Getting in Shape for Snow Sports

Snow sports are an excellent way to maintain a fitness program during the winter because they help develop aerobic capacity and muscle strength. Year-round, snow sports participants should concentrate on exercises and activities that build endurance, muscles and flexibility, since all of these are recommended to enjoy snow sports to their fullest.

It is important to note, however, that people can enjoy snow sports at a basic level even if they aren’t in peak physical condition. A walk on gently rolling terrain in snowshoes or cross country skiing at a leisurely speed on flat ground are a couple of ways a person can include snow sports in a beginning exercise program.

Adopt an Exercise Program: Walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming and weight training are all exercises that will give a person a good foundation to enjoy snow sports.

Develop a Training Program Designed for Snow Sports: Those who want to train specifically for snow sports should include plyometrics in their training program. These jumping movements develop muscle power and strength and improve overall agility. Another important fitness aspect to include is exercises that increase leg strength.

Suggested Exercises: Walking lunge, wall squats, calf raise, pushups and sit ups.

Off-Snow Training: Excellent off-snow conditioning activities include:

  • Biking and mountain biking
  • Hiking and Backpacking…downhill walking
  • Running
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • In-Line Skating

    Warm Up Before Heading Out For A Day on the Slopes:

  • Start the day with a hot shower.
  • Take a good 10-minute stretch immediately following shower.
  • Remember to warm up once you’re on the hill or trail. For downhill skiers and snowboarders, this means taking your first two runs at a slower speed on an easier slope. For cross country skiers and snowshoers, it means starting on flatter ground and at a slower pace. Warm-up runs after lunch are also a good idea.

    Wrap up the day with a trip to the hot tub or with another hot shower or bath. Heat will soothe aching muscles.

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