Preventing Injuries While Participating in Winter Sports

Ways to Avoid Winter Activities Injuries

With some much-needed rain and snow in Northern California this past week, many people can’t wait to hit the slopes. But while activities like sledding, snowboarding, skiing, and ice skating are great ways to enjoy the cold winter, they can also be risky. Thousands of people suffer serious injuries from these outdoor winter activities yearly.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 200,000 people sustained injuries in 2018 while participating in winter activities. These injuries mainly came from tobogganing, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, and sledding.

Common Winter Sports Injuries

Common injuries from winter sports include joint dislocations, concussions, fractures, strains, and sprains. The type of injuries varies from sport to sport.

Snowboarders have a higher chance of concussions, wrist injuries, and tailbone injuries. Snow skiers will likely suffer knee injuries, especially anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. According to a study, head injuries make up 20 percent of the country’s nearly 600,000 snowboarding and snow skiing-related injuries annually.

Common Injuries by Age and Sex

Some winter activities injuries are more common in those of a specific age or sex. While the majority of younger people suffer sledding injuries, most middle-aged men suffer snowmobiling injuries, and more women suffer downhill skiing injuries.

Children who ski downhill are more likely to suffer fractures at the top of their feet. While their ankles and feet are stabilized in the ski boots, the top area remains unprotected. A common injury among children who snowboard is a growth-plate hand fracture, especially among those not wearing wrist guards.

While older people tend to break bones in stumbles, younger adults suffer more sprains and strains. The most common injuries when downhill skiing for adults is a torn ligament and a skier’s thumb.

When to See a Doctor for Your Injuries

After a head injury, watch for headaches, dizziness, loss of memory, visual disturbances, and light intolerance. All of these symptoms indicate you should seek medical care immediately.

How to Prevent Injuries

Most of these injuries are preventable. Below are some safety tips to reduce your risk of injury:

  • Check your gear before heading out to ensure it’s in good condition, whether it’s your skis, skates, or helmet.
  • Go with a friend instead of going alone. This way, someone can help you if you are injured.
  • Stretching before you start your activity is essential to warm up muscles, so you don’t do something beyond your capabilities.
  • Learn how to fall properly. Don’t stick out your hands to try and break your fall. Instead, tuck and roll so your upper body takes the brunt of the fall. You’re less likely to have a fracture or ligament tear.
  • Take breaks often and stop before you’re too tired.
  • Having plenty of water to combat dehydration is vital.

Below are more sport-specific safety tips.

Snow Skiing and Snow Boarding:

  • Take lessons first if you are a beginner or new to the sport.
  • Wear protective gear and a well-fitted helmet.
  • Be aware of changing snow and weather conditions.
  • Ski only on designated trails and never go outside the boundaries.


  • Sled feet first, not headfirst.
  • Sled in an area free of trees or fences.
  • Watch for hidden hazards under the snow.
  • Roll off the sled if an accident is approaching.
  • Always be alert, even when you’re not sledding.

Ice skating:

  • Skate in the same direction as the other skaters.
  • Watch the ice for debris, cracks, and holes.
  • Don’t eat candy or chew gum while skating.
  • Make sure the skates are the proper size.

If an injury does occur, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible to ensure proper treatment and healing.

Watch YouTube Video: Tips to Avoid Winter Injuries. The following video shares tips on preventing injuries while enjoying outdoor activities this winter season.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. If you have suffered injuries in an accident in Sacramento or elsewhere in Northern California, let our experienced legal team help. We can handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on recovering. Call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to discuss your legal options with one of our knowledgeable accident lawyers. We always offer free, friendly, and compassionate advice.

Some of our past case results are available on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

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