Dec 19

Snowboarding Gear for Safe and Comfortable Learning

Snowboarding GearAre you thinking of trying snowboarding, but reluctant because you’ve heard that you’ll be bruised after the painful edge-catching falls of the first three days? Or have you tried snowboarding but thrown in the towel because it hurts too much when you fall?

Snowboarding without injuries is actually a possibility. If you wear the proper snowboard ‘s protective gear you will greatly reduce the odds of hurting yourself when you snowboard.

You will not have to worry as much about possible pain and injury on the slopes, and you can relax and enjoy the ride. If you are lucky enough to always ride on soft deep powder, protection is not such a big issue. But hard snow happens, especially in Eastern America.

Most websites and magazines do not discuss snowboard safety and protection for the snowboarder. In some circles, it seems there is something stoic and admirable about enduring pain. If you disagree, and want to spend quality time on the slopes instead of nursing bumps and bruises on the sidelines or sustaining slow-healing injuries that can become chronic and arthritic, read on.

Main points of impact with snow and ice

When you ride, the main points of impact where your body will meet the snow or ice are predictable: knees, hands and wrists, butt side or tailbone, and head are the target zones. Protect these body parts and you will hurt less and have a lot more fun.

Knee protection for snowboarders

Knee protection is one of the most important pieces of snowboard protective gear. Your knees are bony and vulnerable. And they are complex joints that are painful and expensive to fix.

Wear in-line Skate Knee Pads beneath your snow pants. Make sure they are soft and well-padded on the inside and hard plastic to absorb shock and protect on the outside.

Good pads will also keep your knees warm and flexible, and you can relax so much more knowing that a fall forward is not going to be painful and damaging. Beginners fall on their knees often. Believe it or not, good knee pads also help to protect your wrists. Read on.

Hand/wrist protection for snowboarders

Falling forward with your weight on your hands is a good way to break a wrist. Fists should be balled up, with your thumb outside, as if you were ready to punch someone. Try to relax and fall evenly on your protected knees, and forearms.

You should wear good protective knee pads so you can distribute the weight on both your knees and hands. Then you won’t have to try to catch yourself with your hands.

Some experts argue that wearing skate wrist guards can increase the severity of a fracture by sending the “shock” up the arm to a larger bone. A new snowboard specific safety glove and wrist guard is now on the US Market. It was designed by a French Emergency Room physician who has worked on thousands of snowboard fractures, and it is supposed to reduce snowboard wrist injuries by up to 60%.

Butt/tailbone protection for snowboarders

People sometimes say “But I have plenty of natural padding on my butt.” Forget it. You need padding that is not connected to your central nervous system.

If you’re a beginner and if you don’t have anything else, you can slide some bubble wrap down the back of your pants. Use plenty! You’ll hear the bubbles pop when you fall and you’ll be glad you wore them. And you will have saved a lot of jarring to your spine as well as wear and tear on your buttocks and tailbone.

Once you’re convinced of the need to save your posterior, invest in some real padding designed for snowboarders. A hard plastic shell outside with soft padding on the inside is great. It will hardly be noticeable beneath your snow pants and it really helps.

Helmets for snowboarders

You might think (mistakenly) that helmets are only for people who ride in the trees, or do big tricks. But the first time you catch an edge and go CLUNK! And the back of your head hits the hard ground, you’ll reconsider.

A helmet also adds the comfort of warmth and dryness, as well as cushioning for your brain. With a helmet on, you can ride in the rain comfortably, and have the slopes almost to yourself.

You should buy a helmet in person at a shop. Correct fit is mandatory and tricky. Get expert help at the snowboard shop to be sure the helmet fits. And have your helmet checked for safety and fit next season if you fell on it a lot or grew dreds or shaved your head since you purchased it.

Hydration for snowboarders

Snowboarding creates heat. That means you are perspiring, even when it’s cold. Stay hydrated with water, and you will be able to ride longer and better. To replace the water lost perspiring and breathing the dry winter air, use a hydration system.

It is a backpack with a water bladder, and a tube to deliver the water to your mouth. Simple and efficient. Just grab the tube, bite the valve on the end, and sip. You can easily do it while sitting on the lift. You can wear it outside your coat or even under it on freezing days.

You can do tricks and ride the pipe while wearing a small hydration backpack, no problem. You can also throw an extra clothing layer, energy bar, tool set, or whatever in the hydration backpack. The backpacks come in many different sizes and configurations.

Safety for your board

It’s just as important to protect your trusty ride when you get off it. Hardcore riders never let their boards out of their sight. If you do, check yours at the lodge, or lock it with a small cable lock that you carry in your backpack. And be a good citizen of the snowboard universe. Before you buy a used board, check its serial number to make sure it wasn’t reported stolen.

Unlike with skating and surfing, you don’t have to endure pain to learn and ride your snowboard. Respect yourself. Dress for safety and comfort on the slopes, and you’ll come back to ride happily many a day.

Dec 13

What Is Heli Skiing?

Heli skiingHeli skiing is off-trail, downhill skiing that is reached by a helicopter and not by a regular ski lift. Heli skiing can be a great opportunity for most skiers, but read on for more information about Heli skiing and how to choose a Heli Skiing experience that will be safe and enjoyable.

Heli skiing is truly a global sport and can be enjoyed all over the world such as; Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, Himalayas, (India and Nepal) Russia, Turkey, Greenland, Argentina, Chile, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy.

Is heli skiing for you?

Heli skiing isn’t for everyone, so before you plan your trip, it’s best to see if a Heli skiing tour is something that will be safe and fun for you. So, is Heli skiing for you? Ask yourself the following questions to see if a Heli skiing tour would be a good experience for you.

You should be both capable and experienced in handling a mixture of conditions, whether they are on one plank or two.

You should have considerable skiing experience in a conventional resort setting.

Your run choices are predominantly blue/ black and you ski them with confidence in almost any conditions.

Your skiing ability has improved year after year and you are capable of multi-day ski trips.

You may not have the style of a paid skier, but you have the confidence to keep up with friends and you know when you are making some ‘good turns’.

You can make parallel turns with confidence and if the situation arises, you can; side-slip, step-up sideways, traverses and make kick turns.

In the process of becoming a better skier, you have made the transition from novice level equipment to high performance gear and can also spot the difference.

You may not have tons of powder skiing experience but you can maintain control in backcountry conditions.

Are you fit enough? Skiing and riding powder all day is super fun but is physically demanding. You need to be of a good level of fitness to get the most from your heli skiing experience.

Accept that there is risks involved? Safety is always the number one priority for Heli skiing oeprators. However, it’s necessary to realize that when you take on mother nature and her mountains, anything can happen. All heli skiing operations will require you to sign a comprehensive waiver of liability before you can go skiing.

Heli skiing tour

While heli-skiing, you can expect around 5-12 runs or heli lifts in a day. Your guides will constantly be assessing and searching for the best (and the safest) snow. In some locations, you might take one long run down the mountain, stopping in various places for break.

Most heli skiing operators offer daily, three, four and seven day packages. When avalanche conditions are high you may end up skiing easier more gentle slopes.

On most Heli skiing tours, heli-skiers are led by an experienced guide who will lead a group of skiers. You may be skiing with as little as 6 or as many as 12 skiers. This varies depending on which operator your book with. Most operations offer private heli skiing charters too.

Conditions

Heli skiing conditions can really vary, according to the day you’re skiing and where you’re skiing. However, Heli skiing is known for its opportunity to allow skiers to access amazing powder and this is your best chance to ski the champagne powder snow.

However conditions often vary from run to run due to wind and solar aspects. Be prepared for variable conditions. It’s best to check with your Heli skiing tour for specific information about the snow conditions and weather prior to booking your trip.

Heli skiing safety

The primary safety concern of heli skiing operators is the danger of avalanches. Reputable Heli skiing operations employ highly trained guides and pilots who are experienced in evaluating snow conditions, snow stability, and risk management. Don’t worry – most tours will include in the price the use of avalanche transceivers and will provide training on the use of them and other avalanche rescue equipment.

 

Heli skiing is the ultimate skiing and boarding experience. Endless acres of deep powder snow, solitude in the big mountains to be shared with friends and family what more could a skier or border want?

Dec 06

Carrying the Ski Equipment Safely

Carrying the Ski Equipment SafelyAs simple as it might appear to the inexperienced, injuries due to the way we carry snow skis and poles, to and from ski resorts, can be avoided, here is how to do it safely.

The first thing to know is that traveling with skis, boots and poles is not an easy thing to accomplish even for the best of skiers. That in mind, we will keep safety and ease of transport as our goal along with trying to look like the real “ski pro” that you are!

Preparation

Place your skis with the ski tips up and the bottoms (the base), facing each other.

You can obtain inexpensive “Velcro ski strips”, (you will need 2) from your ski hire shop, and you will place them on the top and on the bottom of both skis to strap them together, ski bindings to the outside.

Take your ski poles at the straps (“loops” that go around your wrists) and place the loop on each respective ski then tie them together with a short piece of cord around the “waist” or middle of the ski.

For traveling by car or plane, you will need to purchase a “ski bag” of good quality to protect the integrity of the binding mechanism. You want to avoid road dirt or salt entering and affecting the safety features of your bindings.

It is always a good idea to have the ski shop adjust and verify your bindings before starting to ski on the first day of your ski holidays. Ski bags, along with protecting your equipment, will also be a place that you can put extra socks, hats, gloves and other unbreakable items as there is always room to do so.

Last word of advice put your socks, gloves and hat in a plastic bag so they do not get wet, on the way to the ski area!

Boots go into a boot bag along with other essentials, tooth paste, shaving cream, and ski goggles (so they don’t get squashed)…because you will always want to take your boot bag with you on the plane. If your ski bag and luggage are lost, you can always hire skis, but your own boots are difficult to replace.

Your clothes and kit will go into a “back pack”, the size and shape is a personal thing but you need a good one with dorsal support and pockets on the side. This leaves your hands free and you will need them.

Make sure that all bags and pack have the same identifying mark (like a flag or patch or even a badge of your old school) and all your contact info sewn in the material and in plain view around the handles or pick up straps!

At the Airport

Best bet is to get a caddy and wheel your stuff over to the ticket counter, take a “stretch tie-down strap with hooks on both ends” this will help keep things in place on the caddy and comes in handy for a lot of other things on a ski trip!

At the ski area

After you have taken all your ski gear out of the ski bag have it checked at the local ski shop and arrange to pick it up in the morning if work needs to be done on the skis. Don’t forget to take your boots as the ski technicians can’t adjust your bindings without them! The fun part is carrying your skis over your shoulder.

Carrying skis:

Place your skis standing ski tips straight up, (Velcro straps still on) and after looking behind you swing the tails of your skis behind you. Bring your skis to a somewhat horizontal position with the “toe piece” front part of your binding behind your shoulder.

Let the skis rest on the shoulder with the tails at an angle that allows them to be over your head with the tips pointed down in front of you! You will carry your ski poles together in the other hand. Make sure that every time you turn around; be sure there is no one behind that could be hurt.

Now that you know how to do it, be very careful around others that may not!

Nov 29

Increasing the Workout Intensity for Your Muscle Building

One of the biggest difficulties facing bodybuilders is how can they be sure that all muscle fibers have been recruited and exhausted during a given exercise and it is only by achieving this that muscle gains can be maximized.

The simple answer is, you have work beyond failure and experience a higher level of training intensity than before. This also ensures that workouts remain challenging and continue to engender progress over time thus reducing the likelihood of regression.

But how do you go about intensifying your training? Fortunately there is a tried and tested path to follow as outlined below:

Increase resistance – increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure thus maintaining the muscle building process. Aim to increase the weight when you reach six to eight reps and failure does not occur.

Change the exercise – to achieve maximal gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained. Changing the angle (e.g to incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.

Reduce rest intervals – giving the muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work has the effect of increasing intensity.

Pre-exhaustion – when an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure. The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.

Introduce supersets – this involves performing two exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.

Use partial reps – at the point of failure you will not be able to complete the full range of movement for a given exercise. Completing a partial rep that uses only a segment of the lift will still work your muscles beyond the point of failure. This technique is especially useful to advanced bodybuilders as it allows them to increase intensity without adding extra routines that could cause overtraining.

Use isometric contractions – this involves holding the weight still at the point of failure to stimulate a static contraction in the muscle.

Employ forced reps – this involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced helper to attempt this.

Once you have added these techniques to your training regimen you’ll know you’ve done your best to maximize muscle growth.