As the days get colder and the slopes look more and more appealing, it’s time to get ready for the upcoming ski season. From improving your form to endurance, here are six tips that will get you fighting fit for the slopes.
1. Increase your cardiovascular fitness
To make the most of a full day on the slopes, you’ll need stamina. A great way to replicate the intense bursts of effort needed for skiing and snowboarding is interval training. Interval training involves a series of alternate high and low-intensity bursts, aimed at increasing heart rate and increasing endurance. Just remember to leave 48 hours between workouts, allowing your body to recover.
2. Improve your balance
Ice skating or rollerblading, like skiing, requires an exceptional level of balance and are the perfect way for you to become steadier on your feet. Focus on the edges of movements, and try to make smooth, controlled turns. The control needed translates to carving on the slopes, and is great practice for the season ahead. It’s also a great opportunity to try out sharp turns and stops.
3. Check your alignment
A key way to prevent injury is to ensure you’re not putting unnecessary stress on any part of your body. Practice your stance at home in a mirror, ensuring that your core is engaged, your weight is on the balls of your feet and your back is straight. Pilates is a great way to improve core control.
4. Work on your balance
Connected to correct alignment, exercises that work key supporting muscles will help you get stable and balanced on the slopes. A good one to try is a squat with step out. Just perform a normal squat, getting as low as you can, then step one foot out to the side. Stand up and repeat, using the other leg. This will work your core as well as stabilise knees and hips.
5. Get on your bike
Not only is it another great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, cycling is an intense workout for the core muscles used in skiing and snowboarding. The quadriceps and gluteal muscles provide most of the power as you tear down the slopes, and cycling will improve the endurance and strength of both. Step it up with a spinning class or try tackling some difficult uphills around your home.
6. Take your position
If you enjoy cross-country or off-piste skiing, it’s crucial not to miss this final step. Exercise your positional sense by standing on one leg with your eyes closed a few times a day, adding small movements with arms or knees as you gain in confidence and balance. This should help prevent injury by improving coordination, as well as helping you find your way in bad visibility. Just make sure you’re close to a table or chest of drawers that you can grab onto if you do start to wobble!