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Winter Ski Tips and Benefits of Physical Therapy in Denver


November 29, 2017

Denver is one of the top cities in the world that people travel to for ski trips. With nearly 30 ski and snowboard resorts, and a long season for the sport thanks to high altitudes, living in this area gives you an advantage to spend time exploring slopes some people wait a lifetime to visit. Whether you are new to the sport, or are a seasoned veteran, did you know that physical therapy in Denver can help? Working with a physical therapist can ensure that you are using proper form to reduce injury and improve your time on the slopes. With these tips you can ensure that, whether you are a beginner or a season vet, your ski time is the best it can be!

Beginner Musts

If you are new to Colorado skiing, you definitely live in the right place! As an introductory skier, one of the best things you can do before hitting your first hill is testing yourself skillset on an indoor, controlled setting, or an outdoor one specific to beginners. Skiing is made up of quick movements and you want to avoid people and obstacles. When getting started, make sure you get rid of any of your ski jitters. Your body should be relaxed and loose, not tight and firm. With the quick movements, so you will need to practice to get use to the technique and form. Be patient, you will get it!

When preparing for your trip, hold off on buying any new equipment. It will take time to get accustomed, so wait until you feel comfortable on the slopes before making an investment. In the interim, you can rent. For clothing, work with a professional to get properly fitted for your clothing and any boots or equipment you may need. This is a crucial step to ensure you have a safe and successful experience. When items do not fit properly, it will negatively affect how you perform.

Last, even in the dead of winter, you can still get a sunburn. Add in Denver’s high altitude and it can be even easier to end up with one. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun on all exposed areas. You can purchase ski goggles that will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Be sure to find ones with UV ray protection. For any other exposed areas, use sunscreen. Finding a UVA sunscreen will help block the more harmful UV rays from affecting your skin. Along with the benefits of offering protection, sunscreen also helps prevent signs of aging and should be incorporated every time you are outdoors.
When it comes to the SPF you use during your trips, aim to use at least SPF 30 or higher. Given that you are on a higher altitude, you will be more susceptible to burns. Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen (or less, depending on exposed areas) a half hour before going outdoors so it can fully penetrate your skin. If you plan on being outdoors skiing for most of the day, make sure you reapply. If you find you are sweating a lot, or have snow that gets on your skin, you may have to reapply more often. Follow the instructions on your sunscreen to learn how much to reapply.

Tips for Advanced Skiers  

The great thing about skiing is there is always something to learn, or a skill to perfect. A simple thing to remember is to “ski stacked,” which means to ensure you line up your body. This enables you to utilize your legs more to avoid twisting your waist when going down a hill. When using this method, a great tip to help you know if your form is proper is to have your arms parallel in the same direction that you are using your skis. When you are taking turns, make them with your arms and legs without twisting your mid-section.

Next, practice ankle flexion. This technique is done by using the muscles in the ankles instead of putting pressure on the front of the feet. In this position, you will keep the joints in your ankles in a locked position. Make sure you are refraining from adding too much pressure on the tip of your ski boots. When this happens, you could fail to ski properly and possibly even fall. When in this position, keep your hips in line and pay attention to your balance so you do not lose your footing.

Last, make sure your short turn skills are up to par. These are similar to stacked skiing where you will turn in a parallel motion. Many different layouts are different, so it is important to brush up on your skills and be prepared. On these turns, you will focus on using your legs instead of your torso for the motion. As you are going into your short turns, watch your speed. If you have a few in a row, make sure your timing is consistent on each to help you maintain your form and balance.

Incorporating Physical Therapy

As with any sport, it is important to visit a physical therapist—whether you are new to skiing or are on an advanced level. For new skiers, a physical therapist can teach you proper form and posture. For those who ski often, you can work with a physical therapist on your existing form. You can show them how you approach different techniques. From there, they can assist you by recommending improvements to your overall form or technique.

Keep in mind while skiing is exercise, which can be difficult at times, it is important to not be in pain. If you find you are in pain, this is something to discuss with your physical therapist as soon as possible. When an injury goes unattended, it can lead to larger issues down the road.

To help you with your skiing and other athletic questions, you can receive specialized physical therapy in Denver at Cherry Creek Wellness Center. We have locations in Cherry Creek, Lone Tree, Stapleton, Wheat Ridge and on the west side of Denver. Our team will help you perfect your form and help you avoid injuries while skiing or practicing other sports. As we gear up for the ski season, make sure you contact Cherry Creek Wellness Center in Denver today to schedule your appointment.