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.
Splurge 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.