Injury Prevention for Snowboarding

Nov 06, 2017

During the winter months, it is common for us to see injuries from skiing and snowboarding. Some of the most common injuries that can happen from snowboarding include:

○      Knee sprains/strains (including MCL, ACL)

○      Low back sprain/strain

○      Shoulder sprains including ACJ (separated shoulder) and rotator cuff pathology

○      Wrist injuries including sprains and fractures

○      Neck sprains including whiplash disorder

○      Coccyx injuries (tailbone pain)

○      Concussion

Over the years of learning to snowboard I have experienced a few of these but as a Physiotherapist, I know that a lot of these injuries can be preventable

Here are some tips for injury prevention on the hill this year:

1.   Get your off-season training done

The stronger you are before you step on the hill, the more runs your body can handle and the less likely you will injure yourself!

You are looking for a whole body workout, but the main muscle groups to whip into shape include quads, glutes, hamstrings, rotator cuff, core strength, back extensors, and some balance work.

Below is an example of a simple circuit that can be done at home with minimal equipment.



For the advanced boarders, work on your plyometric strength during the off-season to increase your explosive power on the hill, especially if you like to visit the park.


For the advanced boarders, work on your plyometric strength during the off-season to increase your explosive power on the hill, especially if you like to visit the park.


snowex6.pngDon’t forget about your aerobic endurance so that you don’t run out of breath after your first run! Pick your choice of running, biking, elliptical, or swim to pump up that heart and lungs.

20-30min a day at a pace that gets your heart rate up is a great start.

If these are easy, you can visit your physiotherapist for advanced strengthening ideas.

2. Complete a dynamic warm-up

You should always warm-up before sport. A dynamic warm-up means you incorporate similar movements to what you will be doing on your board. This prepares your muscles and joints for the runs you are about to do.

Some examples of dynamic warm-ups for snowboarding include:

  • Spinal rotation, Shoulder circles, Squats, Jumping, and Stretching of the shoulders and neck


snowex8.pngIt is also a good idea to do an aerobic warm-up to get your heart ready for activity and get your blood flowing to your muscles before you hit the hill. As an easy start, try jogging on the spot for a few minutes.

3. Learn to Fall

Seriously! This is something they teach at a young age and in the beginner stage classes. There is a right and a wrong way to fall!

If possible, avoid falling with your arm straight in front of you (called FOOSH injury) to prevent fractures to your wrist/arm.


 Avoid falling directly onto areas where there is little soft tissue protection including your knees and elbows. Also, avoid crashing directly onto your tailbone in order to prevent coccyx trauma. When falling, be conscious of the classic phrase “tuck and roll”, and use non-bony areas of your body to absorb most of the shock.


If you are a beginner and you find yourself crashing more than expected or you like to take risks off the jumps, make sure you invest in the proper equipment to protect yourself. There are some great inventions called “crash pants” or impact shorts that provide padding to the fall zones of your body.


And remember: always, always wear a helmet - regardless of skill level.

4. Know your skill level

This is an important one! Most injuries happen when boarders get stuck on a run that is too advanced for them.

Take a look at the chair map and plan out your day based on your skill level.

If you don’t have the confidence or experience to complete a double black run, then stay away from these runs in order to protect yourself - but also to protect the skiers and boarders around you.

If you would like to advance to these runs but just aren’t there yet - there are plenty of lessons available for all ages and skill levels to help you reach your goals.

If you did get an injury, or you’re unsure if you can get on the hill with your current injury - make sure you visit a physiotherapist to assess, treat, and advise on bracing if needed and get you back on the hill.  Give us a call at 780-458-8505 to book an appointment today!

Category: Jess Mahe, MScPT

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