Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries


The last thing on the snow-sports enthusiast mind when they hit the slopes is any thought of injury and therefore no thought to condition or for injury prevention.

  • It is advisable to undertake a tailored/individual programme of conditioning ahead of time.
  • In establishing an adequate programme, its important to take into account your ability level.
  • Skiers and snowboarders tend to get very different types of injuries, so the programme must be tailored appropriately.

How and why injuries occur:


  • snow is a unique and varied surface and a minor loss of balance can result in a dramatic fall.
  • Snowboarders usually fall forwards or backwards, putting shoulders, wrists, cervical and lumbar spine at risk.
  • Skiers tend to fall sideways and backwards, and when they do, the design of ski, boot and binding mechanism all increase the torsional stress on the knee.
  • Ski poles are often hazardous for thumbs during a fall.



  • high impact can lead to head injuries
  • low impact can cause skiers anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, as poorly stabilised knees are forced into rotation on a fixed base.



  • Most snow-sport injuries happen towards the end of the day
  • Poor technique / novices : ãs chance of a fall.
  • Loss of control often occurs when people ski or snowboard beyond their limits.
  • Equipment failure and inappropriate equipment (eg. a


Types of injury sustained:



    • forward falls commonly result in shoulder girdle injuries (eg. rotator cuff strains, clavicular fractures)
    • falls backwards commonly result in wrist fractures / strains, spinal injuries and head injuries.


    • injuries are more linked to ability level than in snowboarding.
    • Beginners spend a lot time in the “snowplough” position putting stress on the medial ligament (MCL).
    • As a skier becomes more experienced their skis become more parallel and thus can move into greater degrees of flexion which places stress on the patello-femoral joint (PFJ).
    • They will also ski at greater speeds so falls usually have a rotational component, putting the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and meniscus and collateral ligaments (or combinations of the above) at risk.


    Conditioning should include components of

    1. Cardiovascular endurance to maximise local muscle endurance.
    2. Flexibility and agility of all major muscle groups of lower limb.
    3. Strength
    4. Proprioception and neuromuscular control.
    5. Learning how to fall properly to avoid injury.
    6. Core stability.