If you're a skier returning to slopes, doctors have advice if you've been inactive

The pandemic has impacted many daily routines including physical activity. Doctors say some people have been more active and others less during the past year and they caution athletes including skiers and snowboarders use caution when returning.  

At California Ski Company in Berkeley, they're grateful the doors are open and note what a difference one year makes.

"Last year in March, when we had one of the biggest snow storms of the season, everything shut down," said general manager Bob Setterbo. Now the customers are back.

With 60 appointments a day for boot fittings, Setterbo says business is about 70% of what it was before COVID.

"Now that the resorts are open...we're getting a lot of people coming in for rentals, purchasing skies, custom boots," said Setterbo.

Dr. Brian Feeley is the chair of the sports medicine department at UCSF and says for athletes returning to their sports, preconditioning is important.

He says generally, skiers most often suffer knee injuries, while snowboarders are more likely to have concussions or shoulder and wrist injuries.

He says it could take years before we know the how the pandemic has impacted athletes.

"Similar to skiers and snowboarders, we don't know what happens when we take youths out of sports for a year and say, 'Okay. It's time to play football. It's time to play softball. Have at it,' " said Dr. Feeley.

Dr. Michael Fredericson is a sports medicine professor with Stanford University says he's interested in learning more about recent reports of more injuries among elite skiers.

"In the World Cup racers, there have been an increase in incidents particularly really catastrophic injuries and more so in the Americans," said Dr. Fredericson.

He is getting ready to submit a study for publication that looked at how the pandemic impacted professional endurance athletes including runners and cyclists.

"We found they have upward of a seven times increase in anxiety and overall mental stress in general, even in depression," said Dr. Fredericson.

As for skiers returning to the slopes, Dr. Feeley suggests core strengthening exercises along with squats and lunges, saying can help minimize the risk of injury.