Keep your doctor informed. Always let your doctor know if you are a regular skier or if you’re thinking starting or returning to the sport. Nobody wants to have to ask permission to do something they enjoy. But, when it comes to skiing, talking with your doctor could save you from pain and injury. Your doctor knows you well and understands your abilities and limitations. His or her input is crucial. If your doctor has recommendations to help you ski safely, follow them. If your doctor has reasons why you should not ski, accept the fact and find other activities to enjoy.
It’s ski season! People of all ages can’t wait for ski season to begin so they can hit the slopes. Of course, the time comes for everyone when skiing is no longer advisable, but plenty of folks in their “seasoned” years still get out there on the slopes and enjoy ski season. How long is it okay to keep skiing? Well, first and foremost, it’s an individual decision that should be made with input from each individual’s personal physician. Proper preparation, equipment, location, and instruction are also crucial.
Today, advances in ski equipment…better grooming and maintenance of ski runs and trails… modernized, quicker chairlifts… and instruction based on science and body mechanics are all helping to make it possible for aging skiers to enjoy the sport longer. Older skiers may not be speeding down mountains or taking chances like they once did in their early days, but…they shouldn’t be! When you get to a certain age, skiing is no longer about impressing other people or taking risks. It’s about enjoying yourself in a smart, safe way.
The appeal of a day out on the slopes changes for many skiers as they age. Lots of us have health issues or old injuries we must stay aware of while out on the slopes. Our bodies and muscles aren’t what they used to be. We don’t have the strength or flexibility we once had. We are no longer quite as coordinated or quick. Our sense of balance along with our distance and depth perception may have changed. And, let’s face facts… it would definitely take us a whole lot longer nowadays to recover from a new injury.
With age, skiing tends to become less about the thrills and more about the overall experience. It revolves much more around things like the beauty of the environment… the smell and feel of new snow… the sensation of snowflakes landing on your face… the warmth of sunshine on a cold day… the camaraderie shared among skiers… and the exhilaration of doing something that helps keep you feeling youthful and happy.
Here are a few tips from “seasoned” skiers who still enjoy getting out there on the slopes and try to do so wisely and safely.
Invest in the right equipment. Do not use old outdated ski equipment. Get rid of the skis and boots you used a few decades ago. Today, skis and boots are built differently. Today’s skis are designed to be easier, safer, and perform better than those old, straighter, thinner, and longer skis of the past. Boots provide more support, comfort, and warmth, and they also work better with skis.
Have your bindings adjusted by a professional. To ski safety and reduce the risk of injury, it's vital for bindings to be adjusted properly. Height, weight, age, ability level and boot length all affect how bindings should be adjusted. Most ski areas and resorts have a professional on staff who can adjust your bindings for you.
Check weather and skiing conditions before heading out. Ski injuries are more likely to happen in bad weather when conditions are not good and visibility is low. Before going skiing, always find out if snow, sleet, fog, or any other bad weather is expected. Make sure the slopes have been groomed and check condition updates at the ski area or resort regularly between ski runs. Notices are often posted near the ski lift.
Take a few lessons. Even if you’ve been skiing your entire life, it can be a good idea to take lessons tailored to your specific age group. You will learn some age-related skiing guidelines to follow that will help you avoid injury and allow you to remain active in the sport a lot longer.
Prepare before hitting the slopes. Skiing is a physical sport and your body needs to be in reasonably good shape to enjoy it. Don’t expect your body to simply adjust to the demands of skiing. Exercise during the rest of the year and warm up your muscles and joints before hitting the slopes. Remember to stay hydrated while out on the slopes as well.