How to get fit for the snow season

If you haven’t been up the mountain for a while, your body may have forgotten the physical toll a day’s worth of skiing or boarding can involve.

Be prepared for your next powder adventure by getting your body in shape to tackle the snow.

Being in shape leads to a smoother body motion while also enhancing your skiing or riding skills. Getting yourself fit before attacking the mountain, rather than trying to improve your fitness on it, will have plenty of benefits such as:

  • Feeling less tired and susceptible to injuries
  • Strengthening your core
  • Increasing your flexibility

Let’s look at the four elements to snow fitness that can really help you.

Strength training

The importance of building up your leg strength before Jack Frost comes to town is crucial. Muscular strength helps your ability to relax and be in control at the same time. It also improves your chances of making quick adjustments in off-piste conditions.

We’ve all felt those burning quads when toughing out a long, steep run. Some ideal exercises to prep your muscles are squats, planks and crunches.

Best of all, you don’t need equipment to build up your strength – workout anywhere by starting with the basics and adding in movement as you progress.

Suggested activity: Callisthenics

Image of a man in the snow who has fallen from his snowboard
Maintain your strength and flexibility and you'll be up in no time

Flexibility exercises

Flexibility is the ability of your muscle-connective tissues to extend as far as needed without compressing your joints. It’s the most important physical conditioning factor in preventing injuries and is often the most overlooked aspect of fitness.

Stretching all your muscle groups for around 30 seconds before and after workouts will definitely do you good.

With improved flexibility you’ll enjoy:

  • A greater range of movement, and
  • Improved performance on the mountain

Focus your flexibility training on your upper legs, lower back, shoulders and hips.

Suggested activity: Yoga or martial arts

Cardiovascular endurance

Intended to get your heart pumping, when you have cardiovascular fitness your heart’s stronger and more efficient at moving oxygen to your hard-working muscles.

Having a solid aerobic base will:

  • Enable you to ski or ride faster, for longer without fatigue
  • Help you recover more effectively between challenging runs

For a dependable foundation of fitness, get into at least three weekly aerobic workouts of 30-45 minutes. Aim to get your heart pumping.

Suggested activity: Biking, running or hiking

Image of a man snowboarding downhill
Up your cardio by working out on the slopes

Core workouts

Strengthening your upper and lower core muscles will help you provide a stable platform, to protect your back and pelvis against any injuries.

You’ll need stability, power, coordination and agility in all three planes of movement to protect your entire back against load, torsion and shear.

Connect your upper and lower core by training with a Swiss ball – it’ll help improve your hip, trunk and shoulder stability, giving you more dynamic strength.

Suggested activity: Core strengthening exercises

Fitness tips from Garett Shore, Director at Rookie Academy. They run world class ski and snowboard instructor training programmes.