Skiing and Snowboarding With An IBD or Ostomy (Video Included)

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Many activities can look scary when having an ostomy.  Some of them are and precautions have to be made.  You should only partake in many activities if they are in a safe environment.   Skiing is a sport that some ostomates stay away from.  There are so many factors and variables that go into a sport like skiing or snowboarding that it can be intimidating

These winter sports that so many love can be done with an ostomy and enjoyed.  The most important thing to remember is that they must be done when your body is strong.  If you’re uncomfortable with your body, then an activity with as much motion as skiing or snowboarding is hard.  When you body is strong, you can begin to think about going for a trip.

When planning your trip there are some factors that you must think about.  Here are a few.

1) Conditions: You don’t want to ski or ride when the conditions are tough.  If the mountain is full of ice and the chances are higher than normal for a fall or accident, then it’s not worth the risk.

2) Weather: If you aren’t going to be comfortable on the mountain then you won’t perform well.  This will raise the chances of something happening and possibly falling.  If the weather is going to be 10 degrees with 40 mph winds, STAY AT HOME.

3) Friends: Unless you’re an expert and are at a mountain you know, you should be skiing with friends who know you.  Being with people who know your situation will make you more confident and allow you to ski/ride better.

4) Stay Hydrated: When performing heavy activity in cold weather your body has to work hard.  You might not sweat but your body is still losing moisture.  Wear a hydration system and stay away from beverages that will dehydrate you.

5) Use Common Sense: No one knows your body better than you, so make a smart decision on if skiing or riding at this time is correct.  If you have any doubts, then it’s not the right time. Wait until you know the timing is right.

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Performing certain activities with an ostomy can be scary, but most if not all activities can be done with the right planning and preparation   Founder of the IIF Brian Greenberg went skiing last year.  Here are some thoughts Brian had on his first trip since surgery.

“I waited until the time was right.  My first winter with an ostomy was great, but I was nervous.  I spent the winter snowshoeing which still allowed me to enjoy being outside.  Last year the season on the East Coast was not the best.  The conditions were icy and even though I was strong, I didn’t want to risk falling on my stoma.  Later in the season the mountain began to get snow, a lot of snow.  As soon as the conditions were going to be soft, I began to make calls and plan a trip.  I was lucky as a friend has a house I could stay at.  This made me even more comfortable since I knew I had all the comforts of home at the end of the day.  The two days were great, I skied most of the time in powder and never had a worry in the world.  I fell twice and it was like nothing happened.  The trip gave me more confidence that my body was getting stronger and I could do what I loved again”

This shows you that when the timing is right with your body, you still might have to wait till other factors are right too.  Brian was smart and his patience paid off, which allowed him to ski without worrying about anything happening.  Take your time and when it’s right to go skiing o riding for the first time, you’ll know it.

Never Stay Quiet! 


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