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The Ski Season is Ending! Let's Recap a Winter of SkiFit for Performance & Injury Prevention


ski and snowboard injury prevention physical therapy Denver

Skiing is a dynamic, sometimes dangerous, but fun and challenging sport. Although injuries can't be prevented 100% of the time, there are things that can be done to help! Living in Denver, sometimes the hardest part about skiing is battling the traffic on I-70 and finding a parking spot. But, there is nothing like a bluebird, powder day in the Rocky Mountains!


SkiFit Preparations: Tuesdays and Thursday at The Denver Athletic Club

Starting in the fall of each year, I lead DAC members through a series of tests and exercises designed specifically to avoid skiing and snowboarding injuries. Testing includes a variety of mobility, strength, endurance, and balance tasks that incorporate movements that are necessary to keep the body healthy and adaptable during dynamic sports. The most common finding is large differences in performance when comparing the right side to the left side; it is this unevenness that can set the stage for various injuries.

Targeted exercises for ski and snowboard injury prevention physical therapy

Examples of tests:
  • Plank and wall sit hold time (to failure)

  • Y test for lower leg reach in various directions

  • Overhead squat mechanics

  • Balance testing with eyes closed

  • Push up challenges with hands in various places

  • Hop testing: distance you can single leg hop 3x in a row (compare side to side)

  • Shoulder mobility

  • Max push up and pull up tests

  • 500m row test or 1km run for speed

Examples of exercises:
  • Lateral Exercises: side step with band, side step ups/hops, side planks, lateral lunges, sideways bear crawls, heel taps off step

  • Rotation Exercises: curtsy squats, lunge + rotation with weight, palof press, single leg rope toss, wall squat + marching, various yoga movements

  • Balance: various positions on BOSU ball, single leg deadlift, various hop drills, ball bridge + leg lift

  • Proprioception: v-ups on ball, hop to targets, ladder drills with various patterns, bird dog with eyes closed

  • Strength and Endurance Training: wall sit holds, plank holds, pistol squats, upper body weights (ie biceps, overhead press, bent over row, etc.)

  • Cardio and Interval Training: 30sec on/30sec off on rower or bike, stair drills, step ups, jumping rope, obstacle course


Added benefits for participating in SkiFit

  • Great preparation for running and hiking in the spring

  • Increases understanding of previous injuries and how they may continue to effect movement and performance

  • Exposure to new exercises geared to your specific needs

  • The stronger, more balanced, and more even you are, the better you perform


Injuries of the season

Even with all the preparation, strength, and balance, unfortunately injuries still happen. These are a few of the injuries I have seen related to mountain sports in the physical therapy office this season:

- ACL tear: landed on a rock

- Hip dislocation & patella fracture: ski got caught on a fallen tree

- MCL sprain: going too fast in the moguls

- Meniscus injury: caught ice and fell awkwardly

- Patellofemoral pain flare-up: double ejection in rough terrain

- Ankle sprain & proximal fibula fracture: got caught going too fast in the bumps in flat light


It was a light ski year for me because of Boston Marathon preparation, a big home remodel project, and I couldn't find my ski boots (until 1 week after I bought new ones!). I still had a few great days on the mountain including Christmas in Breckenridge, a weekend in Crested Butte, and a backcountry hut trip. And no injuries!


Bluebird Ski day in the Rocky Mountains


Dr Jessica Klain PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, OCS, CNPT

Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT)

Certified Nutritional Physical Therapist (CNPT)

Certified Vestibular Specialist

Certified Concussion Specialist

Trigger Point Dry Needling Certified, Level 1&2

Certified Yoga Teacher

University of Florida, Doctorate in Physical Therapy (2009)

The Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science in Biology (2006)


Call/text: 720-295-0060

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