Getting Fit for Powder

By Oliver Dean – February 1, 2014

Both snow skiing and snowboarding require muscles that people don’t normally use. Each sport also puts a lot of strain on the quads and lower back, and that’s why, often times, even the fittest people find themselves much sorer than they expected after the first day on the mountain. Good preparation will help avoid some of that soreness as well as reduce injuries that could occur from not being fully prepared. Here are some ideas on how to get your body in good skiing and snowboarding shape. If the gym is your thing, then the obvious exercises are crunches, sit-ups, using the abdominal machines, and any other method of core strength you might prefer. Some of the more creative, not-so-obvious exercises include working out on Indo boards or half balance domes, like the Bosu ball. These exercises challenge your balance as well as work your core muscles. It’s almost impossible to use one without the other, so exercises that focus on both balance and core are ideal for winter sport preparation. The key to a successful day on the slopes will usually come down to endurance and core strength, but quad durability can take your snow skiing and snowboarding to the next level—especially when snowboarding. Quad strength is essential for snowboarding basics, like stopping. Working front and side box jumps as well leg presses into your fitness routine can be helpful in building quad strength. Death Valleys are one workout that I learned way back in high school and that I still find challenging to this day. If you have access to a high school stadium, run the outside curves of the track and then use the stands to run stairs on the straightaways. This works your endurance and challenges your muscles to keep up. Nobody likes thinking about getting hurt on the hill, but knee injuries are the most common injuries that the ski patrol encounters. While developing balance is a great way to reduce injury, finding ways to strengthen the inside and outside of the knees can be beneficial. Any type of exercise that has you moving laterally can really work parts of the leg and knee that might otherwise get neglected. Resistance bands are another great way to strengthen the outside of the knees. This is another area where the Indo Board comes in handy; the effort to keep your balance on the board will work your core as well as the inside and the outside of the knee without any impact. If you aren’t experienced on this piece of equipment, have a spotter or hold onto something stable until you get comfortable. Practicing with your Indo Board in the grass or on carpet is also a good idea. Improving strength and balance are key steps in preparing for a ski or snowboarding trip, but make sure you take the time to work on your stretching technique. Stretching before a day of snow skiing or snowboarding is huge. Once you are at the mountain, the two most important things to keep you in good shape are stretching and hydration. Taking a little extra time to prepare for your trip is fully worth avoiding an injury while on vacation. The snow is good this year, so get planning. What are you waiting for?



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