When it comes to keeping your teeth in your head and staying safe with all that winter fun has to offer, there are two things to keep in mind: avoiding obstacles and knowing how to fall correctly. Actually, having an understanding of how to fall is a good thing to know even if you’re just walking during the winter, let alone skiing, sledding, snowboarding, skating, or snowball fighting. Let’s take a look at each one of these fun winter activities and “walk” you through exactly how to stay safe out there.
1. Skiing: Hey! How would you like to put on the most awkward boots you’ve ever worn in your life, lock yourself onto two long wooden boards polished with wax and go super-fast down a snow-packed, sometimes icy trail with trees at every turn? Sound like fun? Well, to skiers the world over, fun is exactly what that sounds like! If you’re of the same ilk and are just getting started, or have been away for a while and would like a refresher course before you hit the slopes, here’s some good advice:
- Don’t ski above your experience level: Thinking you can attack a black diamond (difficult) hill when you haven’t skied in years, or worse, never skied, is a recipe for disaster. Work your way up to the tricky hills – slowly.
- Practice turning: 24% of dental trauma while skiing is the result of running into other people. That’s a lot less likely if you know how to turn correctly. Get a lesson before you hit the slopes full-force. It’ll help you keep your teeth, and prevent you from looking really silly on the slopes when you run into your ski partners.
- Know how to stop and know how to fall: A lesson will teach you how to stop the correct way. Take one. And if anyone tells you all you have to do is point the tips of your skis together to stop, be sure they take a lesson as well. As far as falling goes, here’s some good prep aimed to protect you.
2. Snowboarding: As with skiing, the same basic rules apply. Falling is obviously a bit different, since your feet are locked on a single board – but, here’s an excellent video to walk you through that move.
3. Sledding: Backyard fun is almost never as fun as when you are on a sled. But sledding can certainly be dangerous if you’re not careful. Many injuries to sledders (both dental and otherwise) come from plowing into yard obstacles, or after being ejected from the sled and onto the ground. The key is to know your environment, avoid uncontrollable speeds, and to understand that sometimes ejecting yourself from the sled is much safer than following it into the path of a stationary object.
4. Skating: Since recreational skaters don’t tend to get up to speeds that are dangerous, and most people are lucky if they can even get moving on skates, injuries from skating are mainly due to falls where one’s face comes in contact with the ice. Knowing how to fall correctly is key, and understanding the limits of your expertise will help protect you as well. Skate confidently, but don’t overdo it.
5. Snowball Fights: Snowball fights can be one of the best things ever - even when you’re an adult. They’re also a great way to lose a tooth, get a black eye and bruise the heck out of your face if you’re not careful.
Practice safe snowball fighting by:
- Building a fort to protect yourself from your crazy buddies
- Having a supply of snowballs on-hand so you can retaliate without getting overtaken by too heavy an assault
- Have a “safe word” that will automatically cancel play if you’re in danger
- Know how to duck fast
- Ensure all players don’t throw snowballs with ice or rocks packed within
Well, there you have it. Staying safe and having fun is pretty darn easy if you take just a few precautions. Stay safe out there and enjoy the winter!