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On a slippery slope to injury
Proper preparation is vital to having a fun time
at the snow. CPL Zenith King reports how to
avoid ending up icing aches and bruises
ATRIP to the slopes this snow
season could easily turn to
tragedy if you don't take the
Following a few simple steps could
mean the difference between a week-
end of family fun or bad coffee and a
long wait in the hospital's emergency
Australian Army Alpine
Snowsports Association president
MAJ Nelson Murray said many inju-
ries occurred when losing control
while skiing or snowboarding.
"Changing snow and ice conditions
can dramatically increase the difficulty
of terrain. Accidents are usually a
result of overbalancing when moving
through these changing conditions,"
"External factors often come into
play when an injury occurs, which can
include collisions with other skiers
or boarders, poor visibility in harsh
conditions, poor snow conditions or
hidden obstacles under the snow."
CAPT Robert Nelson, a ski instruc-
tor, said the most common injuries on
the snow fields were sprains, strains,
dislocations, ruptures, fractures and
"Defence members who participate
in snow sports are encouraged to take
it easy on their first couple of runs and
slowly build up intensity, to assist in
preventing injuries," he said.
"Correct warm-ups are impor-
tant before commencing any physi-
cal activity, but even more so when
the ambient temperature is very low
and increasing the body temperature
becomes more difficult."
Air Force Nordic and Biathlon
Association president SQNLDR
Andrew Scholten also recommended
warming up and cooling down as
doing so was important for preparing
the muscles for exertion.
"Warming up and getting the blood
flowing through the limbs and giving
them full range of movement through
stretching is another way we reduce
the opportunity for injuries," he said.
"We run stretch sessions before
going on to the snow and do some
light drills before every intensive train-
ing session or race. The best thing you
can do after skiing hard is to warm
down and then eat, rug up and stretch,
to refuel, clear the lactic acid and keep
the ligaments loose."
Navy Alpine Snowsports
Association vice president CMDR Phil
Ridgway said ensuring equipment was
in good repair and properly fitted was
another way to avoid injury.
"If you have the wrong equipment
for your standard you will struggle and
won't improve or, more importantly,
"Common mistakes are people
overstating their ability, buying the
'on sale' boards or skis for price rather
than what the ski or board does. Never
buy a board or skis just because they
match your other equipment.
CMDR Ridgway said individuals
should check their equipment before
use to maximise its chance of protect-
ing from injury.
"It's critical to look at bindings and
making sure they look right, you are
looking for deformation or breaks,"
"The physical state of your board
or ski is also very important. Look at
the running surface (base). If it looks
white or furry, it needs wax."
For overall enjoyment, CMDR
Ridgway said it was important to start
the day with dry clothing and to check
the conditions of goggles before hit-
ting the slopes.
"Make sure the goggles aren't
scratched, the inside lens is dry and
use some de-fog spray before you go
out," he said.
"If you have a big fall and fill your
goggles with snow, take a break and
get inside to dry them out."
HANG TIME: An ADF
member gets some
air while competing at
an international snow-
Photo: Aurore Valance
Bill blogs on ... motivation
MAINTAINING my moti-
vation over the recent
week has been difficult.
As the cold weather
has settled in, I've found
myself making up excus-
es not to train.
Fortunately, these have
been short-lived. Whenever
I've looked back on what
I've started, I've quickly realised that I
couldn't afford to slacken off now.
The wind and chill factor coming
off Lake Burley-Griffin in Canberra
is enough to freeze me to the bone, so
I've opted to take my running to the
I don't actually like running on the
treadmill; I find myself looking over
to the runner beside me and trying to
keep up with them.
Oh, and I need to mention that I've
allowed myself a pig out.
On a recent Saturday
I had family visit from
Echuca and, being new to
Canberra, we wanted to
take the chance to eat out.
The restaurant we went
o was Vietnamese and the
food was sooooo good. It
was the first time since I
started the campaign that I've enjoyed
a pig out, so the guilt factor didn't last
Another hour on the treadmill
should be enough punishment, don't
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bill will consult
nutritionists and explore food-related
issues relevant to his campaign in the
next edition. If you have any questions
he can put to the experts, email him at
and we will publish responses.
July 21, 2011
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