Greater Vancouver is surrounded by world class snowboarding, from Grouse Mountain to Whistler Blackcomb there’s a something for everyone. For those of you in Toronto, Mount St. Louis Moonstone and Blue Mountain Resort beckon from just under two hours from our Queen Street studio. Bottom line, is that whether you’ve got slopes in your backyard or you plan on making a snowboarding trip this winter, your stoked for the arrival of the season.
While the snowboarding and tattoo cultures certainly cross over, some of you are wondering if OK to seek fresh powder after getting a fresh tattoo. You’re about to participate in a pretty intense outdoor winter sport after all, and want to make sure you’re not putting your investment in ink at risk. Just in time for opening season (depending upon when you’re finding this article) Adrenaline is here to weigh in to answer your questions and concerns.
4 Things You Need to Know Before Hitting the Slopes After Getting a Tattoo
1. How Long to Wait
The rule of thumb is to wait two to three weeks, however, this is completely dependent upon how big your tattoo is, where on your body it’s located, and your capacity to heal.
Consider placement, then put on all of your gear, and move around, mimicking the motions you go through when barreling down the mountain. If it seems like there will be a lot of friction in the area of your new or intended tattoo, wait the full three weeks. Of course, if you have a tattoo and it remains sensitive, wait until it’s not, and be sure to get clearance from your tattooist after the prescribed follow up visit. And as always, follow all after care instructions or run the risk of extending your snowboarding waiting period in the next season (total bummer).
2. What to Wear
Do not sacrifice your safety and comfort on the mountain for the sake of your tattoo. It’s easier to correct a blurred tattoo (from friction during healing) than it is to do so for broken or fractured bones, so wear the necessary long undergarments, base layers, ski socks, snowboarding pants/jacket, gloves, and boots. If you insist on not following the two to three week rule at least tape (on the edges) a clean bandage over your tattoo and lightly apply a tensor wrap (where viable) to mitigate friction. Again, none of this will be a concern if you wait until your tattoo has fully healed.
3. Take a Brief Break from the Terrain Parks
Studies show that the risk of injury to snowboarders increases by over 50 percent when riding in terrain parks, as half-pipes, jumps, and other contraptions that permit aerial and other high impact maneuvers take their toll on the body. This increased risk equates more wipeouts, falls, crashes, bumps, and bruises, all of which may land directly on your unhealed tattoo. If riding when not absolutely certain that your tattoo has healed, at least do us (and your tattoo) the favor of sticking to the bunny hill (you get the idea).
If you are a hardcore rider that runs the risk of injury season in and out, you may want to factor this into your decision about where on the body to get a tattoo. Given that snowboarder injuries typically involve the forearms and wrists, a tattoo along the lower arm may end up getting split if you have to get surgery to repair a fracture.
4. A Dry Après Ski Scene?
This may seem a bit excessive but at Adrenaline we pay extreme attention to detail, and one that can impact the ability of your tattoo to heal is alcohol.
You see, you may have decided to follow our advice and wait until your ink has fully healed. That’s great. But as a staunch proponent of the snowboarding culture, you’ll probably still head for the hills and hang with your crew, soaking up the après ski scene with a cocktail or ten within a few short days (or even hours) after leaving the parlor. The problem, is that there are many potential issues that can arise from drinking too much and too soon after getting your new tattoo. The blood thinning effect of alcohol can result in excessive bleeding which can delay the healing process and increase the risk of infection. In addition, alcohol can significantly impact your ability to heal and regenerate during sleep due to the impairment of many bodily functions. Plus, when you do drink, you are less likely to exercise the aftercare you need, forgetting to apply prescribed ointment/solution before you crash, and so forth.
Simply put, take it easy when enjoying the après ski scene after getting a new tattoo and stick to local craft beer over the hard stuff, if you must.
If you have any additional questions about snowboarding after getting a tattoo you can contact us anytime, or simply schedule your appointment to get inked well in advance of your next lift up the mountain.