Snowboarding is a great way to have fun and get exercise during cold winter months. It's fairly easy to learn, but injuries do happen, some of them serious.
Follow these safety tips to help you stay safe on the slopes.
Safe Snowboarding Gear
The right gear can help prevent injuries. Be sure you have:
- A snowboard, boots, and bindings fitted by a trained professional.
- A helmet that's made for snowboarding. Be sure it fits properly and keep the chin strap fastened.
- Goggles that are the right size and tinted for sun protection. Sunglasses can be worn instead, but goggles help you see better if it rains or snows, keep your face warmer, and are better at protecting your eyes from tree branches and other hazards.
- Warm clothing, including a hat, gloves or mittens, snow pants, and a winter jacket. A neck gaiter (which goes around your neck and can be pulled up over the face) can help keep your face warm. Dressing in layers can help you adjust if you get too warm. If you wear thermal underwear, get the kind made of wool or synthetic material rather than cotton, which takes a long time to dry and will make you cold.
- Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF of 30 or greater for daytime snowboarding, even on cloudy days.
- Wrist guards, especially for beginners.
On the slopes, everyone needs to follow these rules:
- Know which slopes are right for your skill level and snowboard only on those.
- Don't snowboard alone.
- Stay on marked paths and never go past the snowboard area boundary or into a closed area.
- Pay attention to warning signs such as "Slow skiing area" and "Caution."
- Before you start down a hill or merge onto a trail, look uphill to make sure no one is coming toward you.
- Be aware of the snowboarder's blind spot. Because snowboarders face sideways, they can't see what's behind them. They need to look back and make sure no other snowboarders or skiers are in their blind spot before they make a sharp turn.
- If you pass other snowboarders or skiers on a narrow trail, call out "On your right" or "On your left" to let them know you're coming up behind them.
- Never stop in the middle of a trail or in any spot where you can't be seen from above, such as below a drop-off.
Lessons can be helpful for snowboarders of all levels. Sign up for a lesson from a trained instructor certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). Private lessons will give you the most one-on-one time with an instructor. Less expensive snowboard group lessons work well too and are a chance to make new friends.Back to Articles
Dealing With Sports Injuries
You practiced hard and made sure you wore protective gear, but you still got hurt. Read this article to find out how to take care of sports injuries - and how to avoid getting them.Read More
This site has tips on things like preparing for a new season, handling sports pressure, staying motivated, and dealing with injuries.Read More
Sports and Exercise Safety
Playing hard doesn't have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.Read More
Safety Tips: Skiing
There's a lot to love about skiing, but it can also present some very real dangers. Follow these tips to stay safe on the slopes.Read More
Safety Tips: Sledding
Sledding is a lot of fun, but can also cause injuries, some of them pretty serious. To keep yourself safe while sledding, follow these safety tips.Read More