many modern sports shops will stock lower torso protectors that can be worn under your snowboard pants. These lightweight, plastic and breathable slip-ons are affordable and available all over the place. The protection they give to the bottom and coccyx can be extremely useful for the beginner.
The next most common injury seen by doctors is to the head or face. Beginners often catch the wrong edge in the transition between turns or on long schusses. So there’s no shame in wearing a helmet. You will be very glad you bought your after your first slam!
And last but not least...
Winter sports travel insurance is a must for any snowboarding trip so please make sure you are adequately covered. Every week in every resort in every bar you’ll hear the same old tale of the incredible costs accrued by an unlucky accident. So don’t forget that the insurance that’s offered with your lift pass is only enough to get you to the bottom of the mountain. After that, without proper insurance, you’re on your own.
So what’s it to be? Swoosh or Foosh?