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Avoiding Injuries - Snowboard Safety For Beginners

Feb 25, 2008
I have never been snowboarding before but I cannot deny how amazingly cool snowboarding holidays look. It now seems likely that I will get a chance to prove myself on the slopes this coming April. After watching a few videos on the internet, I concluded that good snowboarders really do look fantastic. Less than good snowboarders however, look injured on hospital stretchers, which then prompted me to look up basic snowboard safety.

This, however, did not mean that I am put-off from the impending experience, through the fear of pain. If you never did anything that scared you occasionally, you would never take part in anything. I am in the mood to be a bit reckless and do something exciting for once and snowboarding holidays are always great for raising the adrenalin.

As with all snowboarding holidays, in order to get the most out of the experience, and indeed to get out of the experience itself in one piece, a healthy knowledge of the dangers and the pitfalls is essential for a safe snowboarding trip, for yourself and your fellow boarders.

I was slightly amused to find out that snowboarding injuries are statistically similar to car accidents, there is a tendency to be more accidents among women but injuries in men are often more severe. It is 'bump in the car park' vs. '70mph head on collision' gender thinking.

Even if you are a strong skier and it is your first time on a snowboarding holiday, take a lesson or two to begin with. Just because you are a good skier, does not automatically mean you will be a good snowboarder as things like body tension and movement are very different from skiing. This means you will need much time to adjust, it also means the injuries you can sustain vary as well.

The most common injuries sustained while snowboarding are sprained or fractured wrists, elbow dislocations or contusions and rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder area. In addition, other common risks include neck injuries and concussion.

A good advice for beginners (or any snowboarder with safety in mind) is to invest in wrist and elbow guards, kneepads and a pad for your tailbone. People going on snowboarding holidays for the first time are more than likely to spend a significant proportion of their time falling on their backside and a bruised tailbone can be excruciating.

Most people have heard of the term 'tennis elbow', but not many people know that snowboarders have their own signature injury called Snowboarders Ankle. This amounts to a fracture to the lateral process of the Talus bone, located deep in the ankle and is rare in the general population. The injury gains its name by being 15 times more common in snowboarders and is very tricky to spot in the early stages owing to the swelling. If you suffer from sustained pain in your ankle after a fall, you may need a CT scan to rule out this sneaky fracture.

Prevention is simple, when out on the slopes, wearing ankle braces can offer more support, making serious injury less likely. Good training that you can do before, after and during your snowboarding excursions is using a wobble board. In addition, a popular and effective method of rehabilitation, involves balancing on a circular board on top of a half sphere. This works the muscles and ligaments in the ankle and knees, and can reduce repeat injuries cutting down rehab time dramatically.

As with all extreme sports, snowboarding does come with risks (it would not be half as exciting if it did not). The best snowboarding safety advice offered is also the simplest.

* Do not take on more difficult runs than you can manage safely.
* Be aware of other skiers and boarders.
* When trying something new or challenging, do not go it alone and do not let others experiment alone.
* Make sure all your equipment is in good condition and keep checking it.
* Resist the urge to show off. It can end badly.
* Do not give up on your first day, keep on persevering and you will do well.
* Remember to smile!
About the Author
Anna Stenning loves to take part in snowboarding holidays, and understand the importance of following safety procedures prior to taking part in any extreme sport break. To share her passion on activity and sport holidays visit http://www.alpineelements.co.uk/ski-holidays/snowboarding-holiday.html
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