With all this fresh powder, any skier or boarder has to be excited to hit the slopes. As an avid skier myself, winter is one of my favorite times to enjoy all that Colorado has to offer. But sometimes, powder seekers experience a pain that’s greater than I-70 traffic, even with the new toll lane: ankle or foot pain. Colorado mountains are too beautiful for any skier to be sidelined with pain, so here are some quick tips to keep your ice in your après ski drink and not on a foot injury.
The Right Fit
Whether you are a skier or a snowboarder, a solid foot foundation is essential to a great experience. However, both snow enthusiasts and beginners alike can underestimate the impact of getting a proper fit when selecting new equipment. The reasons vary from the old-school mindset that ski boots are supposed to hurt to the online shopper that forgoes a proper in-store fitting. Improper fit accounts for a massive amount of foot and ankle pain. As you prepare for the holidays, let’s keep your boots off the naughty list with three simple thoughts:
1.) Ensure that the footbed of your boot is designed to match the features of your foot.
2.) Early rising is for hitting the slopes, not for buying boots. When shopping for boots, wait until mid-day when your foot is at full form from walking and circulation.
3.) Even if you are buying online, first work with an in-store professional that is up-to-date with technological advancements, support, and fit. It’s great to find a bargain, but a poor fit can create pain that’s much more costly in the long run. Proper fit eliminates a great deal of nagging foot and ankle pain.
The Right Form
Skiing involves two elements that aren’t particularly helpful for athletic movements – early morning hours and cold temperatures. Most people remember to warm up a car that’s been parked outside before heading to the slopes, yet many forget to warm up and stretch their bodies. Simple foot flex and ankle stretches are the gifts that keep giving all day long. Stretch before putting on your gear. Stretch before the first run, after lunch, and any time during a long ski day when your body is talking to you. Your body is smart, and it does talk to you. Can you hear it? Ankle flexing on the chair lift is a great exercise to keep your muscles engaged.
Finally, remember that while your board or skis are rigid, your body is not. If your alignment isn’t correct, your body and its joints are paying the price. Improper alignment between our bindings and our body can strain your joints, causing pain and injury. Snowboarders, in particular, can experience ankle strain or injury if bindings put their feet or ankles in positions that create excessive stress. Fortunately, foot alignment can be quickly corrected with the proper adjustments from an equipment pro. If you start to feel pain after a run or two, don’t just suffer through it! Most resorts have an equipment pro on site that can take a look and adjust. Experience is a big factor, too, so make sure you’re equipment is set to fit your skill level.
If you’re getting ready to head up for your first day on the slopes, make sure you have the right fit and the right form to be injury free this season!