NEWS | December 17, 2019

VIDEO: Heading to the slopes? Do these two things first

Orthopaedic surgeon provides guidance for reducing skiing and snowboarding injuries


Exercise and hydration can help you avoid injury and enjoy the slopes all season. This video is best viewed in Chrome or Firefox.

(SACRAMENTO) — With the recent snowfall, many are heading to the Sierra to start their ski or snowboard seasons. There are things you can and should do first, however, to help avoid injury on the slopes. 

“The chances of getting hurt are higher at first, because these aren’t year-round sports and you probably haven’t worked the important muscle groups very hard in a while,” said surgeon Cassandra Lee, chief of orthopaedic sports medicine at UC Davis Health. 

Lee is often in the operating room repairing ski- and snowboard-related injuries. The most common are lower-extremity injuries, especially ACL tears.

“With a little preparation, you can focus more on having fun and worry less about getting hurt,” Lee said. 

She offers guidance in this video for reducing your chances of needing a break for rehab or surgery. Here are the highlights:


Cassandra Lee

  1. Do exercises to strengthen your core and glutes. Lee and colleague Judd Van Sickle, who leads the UC Davis Health and Human Performance Program, demonstrate five exercises that can help in this video.

  2. Hydrate by drinking lots of water. Water helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, and transport nutrients and energy to muscles. High altitudes also increase hydration needs. You probably get enough electrolytes from the food you eat. However, if you are working out super hard and sweating a lot, drink electrolyte-infused beverages as well. 

Additional resources

Surgeon Cassandra Lee talks about snow-sport safety (video)
Five exercises to do before you start your ski or snowboarding season (video)
Friday Freshies: Ski injuries featuring Cassandra Lee (Feb. 1 KOVR-TV podcast)
Sports medicine at UC Davis Health