Happily ever after
March 19, 2006
Happily ever after?
I spent the last week at WinterPark CO for more boarding instruction. Sandwiched between arriving sick with a cold and leaving with a dislocated elbow I had a terrific time. This season I've had a lot of great instruction and the best terrain in which to learn on, but I'm starting to think that on the slopes I'm a roaming klutz. Two out of the 10 days that I've boarded I've come away injured. Shoulder/wrist sprain, pulled ab muscle PAIN!!! and now home with a dislocated elbow. While in the resorts' emergency care the Dr shared that she experiences a lot more injuries with boarders than skiers on average. Why?
I skydive, hang-glide, mountain bike and most who know me would say that I enjoy cheap thrills. But this new found sport is beating me up. My instructors have all been pleased with my progression and this past final trip out west I hit cruiser stage and was able to ride a slow going <by choice> steep blue.
Now I don't want to switch to skiing - no interest, nor do I want to chuck all the giggles and grins that I've gotten so far from boarding. But I would like to know if this many injuries is common amongst boarders and do I need to prepare for a sport of bumpy rides.
Sorry to hear of your troubles. Hang in there. Are you wearing proper safety gear such as helmet, wrist guards, body armor, etc? Some high tech protective apparel sounds like it would pay dividends for you?
I've been knocked around worse walking my dog, so these bones can handle it. Amusing my husband is getting a kick out of it all. Sadist - haaaaa.
Sunscreen has been my only protector. Almost every experienced/ instructor I've spoken with nixed helmets and guards. Next season I'm soaking in Armor All and working on pre-season balance. Possibly take up Yoga.
Curious, if you're reading this thread and snowboard what do you deck yourself out in?
All I can say is, "Hang in there". Most folks who have snowboarded will tell you that the first several days are kind of painful. I know mine were. I even had a fall, face-forward, and got my arm caught under me and bruised a lung! After about 2-3 days of moderate pain, I had the hang of it. INHO, I think snowboarders are more injury-prone because we have a hard time making adjustments once things start to go wrong. If you're skiing and start to lose it, you can adjust your feet and legs INDEPENDENTLY of each other, while on a board, you're stuck with them all together.
I think the big key to success snowboarding is keeping your board on its (uphill) edge. I don't care what anyone says, "sliding" on your board is not correct form. I'll put in a shameless plug for the carving aspect of snowboarding by offering this link: http://www.bomberonline.com/articles/welcome_center.cfm
P.S. I ALWAYS wear a helmet. There have been numerous threads on this server about helmets, both pro and con. if nothing else, consider a helmet to protect you from those "once-a-year" skiiers who bomb down the runs and can't stop or turn!
"I would like to know if this many injuries is common amongst boarders"
Hate to tell ya' but yes & no. How old are you? That's the answer! You ever see any of the kids sore, beat up, and with those injuries?LOL A buddy of mine (40's) took a 'board class (with a bunch of 6 yo's) that buzzed all around him complaining that the ol' man was slowing the class down !!! He came back to the condo and spent the rest of the weekend battered and bruised in the hot tub! Ask youself this: what's the average age of a 'boarder, what's the average age of a skier? Oh, there's a few "older" good boarders, but far more good "older" skiers.
I'm not sure who told you that protection was unnecessary but a helmet is always a good idea (my wife just made me buy one) and wrist guards are a very good idea for beginner snowboarders. The downhill fall on your backside will break/sprain a wrist every time. I can't remember the exact stat but some ridiculously high percentage of snowboarders injure their wrist during their first few trips. I've also heard some beginners swear by the padded pants as a good last line of defense.
The good thing about snowboarding is that you may injure your self frequently but it's less likely to be serious. Usually nothing a hot tub and some time won't fix.
I ride at a pretty high level and swear by wrist guards and helmet, wrist guards at a minimum. You can pick up a pair that will go over your existing gloves for about $20 at Sports Authority and they will make a big differance. The main reason snowboarding beats you up is because when you fall the tendancy is to put out your arms to save yourself thus a high number of wrist and arm injuries. Believe me I've been there. The key is to fall without trying to use your arms to save yourself. Think about the shock you apply to your wrists and arms when you fall at that speed. Next time when you feel yourself going, not that you always can, make your hands into fists and try to get as low and small as possible then roll with it, don't try to fight it. Do this and you'll find it a lot less painfull. Not that it will be completely painless but then nothing worth having ever is. The pulled ab muscle is a new on to me and what you did to get that I have no idea.
Good excercises to do in off season is anything that works your core and if you can find another board sport that you think you can get a handle on it will help. Personally I mountainboard a little and it helps me with carving and balance, it also helps with conquering fear. Being afraid is your biggest enemy because it prevents you from committing and that causes mistakes and falls. Dropping in on a steep face requires you to commit. You can tell those who do from those who dont from their stance. Those who do actively lean into the hil and trust the board and their ability to get them down. Those who don't tend to shift their weight back over the tail and fear the drop, as a result they have less control and end up wiping out more.
Kennedy - couldn't have explained it better! Kids have a very low center of mass (like a foot off the ground) and roll with it. Adults have further to fall and it's their nature to stick their arms/hands out to break a fall (usually breaking other things). Kids' injuries are mostly from jumping and wild moves, adults' are from just plain falling down. LOL
Kennedy - The making a fist suggestion is a good one. There was a famous baseball player (maybe a lot of them) who used to always carry his batting gloves while he ran the bases. That way he would be making a fist when he slid into base and didn't break a finger/wrist.
Not fighting a fall is also a good one. I've become a falling pro (lots of practice
). It's usually more of a bounce and I'm back up without losing speed. Despite the number of times I fall, I haven't had so much as a bruise in years. My worst falls usually happen on greens and run-outs when I'm standing upright not prepared for anything.
Run outs on the flats are killers because it's hard to plant an edge especially at low speed. A little trick I figured out recently, as in two weeks ago at the canyons, is this - bend your knees enough so you can put your hands on your knees, kind of like you would if you're trying to catch your breath. As a result your weight gets a little more centered over your heel edge, it also transfers your weight to the edge better and takes the strain off from trying to maintain an edge at low speed.
I got to tell ya, watching my son learn to snowboard looks painful. He says snowboarders have the purple-ist butts.
When you catch an edge on a board you go down. There's no shifting to one leg and picking up the other. I equate it to a sack race. You are going to fall. But it's all part of the allure. I think its probably like when someone asks why I get a kick out of riding a Bike. If you gotta ask, you'll never understand! Keep it up some day you will only fall when you are trying something really stupid on your board!
It shouldn't take too long to get to the point of not falling much if at all. There's a few good techniques to learn early on that keep you on your feet longer. The other part is not rding anything too flat. I would consider Snowpark at Whitetail as a good example of a beginner slope for a board. The pitch is enough to stick an edge in and ride comfortably. The flatter the terrain the easier it is catch an edge. I still don't like flats but I'm at the point where I can rip over them quickly or have enough control to get by.
Pulled Ab came about when I was pushing myself hard. Stupid really, I was tired and frustrated with my progress. Thick headed and not looking where I was going, I hit a small hump, flew up in the air with my board above my head and slammed down as my torso twisted.
Your take on fear hit me at the right time. My latest injury was just that, the failure to commit. Because of an earlier tumble down this specific run I was extra squirrelly on it. I felt uncomfortable with my board and my ability to see it through. I'm hoping that by next season most of my hesitation will have been forgotten so that I can push ahead. At 40 something the body heals slower with fear coming on quicker.