Getting fit for skiing is one of the most common pieces of advice that we physiotherapists give to anyone that we know is going skiing. To avoid injury and elevate your enjoyment preparation is more than just fitness training….
Do some training
If you do one thing this winter to prepare for your ski trip, do some training! It doesn’t really matter what you do but make sure that you start it early and include a variety of strength, endurance and balance exercises. Being fir for the slopes will reduce you risk of injury and increase your fun factor! We are big fans of kettlebells which will work on all of this.
Make your training specific for skiing
If you’re serious about your skiing and plan to do long days or challenging objectives it’s really important that you train specifically. You need to get your legs accustomed to the strength and endurance demands that you are going to place upon them. As your legs get tired you are putting yourself at increased risk of injury and in some cases, such as backcountry challenges, this may put you in danger. There are many ski specific training programmes out there but naturally we suggest our own SkiFit training programme.
Get gear that fits
The fit of your boots is actually what is going to make you ski better. When buying your boots, make sure you go to a local ski shop and get fitted for the boot by a professional. After your boot you must have the right ski. Skis can significantly help your skiing experience and it’s important to use a ski that suits the conditions that you are going to be skiing in. Ski socks are next. They can make the difference between a wonderful day on the slopes and a miserable one, you want a good fitting sock that won’t slip, bunch up or make your feet cold. Last but not least, a helmet. It goes without saying that a bang on the head is never a good thing, it’ll soon be as normal to ski in a helmet as it is to wear a helmet when riding your bike.
No matter how fit you are, if your nutrition strategy is not adequate you will eventually face the consequences. Nutrition strategy is not something we often think about when we’re skiing but if you’ve been out the night before hitting the fondue and wine then your body isn’t going to function as well the next day. You will be weaker and your responses will be slower, this opens up the opportunity for injury to strike. If you don’t want to increase that risk of injury, leave the alcohol until you get down off the slopes and keep it to moderation. Boring I know, but who wants to take a year off rehabilitating that ACL injury!
Improve your mental strength
We’ve all seen the world cup downhill skiers mentally practicing their run just before they set off through the gates, this isn’t without good reason. There is plenty of evidence to support visualisation as one of the most effective ways to improve your performance. Before you set off down the slope visualise the slope you are about to descend, how awesome you are going to be as you ski it, how strong your legs will be, how awesome your turns will be, how much fun it’s going to be. You can even do this at home before you even set off for your ski trip.
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