Properly preparing for the ski season requires a lot more than renting equipment. Whether you're a weekend warrior or novice skier, it's important that you hit the slopes in the best shape possible. Follow our fitness tips to build strength and avoid common ski injuries.
It's important that you focus on strength training as well as cardio and flexibility. You should integrate specific weight lifting workouts for skiing into your routine a month or so before you hit the slopes. While you're going down the mountain, your quads, hamstrings, and core work overtime to stabilize you and protect your joints. To build up strength in your legs, a series of intense squats, wall sits, and lunges are a good place to start. You'll also want to work your core, as it's your body's central powerhouse and it protects your back.
In addition to conditioning, you'll want to loosen up your hamstrings and lower back. One way to avoid common ski injuries is to stretch. "Once you are on the hill and have done a warm up, I suggest doing dynamic stretches such as leg swings, arm swings and torso twists," says Sarah Burke, professional Freeskier and X Games Gold Medalist. When you're finished for the day and ready to head in, focus on static stretches.
Common Ski Injuries
In order to stay safe on the mountain, it’s important to be alert for other skiers, especially during the high season and on busy runs. A crash or a wrong foot plant might result in a head injury or MCL tear. "Women are more prone to knee injuries because of weak hamstrings, so I suggest focusing on those muscles and do a lot of small balancing exercises," says Burke. Wearing adequate head protection is also essential. "Everyone is wearing helmets, from pros to older recreational riders. It takes nothing to put one on and it can save you from a serious injury," adds Burke.