Snowboarding has increased in popularity worldwide in the past three decades, with the sport’s inclusion in the 1998 Nagano Olympics serving as an introduction for many. With more winter resorts accommodating the burgeoning number of active snowboarders across the country and the world, and more trying the sport for the first time, an increase in injuries, some specific to winter sports in general and snowboarding in particular, was inevitable.
Pro snowboarder and AASI Level 3 certified instructor Blake Tholen Clark has seen his share of injuries in amateurs, many resulting from poor technique. The head developer of Flowing Freeride Pro Snowboard Training shared some of his thoughts on the best practices in preventing and healing them in this guest column.
You want to stay healthy when doing a physical activity like snowboarding or skiing. You need to train during the off-season. Stay active by going to the gym, bike, hike, run, swim or do other physical activities. You need to eat and drink the right foods and liquids to stay healthy. I live and work in the mountains and I need to drink a lot of water. It is important to stay hydrated so you don’t cramp up, to help prevent sickness and deteriorate joints and muscles.
Stay active by doing things that you love. I love snowboarding. I love mountain biking. I love hiking. I love being in the mountains, traveling and I like to being active and being able to move. I want to be able to enjoy the things that I love doing in life. I go to the gym, stay active and treat my body well. Don’t drink too much. Don’t excessively use drugs. Try to keep things in moderation. Sometimes you have to use medication, you have to use drugs to to help medicate to help you heal but just know that you become immune to those medications. You build up a tolerance and then you have to use more. Try to use natural alternatives.
I look at myself and I compare myself to other mates that I went to school with and they don’t look like me. They look older and they’ve just aged more or they have more stress. They also might not exercise as much as I do. Snowboarding and skiing keeps me looking and feeling young. I try to limit the amount of stress in my life. I keep my house clean, things tidy and that way I stay clean and organized. Having good hygiene is part of it too. I make sure whenever I come home from snowboarding that I shower, get out of my boots and change into clean underwear and socks. I shower again in the morning too so that I stay fresh. You don’t want to have all that sweaty bacteria staying on you, get that off. I like to shower in the snowboard season two times a day.