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December 28, 2016

Snowboarding with an Ostomy – Know Before You Go

Inner Good’s head office is located in the Lower Mainland of BC. We are surrounded by world class snowboarding, with Whistler Blackcomb in addition to Grouse Mountain and other smaller but no less notable hills and slopes at our doorstep. That means we have first hand experience fielding questions and abating concerns about carrying on with the snowboarding lifestyle after receiving an stoma. While we have addressed higher-octane sports such as surfing and martial arts, snowboarding has its own unique set of variables (and bumps and bruises) to consider.


What You Need to Know Before Carving the Slopes with a Stoma

Get Acquainted (or Reacquainted)

Once you’ve fully recovered from your procedure (and have received clearance from your physician) and you’re ready to hit the local hill or mountain, you must asses (or reassess) your skill level. It is recommended that any beginner receive a lesson, but it is imperative that a beginner with an ostomy take a full course, preferably with a one-on-one instructor. You have your stoma and ostomy bag and support system to factor into the equation. Let your instructor know so that they can teach you how to fall (and you most certainly will) without impacting your sensitive zone and damaging your set-up. That instruction will become habitual and will serve you well on the slopes. Even if you have snowboarded, any significant time away from the activity will require a refresher course, especially if you have not been on the mountain since receiving your stoma. Swallow your pride and hire an instructor who works with intermediates.

Work Your Core in the Off-Days

The turns you need to do to navigate the slopes require significant core strength. The stronger your core, the less you will wipeout, and the better protected your stoma and ostomy pouch system will be. Core work for snowboarders will include abdominal curls and oblique curls in addition to abdominal and pelvic floor work. Incorporate the core concepts addressed in this ostomy fitness guide on your off-days and you’ll carve with more confidence.

Pay Close Attention to Your Pre (and Post) Session Nutrition

You’re going to expend a lot of energy out there, as well as nutrients. As an ostomate, you have important nutritional deficiencies that you need to manage and monitor. These deficiencies include Vitamin B, D, and K in addition to minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Ensure that your nutritional supplement regime is well maintained in the days preceding your snowboarding excursion. Stuff a couple of nutrition bars into your jacket pocket or pack for optimal protein and carbohydrate release on especially long sessions. And don’t forget to include supplements (as approved by your physician) in your immediate apres-ski routine to replenish all that was lost during your time on the hill.

Redefine Your Snowboard Gear

Snowboarding comes with a bit of a checklist. You need to pack your board, boots, bindings, pants, jacket, gloves, goggles, helmet and possible a GoPro for good measure. This list is about to get a bit bigger. For starters, you will need to better secure your ostomy pouch system. This includes the use of a top quality ostomy belt or adjustable ostomy appliance belt for added sense of security. For drainable pouches, ensure that you have a sturdy tail closure. Remember that harsh mountain weather can make your skin dry and crack. Inspect the area around your stoma before heading up to the hill, and apply a skin crack care formula where needed, and follow up with a protective skin barrier. Little can ruin a session faster than irritated skin around your stoma. Given that you’re partaking in an action sport that can send you tumbling down a hard surface of packed snow, packing a bag with extra ostomy pouches is imperative too.

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