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Wintersports are recreational or competitive activities that take place on the snow. These sports can be either individual or team sports and were traditionally played in cold areas during winter however due to the increase in popularity in recent decades, artificial snow and ice are being used to hone the sports.
Wintersports are played up to the highest professional level and when done so can be extreme on the athletes that compete in them both mentally and physically.
Skiing refers to any activity undertaken on skis. From alpine skiing in European resorts, to freestyle riding on artificial snow, to dropping out of helicopters into backcountry bowls, this umbrella terms covers them all. It is well known for being a very sociable sports as well as one which can lead to accidents. For a long time, skiing was also seen as an elitist sport, however with the emergence or artificial snow centres, cheaper European travel and a more free-thinking attitude, skiing has become a much more inclusive sport.
Minor injuries, including twists and sprains, are relatively common in alpine and piste skiing and as expected, the more a skier skis, the more likely they are to pick up an injury at some point.
Knee injuries are particularly typical, with many more seasoned skiers than any other group of people suffering from Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries. The ACL is one of four ligaments that help stabilise the knee. In skiing, when the knee is straightened and twisted at the same time, the ACL can be easily injured. If the ligament is badly damaged, it may require surgery. The best way to avoid an ACL injury is through practicing good skiing techniques and not pushing your boundaries too hard.
For many winter sports fans, snowboarding is the much younger, less stylish and more dangerous sibling of the more acceptable sport of skiing; however, as snowboarding turns 40 years old and with its inclusion in the Olympics, more people are choosing to give it a go. In its simplest terms, snowboarding is an alternative winter mountain sport using one board instead of two skis. Riders use the edges of their board in combination with their weight to control their movement, just as skiers do with their skis.
Resort igures show that on any day, twice as many snowboarders report injuries as skiers; however, half of these injuries occur to those in their first two weeks of snowboarding, making the learning process sound like a painful one.
Ski cross is a freestyle form of ski racing. Rather than simply racing down a gated course against the clock as in traditional slalom skiing, ski cross requires skiers to clear a series of manmade and natural jumps, rollers and banked turns.
Ski cross can be a very dangerous sport. In fact, any injury you can think of is possible during ski cross, from minor bruises to broken bones and head injuries or worse. When organisers design and develop ski cross courses, every effort is taken to ensure that the banks, rollers and jumps are in perfect condition and that the landings are stable. Races are often postponed in poor snow conditions or bad visibility, and several layers of fencing is used to keep spectators out of the way of racers who might fall or skis that might come off.
Despite this, many people still want to give ski cross a go, and plenty of resorts are happy to include a ski and boarder cross course either on the piste or in the snow park. However, it is not a good idea to try it in the absence of proper regulation.