Fit Tips: Training for Ski Season

Prepping for après ski activities like sipping on a warm beverage next to a roaring fire is easy. But what about avant (before) ski? Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports, made even more difficult by high elevations (less oxygen) and cold temperatures. But both are excellent ways to embrace winter and stay active. Preparing for a visit to the slopes makes a ski trip much better whether you like to hammer moguls or casually cruise the greens.

Interval training for stamina.  Optimize your cardiovascular strength before you head up the mountain. Higher elevations and cold weather put strain on your lungs, so do some interval training on a treadmill or elliptical to challenge your heart rate and improve your oxygen intake capacity. Begin with at least three days a week for a half hour and increase the time, frequency, and intensity over time so you are in prime condition to conquer the mountain.

Core exercises. Core strength is key for skiing. A stable core allows you to control your movements with more precision. Simple exercises such as planks, back extensions, and full body roll ups or crunches on an exercise ball benefit your core and therefore your skiing abilities.

Balance work. Improve reaction time and agility by taking advantage of the balance-training aids available at the health club or for the home, such as a Bosu ball. Begin by balancing on one foot and progress up to balancing on the Bosu ball itself.  Take it a step further and try squats and plyometric drills on the Bosu ball.

Yoga for flexibility. Yoga not only keeps you limber but improves your mental focus and breathing techniques. Yoga can addresses muscle imbalances and improves flexibility, so try out a beginner-level class and work your way up. The positive influences that yoga can have on your skiing (and other athletic activities) may surprise you.

Don’t forget post-slope recovery. Sore muscles and stiff legs come after a long day in a pair of skis. It’s a good idea to remedy that on day one if you plan to ski or board for a few days in a row. Treat yourself to an après ski massage to work out your tired muscles. Or, roll out with a foam roller, which helps with myofascial release—a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. Spend 10 minutes using the tool and feel the sweet release.