The Injured Skiers Survival Guide

There’s noth­ing like get­ting knocked down at the tail end of your ski sea­son. But it hap­pens! You spend a cau­tious few months get­ting your snow legs back, mak­ing good deci­sions and turn­ing back when the con­di­tions look less than ide­al, then sud­den­ly it’s almost spring, you’re fly­ing down the trails and coast­ing through the back­coun­try with the swag­ger and con­fi­dence of a mod­ern day cow­boy. When brava­do col­lides with a steep creek bed, or you huck just a lit­tle too big, or your (big) head gets cozy with a tree trunk, injury results. Whether you’re nurs­ing a torn ACL, con­cus­sion or a sep­a­rat­ed shoul­der, here are some tips for survival.

Over­dose on climb­ing porn
Unless you make turns all year, your ski sea­son may be a wash. At this point, your num­ber one goal should be pre­serv­ing your sum­mer. The best way to avoid the seduc­tive slopes is to remind your­self of your sum­mer love, be it moun­tain bik­ing, climb­ing or pad­dling. Now is the time to over­dose on Shar­ma flicks, bik­ing mags and Dirt­bag Diary Pod­casts- as long as there is no men­tion of snow. It’s all too tempt­ing get out there again under the guise of ‘going easy’ and ‘cruis­ing groomers,’ but one slip (or one col­li­sion with an out of con­trol new­bie) and you’ve vast­ly expand­ed your recov­ery time.

Unless you’ve gone and done some­thing real­ly spe­cial, the rules of recov­ery are gen­er­al­ly the same across the board. Get spe­cif­ic instruc­tions from your doc­tor, phys­i­cal train­er or spe­cial­ist, write them out by hand and tape them to your fridge as a ubiq­ui­tous reminder. Ice, rest, ele­va­tion, and slather­ing on the Arni­ca can all be achieved while watch­ing movies (see tip #1) and drink­ing a cold one, so there real­ly should be no excuse. If stay­ing out of har­m’s way is just too hard for you, try some sim­ple bribery. For every day you keep off the leg or wear your sling, put five dol­lars into a bank account or ceram­ic pig. Save up for a new car­bon fiber pad­dle or a hefty addi­tion to your trad rack- some­thing that will remind you of the sun and vital­i­ty to come.

gympactSplurge on Fit­ness
As an avid out­doors per­son, you might feel like a fish out of water inside a gym. Now is the per­fect time to splurge on a per­son­al train­er, who will help you nail down a rou­tine, main­tain your fit­ness lev­el and strength­en your injured joints or bones. If you’re feel­ing pinched, think of the mon­ey you’re sav­ing on gas, lift tick­ets, and apres-ski dinners…it eas­i­ly adds up to one ses­sion with a train­er. To real­ly jump­start your­self,  down­load the Gym­Pa­ct app- an addi­tion to your phone that lit­er­al­ly pays you for stick­ing to your work­out rou­tine. Be care­ful- it also tax­es you when you slack off.

You may not be skin­ning and sweat­ing like you were in Feb­ru­ary but stay­ing hydrat­ed has nev­er been more impor­tant. Stay­ing well hydrat­ed will great­ly improve the speed and qual­i­ty of your recov­ery. Car­ry around a water bot­tle with a slice of lemon and sip slow­ly all day. Try throw­ing a bonus dol­lar into the bribery pot every time you fin­ish three Nal­genes before dinner.

It can be real­ly crush­ing to see your friends’ cab­in trips and back coun­try tours show up on your Face­book feed as you sit around under a bag of ice. In fact, Face­book envy and inac­tiv­i­ty could slide you into depres­sion if you’re not care­ful. Try a break from Face­book or oth­er social media sights that are leav­ing you frus­trat­ed. Or, use them to ask for sup­port and advice. Turns out peo­ple who have sur­vived ski injuries, love to talk about sur­viv­ing ski injuries. For anoth­er source of cre­ative, inno­v­a­tive sup­port, check out the Super­Bet­ter app, an inter­ac­tive video game-turned-app where you are the hero and your ulti­mate goal is recov­ery.