Stay safe on the slopes: Tips for skiers and snowboarders

February 28, 2023 Providence Oregon News Team

Hitting the slopes can be a fun, rewarding and healthy activity for skiers and snowboarders, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks.

Christopher Van Tilburg, M.D., director of occupational and travel medicine, spoke with KPTV Channel 12 about best practices, as well as what we can do if trouble occurs on the mountain.

“The best thing I can say for people is to stay within your skill limits,” says Dr. Van Tilburg.

Beginners should take lessons and get acquainted with proper gear, and even advanced skiers and snowboarders need to know their personal boundaries.

Understanding our bodies is also vitally important. Shivering isn’t an absolute indication of a potential health hazard, but Dr. Van Tilburg says it is the best initial warning sign we have.

“When our bodies start shivering, that generally means we’re actually to the point where we need to take action to warm up,” he says.

If an emergency does happen, the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Mountain Clinic has been providing care for decades at the base of Mount Hood Meadows. Dr. Van Tilburg says the clinic can conduct X-rays, provide treatment and utilize advanced life-support equipment when needed.

To avoid a trip to the clinic, and injuries in general, Dr. Van Tilburg stresses the importance of staying sober on the slopes. He describes drinking as being part of “ski culture,” but says it creates unnecessary risk for skiers and snowboarders.

“We don’t ever think about drinking alcohol and going for a run, or drinking alcohol and playing tennis,” says Dr. Van Tilburg.

Watch the news segment:


Watch the news: KPTV Health Watch: Mountain safety with Dr. Van Tilburg

Learn more: Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Mountain Clinic

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