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7 Ways to Avoid Injury as a New Skier

Hitting the slopes for the first time? Here’s what you should know to stay safe and come home in one piece.

Know your lifts.
You might not realize it, but getting on and off the lift is prime time for getting injured if you’re not paying attention to how it works. Lift usage is included in the skier code. "When you are entering a liftline, make sure you know how to use that particular chair," he says. Newer lifts will come to pick you up slowly, but some of the older machines won't run as smoothly or slowly. Pay attention to what you are doing and what the chair is doing, and loading should be a cinch.

Take breaks and stay hydrated.
"Typically, people are going to get hurt themselves late in the day when they are tired and heading back to the lodge," Guay says. Be aware of how you are feeling — take a rest when you need to, and make sure you load up on plenty of water or sport drinks before, during, and after your time on the mountain.

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Let yourself fall.
“People try to fight the fall by holding themselves up, and that's when the ligaments tear," Guay says. If you do start to fall backwards, it is better to sit down than resist it. Stay conscious of your form, especially when you feel tired or are coming off of steep runs to a flat area. If you zone out, and you might get hurt. Another appropriate time to sit down? If you’re speeding down a run, out of control. Sitting down will slow you down, and help you gain control before you run into another person or a tree.

Take a lesson.
"Lessons keep your technique moving in the right direction and help prevent bad habits," Guay says. He even recommends refresher lessons once a year or every other year for experience skiers, because lessons will sharpen up your skills on the little things that matter, like making sure you are balancing over your whole foot instead of leaning back in your boot.

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