1. Warm up properly.
If you are a black diamond skier, warm up on some blue runs. If you were a blue level skier, warm up on some green runs.
2. Be aware of your surroundings.
While nothing is better than skiing with your air pods in your ears listening to your favorite Alpine ski playlist, listening to your surroundings is very important. When you’re on the chairlift for example, and the lady sitting next to you is nervously asking your husband how to get off the chairlift…that is a conversation you want to hear. Because when you’re getting off the chairlift, you want to make sure you are no where near her as you exit.
3. Make sure your equipment is properly fitted.
Check that your bindings are not too tight for your ski boots based on your ski ability. If you wipe out, you want to make sure your skis pop off your boots. A ski that does not detach can catch in the snow and tear your ACL.
4. Listen to your body.
When your legs are tired, you’re done for the day. I know everybody wants 10,000 vertical feet of skiing before 10 AM and 30,000 vertical feet of skiing before 3 PM, but if at 2 o’clock your legs are tired, end your day. It’s very important that you’re not skiing with tired legs.
5. Make sure you’ve worked on strengthening your hamstrings in the gym.
Your hamstrings protect your ACL. So hit the hamstring curl machine prior to heading out west or jumping on that chairlift. Also, when you’re riding a bike, make sure you are clipping into your petals and pulling back during the up stroke of your pedal stroke on the bike because that will strengthen your hamstrings.
The top image is a normal ACL(a happy skier’s knee) and the bottom image is a torn ACL (a sad skier’s knee).