You planned your ski trip months ago; penned it into your calendar and swore you would start that pre-season ski conditioning back in August to be ready for five days of five+ hours on the hill. Where did the time go? You’re here already and it’s too late…
or is it?
For those who show up to the mountain sans uber fit, although this isn’t ideal, you’re not a lost cause or prime candidate for soreness and injuries.
According to certified fitness coach and two-time Olympic mogul athlete Jillian Vogtli, if the fluffy flakes are already flying and you haven’t made the time to make your fitness a priority, don’t punish yourself – emotionally and physically. And don’t “hit it hard” assuming you’ll just have to snow yourself into shape, muscle tweaks be damned. You can do things to ease your way into your winter folly.
It starts with water. More important than that first gym workout, consider hydration. Water helps you adjust to the altitude and dry mountain clime so you won’t miss that first ski day nursing a pounding headache.
BTW, if you would rather not ski around with a large plastic water bottle, scope out the snack shacks and restaurants on the mountain at the start of your day so you know exactly where to grab a sip.
Prep For Altitude
Steer away from or cut down on the caffeine, alcohol and hot tubs. Instead, take a brisk hike or snowshoe to get the blood flowing or hop on a gym bike before suiting up for the day. When you pedal, use the full stroke so as to target both quads and hamstrings.
If you have more time, take a total body conditioning or Pilates class for core, hip and glute strength. “Many people see skiing as a lower body sport and think of it being all quadriceps,” says Vogtli. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of core (abdominals, obliques and back strength), strong glutes (butt) and abductors/adductors (inner and outer thigh).”
Don’t look at it is as “exercise”. Look out the windows and take in the beautiful Park City views; enjoy the moment. Appreciate the sense of doing as the locals do.
Next, make sure you stretch in your hotel room or gym before your first run and after your last. It will keep you from stiffening up.
DIY Ski Workout
Do these tried-and-true exercises throughout your season if you hate gyms or don’t have one handy-
Lunge variations. Straight out, straight back, to the sides. Focus on a tall upper body with your knee tracking above your toes.
Plank variations. Balance on forearms, straight arms, lifting arm and leg together (i.e., right arm/left leg), side planks.